Your Yoga Teacher

So in my previous posts I’ve talked about which yoga style could be a better fit for you, which yoga mat, and more. Now it’s the time to zoom in on yoga teachers and how to find the one that fits with you. I know, it looks like a lot to think about when you’re starting with yoga, or even if you’re already doing yoga, but I think that finding the teacher that really fits with you is one of the most important things there is.

Teacher Training

To begin with, look for someone who has done a teacher training. And not just any kind of teacher training. They don’t have to be registered with Yoga Alliance, but it does help if they are registered with some kind of order that are providing continued education. It’s not always that easy to look for that, but you can always ask your teacher questions about their teacher training and credentials. Normally they don’t mind talking about it anyway as it should’ve been an amazing experience for them.

The training hours are also important to take a look at. If someone’s standing there in front of you who only had a couple of hours of training doesn’t compare to someone who had 500 hours of training. Of course there are always teachers who are just starting their career and they should also be encouraged by getting some students. You’ll feel when a teacher is really motivated and it’s also actually nice to see how beginning teachers are developing themselves over time, so if you find someone who’s just starting off and that person feels nice and motivated and foremost, has a good intention, then go for it. I wouldn’t recommend going to a class with them if it’s your first time though. I remember my first classes which were free of charge in the studio where I taught. Although people came to them, I have to say that they weren’t my best classes. And the nerves were killing me as well (yes you can still be nervous as a yoga teacher).

What to look for in a good Yoga Teacher?

Besides a teacher training certificate, yoga teachers should have a couple of qualities too. First of all, they should’ve lived the yogi lifestyle. There are some teachers around that just thought: “Hey, yoga is hyping, let’s take a training and start teaching yoga.” It’s okay to earn some extra money and I’m not gonna judge them about it. But it’s just better when you find someone who’s really passionate about yoga.

Another quality that I like about a good yoga teacher is the fact that they have taken it upon them to transmit the inner calmness that they have experienced during their first years as a yoga student. I think this might be the best quality to have as a yoga teacher. It’s a bit like a missionary who wants to transfer the word of God, but then yogi-style. It’s easy to find a teacher like that, as most people have started like that. They experienced the relaxation and the calmness yoga brought to them and now they want to offer others the same.

What’s also a good trait in a yoga teacher is the way they teach. For beginner students, look for someone who gives hand-on adjustments. When you’re new it’s hard to feel in the beginning what muscles you should be feeling in your body. Might sound a bit weird, but you’ll get what I’m talking about the moment your teacher adjusts you! There are some teachers that choose not to do hand-on adjustments anymore as it’s not always easy to know who likes it. Normally they would give proper and clear verbal instructions for you. The latter is also a good quality of a yoga teacher. It’s important that a yoga teacher is very clear with its instructions for you to understand what you actually should be doing. If not, it’s not only gonna have any effect at all, it’s also gonna look quite weird.

What also is quite important when you are giving instructions, is your voice. I know it’s a bit objective, but having a teacher with a nice voice is also a big plus. I know that some people can’t just help how they talk, but it’s so important that you can transmit the message that you are trying to give. If you’re having quite a low-pitched voice and you have to lead a big group, the ones in the back aren’t gonna hear the instructions at all.

It’s hard to know when you’ve found a good teacher, but I have to say that in my experience I haven’t come across a lot of bad teachers. It’s just important that you find yourself someone that you feel good with and that you thrust completely. If you are going into a handstand and you don’t feel comfortable doing it alone, you want someone you can rely on.

Online Classes for Beginners

In my previous article I’ve talked a bit about an online platform to do yoga at home and online. I think it’s still a great way to start off with your yoga practice, although I’d like to add that if you are a complete beginner you’d rather be better off going to some classes. This way you get acquainted with the yoga terms, which sometimes can be a challenge as there are a lot of Sanskrit names, and they all look the same in the beginning. Besides that, it’s also helpful to have a teacher standing in front of you when you are just starting off. If you don’t have the time though to go to a class, then this platform is the right fit for you and you have even a beginner’s series where they will teach you everything.

Another nice thing about these online classes is that you can take classes with teachers from all over the world. Maybe even someone you’d like to take a class from, but which just isn’t possible as they are living on the other side of the world. This way the teacher comes to you, just not that physically.

Conclusion

That was it for now. The three qualities I’ve mentioned above aren’t the complete list of what a yoga teacher should have, but to me they are the most important ones. If you have any more questions or you’d like to talk about your teacher, please leave a comment below.

Nama-stay wonderful everyone!

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10 Comments

  1. Queen

    The points you made here I believe are definitely the first things to look out for, In a yoga teacher. I am researching into yoga classes, both online and offline as Inrecently picked interest in living the yoga life. I learnt its a very good way to be in touch with my spirit man.

    With my busy lifestyle, I believe getting a private teacher will be in my best interest, and I am so glad I stumbled upon your article, it has most definitely opened my eyes to the criteria I should be looking for in a yoga teacher.

    Thank you very much for this piece..

    1. Virendra

      Hi there, thank you for your comment. I do agree that when you’re going for private classes it’s even more important that you find someone with good credentials as that person will guide you intensely! 

  2. Marlinda Davis

    This is very interesting and informative. I have been wanting to start yoga on a regular basis but don’t have the time to go anywhere. I’m really excited to see that there are online yoga classes available. Since I’ve gone 30 my body has been as stiff as a board and I want to get some flexibility back. Do you think yoga will help with this or should I take something else?

    1. Virendra

      Hi Marlinda! I’m sure that yoga could benefit your flexibility! If that’s what you are looking for I’d advice you a slower paced yoga, like yin yoga! With that style you go deeper into the poses using your breath! Give it a try and let me know how it was :).

  3. Bobby

    Great article, Virendra! I couldn’t agree more that picking a good, qualified yoga instructor is vital to becoming comfortable with the practice. 

    My fiancée has taken to yoga like a fish to water, even being a little introverted as she is. Instead of searching for a qualified instructor in our small area, she searched endlessly to find a good online instructor. After trying a ton of different people with a bunch of different flows, she discovered Sanela, from Psychetruth. That’s her lady, for sure. She has taught Emily a lot of methods for calming herself organically, as well as teaching her manageable flows that don’t stress her body too much, so that repeating the process isn’t a scary idea.

    She even has me doing flows with her now, and I feel fantastic when we do it, very relaxing afterward. During the flows, not so much. hahaha

    I think it’s very important for people to take on some form of physical practice, for their own mental health. From what I can tell, yoga has the benefit of being thousands of years old, therefore is a time-proven method for getting in touch with one’s inner self. And without a good teacher, how will anyone learn?

    I’ll bookmark your page, and I’d love to see your take on who you think are some of the best online instructors. Just a thought! There are a great many places in Middle America that don’t have anyone qualified to teach yoga, so anybody that’s interested in learning in those areas has to go to YouTube.

    I love what you’re promoting, keep it up! 

    Bobby

    1. Virendra

      Hi Bobby!

      Thank you for your comment! It’s great to see that you are benefitting flowing with your fiancée (congratulations by the way) and are enjoying yoga! I know that a good flow can be quite challenging, but the feeling it gives afterwards, damn, that’s the amazing part ;). 

      And thank you for your suggestion! I haven’t thought about it, but it’s actually a very good idea to review online yoga teachers as well! I will for sure do a or some articles about that!

      Take care and thank you once again!
       

  4. Andre

    Namaste, Virendra. I can honestly say that reviewing a yoga instructor was probably the last priority on my list when checking out yoga classes and their benefits, IF on my list at all (let’s be honest, it wasn’t). Strange, because when looking for instructors for any other courses we tend to want the most qualified and the ones with the most degree or credentials.

    I appreciate this guide you’ve written on this topic I would’ve otherwise never considered! I like the bit about the voice, too. Though it is a subjective topic, I’m sure we can all agree that a level, calming voice would be much more beneficial to the yogi students than a brash, obnoxious one.

    1. Virendra

      Hi Andre, thank you for your comment. It’s true, when we are looking for other instructors we are always looking for those with good credentials, and I figured, why not with yoga teachers? 

  5. Yoga is a training everyone should try, its a source that help the mind and physical, and mental abilities keep focus. I love to do the exercise it makes my mind relax and my body and joins feels great. and i’m looking much younger than my actual age.
    This is a great way for keeping your body and mind in perfect health.

    1. Virendra

      Hi cleveland, I don’t know what when wrong, but I’m only seeing your message now. So sorry that I didn’t reply! But you are absolutely right, it does keep everything in balance, mind, body and focus. And great to hear that you’ve had a lot of good experience with it! Take care!

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