Teachers and Students

What makes for a good teacher?

First of all, a good teacher is a good student whose commitment to learning never ends.

It goes without saying that both good teachers - and good students - have open minds.

In Sanskrit, the word "adhikara" is used to refer to a type of studentship characterized by a deep commitment to learning and by a life-long pursuit and dedication to imbibing wisdom.

I have often told my students that in considering a teacher they should also consider the teacher's dedication to learning. Does your teacher regularly study with another teacher? Does she seek to deepen her understanding of her subject and all related areas? In Yoga this would encompass not only the teaching of "asanas" or poses, but also include an understanding of the philosophical system that undergirds this practice, in addition to anatomy, kinesiology, and other areas.

And what constitutes a Master Teacher? What defines them? We certainly all know when we have encountered one and have been in their midst, because the experience is truly transformational.

A Master Teacher has the ability to passionately inspire us and touch us deeply - and awaken within us, profound insights.

Suzie Hurley, the Director of Willow Street Yoga in MD, writes a moving essay on the qualities of a Master Teacher by sharing her personal experiences with her two Master Teachers in the Winter Brochure for her studio.

As someone who has experienced Suzie's teaching, and who shares one of her Master Teachers, and has sat in darshan with the other, I have had the honor and the privilege of imbibing from the sacred transmission she has received. She is herself, a Master Teacher, and I experience the gift and grace of her own teaching through my own teacher - Maria - a dedicated yogini who has primarily studied with Suzie herself.

I am eternally grateful for having been brought to my own teacher, who continually challenges me to drink from a deeper well and from the inexhaustible font of wisdom. I am blessed to be nourished on a weekly basis, in body, mind, and soul. She makes me want to be a better teacher, and in striving to do so, I honor her teaching.

I marvel at the web of life and its interconnections and how a sacred transmission flows freely, touching lives here and there, like the river I visit nearly every morning.

The truth is, we are all truly students and teachers to one another throughout life. Different roles predominate at different times.

For a truly inspirational read that may make you think of those teachers that were influential in your own lives, download Willow Street's Winter brochure at:


You won't be disappointed and you may take a pleasant trip down memory lane!


Anonymous said…
Olga, funny how just last night I read through Suzie Hurley's newsletter that came in the mail. As I did, I immediately connected to her wonderful thoughts on what constitutes a master teacher. Thank-you, my teacher.
sgrooms708 said…

I will miss you as my teacher, and am glad to call you my friend ... let us nourish that phase of our relationship now. Next smoothie is on me :)


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