As a dedicated Ashtanga student for 12 years, I have had the benefit of practicising with some great teachers. Like many devoted students, I like to experiment with new teachers as much as I can, and have travelled far and wide for these experiences.
I recently travelled to an Australian location to spend four weeks in the Mysore-style classroom of a teacher who has an unparalleled reputation, well-known internationally in the ashtanga world.
From the first class, it was clear the teacher's personality was intentionally intimidating and ego-driven, which overshadowed their supposedly incredible Ashtanga knowledge and reputation. Overall, it was a negative and over-priced experience. However, on the positive side, it helped me develop my own personal teacher criteria below:
Students often travel to practice with a reputable teacher so they can gain new insights into their practice and have the opportunity to ask questions. This is especially true if the teacher is widely regarded as a master. Reputation aside, the teacher should be available to every student, where time permits. An open, friendly and approachable personality goes a long way.
2. Free from humiliation
Personally, I love the feeling of walking into any yoga room, knowing that this is the one place in my life I can go where I will not be publicly humiliated, regardless of the level of my practice. This teacher enjoyed their power in the classroom and often humiliated students. Various negative comments were made to students in the class throughout the four-week period. Two made publicly to me (patronizingly) were: