Finding the Right Yoga Teacher

By Pamela Nixon of Teachasana.com

Have you ever taken a yoga class that left you feeling like you didn't fit in, or given the impression that yoga isn't for you? Don’t worry, you aren't alone. The bad news is you had a less than stellar experience with yoga. The good news is you probably didn't connect with the right teacher and there are plenty more out there to choose from. Studying with one yoga teacher can be very beneficial; they get to know you and can offer you the appropriate tools that will help you advance in your practice. Here is a list of things to take into consideration when looking for your teacher:

  1. What is your first impression? While snap decisions aren't always right, there is something to be said about trusting your gut. If you have some doubts about a teacher right away upon meeting them you might want to trust your instincts.
  2. Do they teach what you want to learn? If the teacher you have chosen isn't teaching the things you are looking for,  he or she isn't the right one for you, plain and simple. Your best friend may be your favorite person on earth and the best yoga teacher in town. But the bottom line is, if she teaches a vigorous hot yoga class and you are madly in love with a relaxing restorative class, she isn't the teacher for you! It is very important to consider what the teacher incorporates into their class. If you’re into philosophy and chanting but the teacher you have been taking class with teaches a 60-minute class of asana (or posture) only, you may want to consider finding someone else to study with.
  3. Do you feel like you are learning from them and advancing in your practice? Whether your goals are spiritual, physical or emotional, you want to know that you are getting somewhere. The perfect teacher for you is the one that helps guides you along your journey.
  4. Are they approachable? It is important to find a teacher who makes you feel comfortable and makes it easy for you to approach them with your questions. A teacher who shows up early, takes the time to great his or her students and stays a few minutes after class to answer questions shows that he or she cares about the students and is available to help you. One who shows up the minute class starts and then rushes out as soon as it is over may not be the most approachable person, and you may discover that  the teacher isn't there for you when you want to discuss something or need clarification on something taught in class.
  5. What does their yoga education consist of? Don’t be afraid to ask your teacher where they studied and with whom. Find out what kind of training he or she went through and if they continue to study with their own teachers. Yoga is a continuous practice; the more you learn, the more there is to learn. Because of that, it is important that your teacher continues to study and learn while you learn from them.
  6. Are they registered with Yoga Alliance? If studying with a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) is important to you, then you can easily find out if they have registered by visiting the YA directory. If not, you can always ask if they didn't study at a registered school or if it was a personal choice not to register. If you decide to take your practice to the next level and pursue a teacher training with this teacher, he or she will need to be a RYT teaching at a RYS in order for you to register as a RYT upon completion of the course. 

If you haven’t yet found a teacher that resonates with you, don’t lose hope! He or she is right around the corner. Remember that the right yoga teacher for you is ultimately the one you feel a connection with and are happy to learn from.

 

Pamela Nixon is the owner of Teachasana.com, an online educational resource and community for yoga teachers, and the first site of its kind. Teachasana offers articles from teachers around the world trained in all styles of yoga, a “Dear Teachasana” column where teachers can seek answers and advice from their peers, free online workshops, and much more. Stop by the website or connect with Teachasana on Facebook or Twitter. 

 

Copyright 2014 by Yoga Alliance