On being a mentor

“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope within yourself.”
(Oprah Winfrey)

This quote shines the light on one of the most amazing aspects of being a mentor – bringing into the light the talents and qualities hidden within the other person. As a mentor you act as a mirror for the student/mentee. In the time that I have practised yoga within this tradition (since 1987), I have worked and studied with three mentors. It is now that I feel that I am working with someone who enables me to see the hope within – and that inspires me to, hopefully, do the same for those who come to me.

From personal experience, the mentoring relationship demands deep, mutual respect. There is also a need for an ability to listen and observe with clarity and from the heart. We all have shields, but over time a heart-to-heart connection can grow. Clarity demands a deep connection to one’s personal practice – be it āsana, prāṇāyāma, chanting, meditation or a combination. I would add that a practical and compassionate application of the yoga sutras has helped incredibly over the years. And these tools have encouraged a greater heart-to-heart connection with students.

Of course, as humans, there are times when we face chaos and darkness in our personal lives, and these have an impact on us, and so on our students. It is at these times that our yoga practice is essential. The dark times give us insights to help guide our students through similar periods in their lives.

To watch another being grow and learn is just the most amazing gift. It is akin to watching a flower open slowly and show the world the beauty within. I have a student who has done just this: blossomed. We should always trust the process – easier to say than to do!  As I work with a mentor, her inspiration guides me to work with others in a similar way. I would like just say thank you to her, for inspiring me, which in turns helps me to inspire others.

Liz MurthaTSYP Advisor, Yoga Teacher and Teacher Trainer

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