Among the many benefits of a great yoga class — a grounded sense of being, less stress, easing pain and an emotional boost — let us not forget the gorgeous post yoga-class glow that radiates as you thank your teacher while rolling up your mat before exiting the studio.
But what happens when this teacher decides to take off for six months to India? Since pausing your practice for her sabbatical is not an option, how will you find an adequate replacement? How will you find that instructor who can help you get your gorgeous post yoga-class glow going?
With yoga certifications being handed out almost as easily as candy on Halloween, it may be tough to find someone to do the job. But on the positive side, more people than ever are going through the teacher training, widening the pool of possibility for your next favorite teacher. Here are four things to consider when looking for a yoga instructor.
1. Experience Level
This is a biggie. As previously stated, almost anyone with an internet connection can go through an online teacher training, therefore you must be careful about whose class to attend. Researching a prospective instructor’s background is a great way to filter out the inexperienced. Also, look at where she trained. Knowing which lineage she comes from will help you determine if the teaching style will mesh with your preferences. If you find someone who is big on Bhakti and breaks out the harmonium to chant at every downward dog — and you hate singing — this may not be a good fit for you. (Although in yoga, they like to say that the stuff you are avoiding is probably what you need to do most!)
While you certainly don’t want to judge a book by its cover, you do want to find an instructor whose personality you agree with. Humor can make a nice attribute for a teacher as it can lighten the atmosphere which could help you ease more into your practice. But if you are easily annoyed with someone else’s jokes, then a funny guy yoga teacher may not be for you. Personality also blends with teaching style. Does this teacher like to stop the flow to demo specific poses, and do you enjoy that? Or would you prefer someone who talks less, allowing you to create your own space within the practice? Often you won’t know an instructor’s personality or teaching style until after you have taken his class … unless you follow the next suggestion.
Yogis love to spread the positivity of the practice which often includes sharing info on their favorite teachers. Don’t hesitate to ask people at your local studio which instructors they love and why. You could also use this opportunity to do your research for both no. 1 and no. 2. There’s no better way to learn about a teacher than from the people who are in their classes.
And lastly, yoga can get logistical. If the teacher you’ve heard great things about only teaches at 11 a.m., and you’re always at work during that time, it’s going to be difficult to get to that class. When you first look at the studio’s schedule, check only the times that fit into your life, then do your instructor research from there. If your schedule has more flexibility, then it’s good to gather as much information about as many teachers as possible. This will help you make an informed decision so you can then get back to the business of creating your gorgeous post yoga-class glow.
What factors do you consider when choosing your yoga teacher? —Elysha