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Teaching Styles: "You Should Know You"

“It’s very important that you should know you and it’s most important that everybody should know you as trustworthy, honorable, graceful, steadfast, serviceful, kind and compassionate. These are a few faculties of a Teacher.”
—Yogi Bhajan, April 23, 1997

Yogi Bhajan’s teachings are astounding. He was given to long lectures at times and lengthy discourse about any and every subject and sometimes, many times, my head was in a spin listening to him or reading a passage. I needed them translated into down-to-earth language. Therefore, I appreciate those Kundalini masters such as Gurcharan, Guruatma and Mehtab that can interpret and bring them to me in a way that I can clearly digest. The three teachers have their own style.

I believe that there are many different types of teachers with their own beautiful gifts of imparting wisdom, clarification, dedication and truth to yoga. We often hear that Yogi Bhajan was a Saturn-type teacher and I would like to, in this article, give some food for thought on other examples of yoga teachers’ styles and ways of instructing by considering all the planets and their individual energies. Perhaps you can relate to one of these archetypes as the kind of teacher you are, have been, or known.

A Saturn teacher, yes, can be harsh and ask of their students to be very disciplined (do your sadhana!) and show up to every class! But they can be patient as well and one can sense their commitment to teaching.

A more Jupitarian influence is seen instructing by bringing the best out in students through instilling self-confidence and making them laugh, seeing the humor in a situation.

The Sun archetype is talented, excited and loves the center of attention. He or she is a great performer, grabbing the student’s attention.

Do you know kriyas and the many meditations by heart and espouse clearly and succinctly leaning towards a Mercury-type? Have you been in a class where there are stories told frequently that rivet your attention? They know the content and how to explain it.

Venus teachers model radiance and one can see that doing Kundalini Yoga expands the aura, bringing forth beauty and grace—Imparting and illustrating what these meditations can achieve. These people are examples of healthy, happy and holy.

Pluto teachers transform with power and flames. Do you feel burnt after his or her class? One can sense energy as soon as they enter the room; yet the force generated through this teacher translates effectively as the personality of the student disintegrates and is renewed.

The nature of a teacher ruled by Uranus could be very nervous, eccentric and surprising. Yet, their enthusiasm is contagious! You may also learn metaphysical studies within their classes such as astrology or numerology.

Neptune-types instruct through veiled meanings and are gentle, dreamy, and mystical. They are most sensitive and grasp the subtleties underlying the wisdom from Yogi Bhajan.

Moon teachers I have saved for last. They teach through the emotions and you experience in your gut how these kriyas can really change your life. You know that Moon teachers care about you.

At the beginning of this blog is a quote from Yogi Bhajan “…you should know you…” Are you someone that walks your talk? Are you trustworthy and loving?

Because it doesn’t really matter how you or another are educated. I see the bottom line as a good teacher being one that maneuvers the student into the driver’s seat and then gets out of the way. Students learn best by personally “experiencing.” This is done the Kundalini way, which includes the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.

Personally for me, my success and happiness comes when I touch one student who becomes a teacher. I also agree with Yogi Bhajan when he says,

“To teach other people and raise their consciousness, that will improve you, that will teach you.”

Kathe Forrest/Siri Kirin is the author of Keep the Change, Simple Practices for Lasting Transformation. She began studying Hatha yoga and meditation in her mid-twenties and became certified in Hatha yoga after a 10-year intensive study. She has been certified as a Kundalini Yoga teacher since 2007 and acknowledges that for her this one takes the cake. Her teaching and understanding of yoga, meditation and pranayama is influenced by the philosophy of many yogis and teachers including: Kahil Gibran, Sivananda and Yogi Bhajan. Studies in nutrition and alternative therapies have contributed to her scope of understanding the mind/body connection. Kathe can be reached through email and her website to provide classes and workshops.