I looked up the top 100 Yoga teachers in America. I want to know if there are any Yogis in my neck of the woods. Is one hiding nearby in Tacoma or Olympia, Washington? Seattle yoga studios all sound ridiculously hip and absolutely have the best of the best for teachers. But do they? I needed an outside opinion.
Google sent me a list of sites that rate the top influential teachers in America. That is probably what I meant anyway. One list from Sonima gives 100 influential teachers in America. With a hundred people to look through I scrolled quickly hoping to find someone I could connect with. I wanted to know if there were any here in Washington state. I would be willing to travel within my state to practice with someone that is truly knowledgeable. I would consider Oregon or Idaho too. I could be up for a weekend trip.
There are some great people on this list. Okay, so they are not near me, but it’s a pretty good list. One of them not in my area (at all) that made the list is Rodney Yee. Oh, how I love his cueing. I don’t have to watch these videos, I only have to listen. He understands communicating the posture. I do like watching the videos though as he is always moving. There is no such thing as a “held” posture, nothing static, he is constantly adjusting.
For my area I found Ana Forrest on Orcas Island. Holy cow! That’s just a day trip away. SCORE! Ana is listed as number 4 in this particular “Top 100” list. But hey! She’s not even teaching in the United States. On her website I see teacher training in South Africa. Hmmm, that might be a little far away.
Almost at the end of the list is Patrick Beach in Seattle. I make the trip to Seattle for my regular paying job five days a week. It appears on his website that he doesn’t work in any particular studio nearby. His next teacher training is scheduled in Los Angeles.
Most everyone else on the list are in New York and along the coast of California.
I suppose what I get out of this website wormhole of seeking influential teachers of our time is that the great ones are already out of my reach. With an exception. And this is the greatest exception.
Last year I attended the Northwest Yoga Conference. (I have to say, I know how to pick ‘em.) Speaking at the conference last year was Seanne Corn. She hales from Topanga, CA. Seanne Corn is on the list of “Top 100”. This is my cue to keep attending conferences and events if I want to learn from the masters.
That was a great conference. Seanne’s participation was THE BEST Dharma talk I have ever attended. In her all day workshop I felt that I was being handed everything that I hadn’t gotten from my 200 hour yoga teacher training. (That’s another blog post, maybe two.) Seanne really laid it on the line, spoke regular people speak, and infused so much teacher training, personal insight and philosophy into her hours. I have pages and pages of notes from that workshop. She shared books to read, and more teachers to refer to. Seanne said a couple things I still remember (but I checked my notes to get it correct here)…
“Teachers are bridges. We don’t own our students…we are moving them on” to the next step of their journey.
When a student is feeling the internal energy, that “aha!”, it is our job to get out of the way to let them experience this. Let them feel. (paraphrased)
“A good teacher is a conduit. As a teacher it is necessary to stay grounded.”
Seanne led a massive group (200? 300?) people in practice. It was magical. Later she described the format she used and why. The why opened my eyes to what is possible.
This year at the Northwest Yoga Conference there are three of the “Top 100”. Featured speakers are Tiffany Cruikshank, Amy Ippoliti, and even Maty Ezraty. I was able to get a spot in the workshops with Maty Ezraty and Tiffany Cruikshank.
I suppose the upshot of this is, search for the best, you will find it. And continue to breathe.