Today, there are so many yoga teachers. So many, in fact, that it can be hard to decide who to take a class with, or who to invite into your home or office for personalized yoga lessons. Whether you choose to have private or semi-private yoga lessons, it’s important to find the right yoga teacher. Here are a few things to look for in a yoga teacher.
They are properly trained
The norm today is to take a 200 hour teacher training course with a group of others, where, in the end, you get a certificate. The problem with this is that 200 hours is not enough training to do to then go out into the world and teach yoga. Being properly trained not only means putting in the time or that you’ve learned everything from anatomy to body alignment, but also how to accommodate injuries. There’s so much more to being a yoga teacher then knowing a variety of poses (asanas). With proper training a teacher will learn that there is much more to yoga than this. A good yoga teacher should be able to assess what poses you are and aren’t able to do, particularly if you have suffered any injuries.
They have experience
Not only experience teaching, but also experience actually doing yoga. As mentioned above, many people just do a 200 hour teacher training course and then go out into the world and teach yoga. They can do this course regardless of how much yoga experience they actually have. You can do yoga for 2 months and then enrol in one of these courses. But do you really want someone like this teaching you? The problem is that you will have no way of knowing this without asking them. The best teacher is an experienced one. A teacher that has been practicing yoga for many years, and even years before becoming a teacher themselves, is an experienced teacher. If you suffer from or have suffered from an injury, an experienced teacher will not only have experience dealing with this injury, but will also have injuries themselves. There’s no better way to know how to heal from an injury than if you have done it yourself. This knowledge can then be passed on to others.
They are knowledgeable
A yoga instructor that is knowledgable will be able to convey this knowledge on to you. This could be knowledge in anatomy, in proper posture, in asanas and even in life. Someone who has taught people from all walks of life, people of different shapes and sizes, people of different ages and sexes, and those with injuries, have so much knowledge that they’re happy to share with everyone and anyone that wants to learn. Watching people learn, improve and/or heal is one of the biggest accomplishments of a yoga teacher. Well, at least of this yoga teacher. As Matshona Dhliwayo said “Knowledge is wealth, wisdom is treasure, understanding is riches, and ignorance is poverty”.
They can teach
A yoga teacher is a teacher, so they should be able to teach. They should take the time to explain how to do each pose, adjust you if you’re doing it wrong and make modifications if or when needed. They should also be able to gage your abilities so that they know what poses work or don’t work for you or your body. A good yoga teacher will be able to see right away what your strengths and weaknesses are, and will be able to create a session around this. They will teach you something new when they feel that you’re ready and that you can perform it without any harm to yourself, or without exacerbating any old injuries. They will help you with your yoga goals and work with you to meet them. This could be helping you heal an injury, building strength or gaining flexibility. They will teach you to push yourself as far as you can go (without injuring yourself) so that you can reach your goals.
They are there for you
You don’t want to do yoga with someone that is not paying attention to you, but instead, is just doing yoga. You want a teacher that pays very close attention to what you are doing and how you are doing it, making corrections whenever needed. If you are doing poses incorrectly, then not only are you not really doing yoga, but you can also hurt yourself. Your yoga teacher should 100% be there for you and only you. A yoga teacher should not be focusing on themselves and their own yoga practice. Their eyes should be on you 100% of the time to make sure that you continue to do the pose correctly, even while holding it. They should also encourage and motivate you every step of the way.