So you want to start doing yoga or maybe you have been doing yoga for a while but you haven’t found your perfect yoga teacher yet? Or maybe you don’t think it’s about the teacher but more about a convenient time and location?
Just to put things straight from the start. There is no perfect yoga teacher. Yoga teachers are not perfect! Far from it actually… just talking about myself here of course…
Even though I teach yoga myself my yoga teachers still continue to play a very important role in my practice. So yes of course, time and location are important but they will make you go to the class once if you’re not happy with the teacher!
So let’s assume you have a choice of teachers around you. Let’s forget about perfect but maybe we need to narrow it down to finding a teacher who is right for you.
Why is it important to find the right teacher?
It’s very simple. The right teacher will make you want to come back for more! They will motivate you, they will inspire you, they will speak in a way that makes complete sense to you. Maybe not all the time but there will always be something that you will take home after every class.
How do you find the teacher who is right for you?
Some things to consider are
- What are their qualifications?
There are no strict general regulations for teaching yoga so if you are in the UK two accreditation bodies to look out for are Yoga Alliance and British Wheel of Yoga. Especially when you are a complete beginner you want to make sure that your teacher is fully qualified and with YA and BWY you can be certain that they comply with certain standards. This alone is by far not enough however.
- What teachers did they train with?
This might not matter so much to you if you are a beginner but once you have practised for a while and you know a little bit more about yoga you might want to know where their training is
- What style of yoga do they teach?
So you’ve found a teacher now that is fully qualified but you have no idea about what style of yoga to start with. Have a look at my blog post what style of yoga is right for me to get a general idea.
Just be mindful that the styles of each individual teacher can differ enormously. Every teacher puts their own experience and personality into their practice so just be aware that simply choosing a style might not be enough. In Bikram Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga you can always expect the same poses at least but a class that is labeled as Hatha Yoga is very general so it really depends on the individual teacher. You need to actually try the class and experience it to be able to judge if it’s right for you.
…So now you’ve finally found the class that you want to attend and you go to a trial class before committing to a class pass or membership.
- What to look out for during the trial class?
This part is very personal of course so what is important to me might not be important to you but here are some things that you might want to ask yourself:
- did you like their style of teaching?
- do you like their voice?
- do you like how they explain or demonstrate the poses?
- do you feel safe?
- did they ask you if you had any injuries and do they look after you during the class?
- do you come out of the class with new inspiration?
- do you come out of the class feeling better than before?
if you have a specific condition or injury you might want to check
- if they have any experience with it
- do they have a similar condition themselves (this can be very useful!)
…Final words of advice
There are no perfect yoga teachers but having a good yoga teacher is very important. Especially when you are a beginner. Make sure they have the qualifications that you’re looking for. Ultimately choosing the teacher who is right for you is a very personal decision. Only you can make it so go to a trial class!
Good yoga teachers pass on what they know and what they have practised. Good yoga teachers are not afraid to let you know that they are not perfect! Good teachers will teach you how to take responsibility for your own body and they might even inspire you to become a teacher yourself…
Have you found the right yoga teacher for you yet? Or do you have a few? What is important to you when you choose a teacher?