Yoga has been becoming increasingly popular not only as a practice but more instructors are becoming certified. with so many different teachers available, how do we choose the right teacher for ourselves? how do we recognise a great yoga instructor?
For thousands of years, yoga has been passed down through the tradition of guru to student. Like all other practices and teachings, there are different lines and traditions passed down. Depending on who you practice with, it will change the way you teach and think. Yoga is not just a practice on the mat, it is a lifestyle, therefore finding a guru or teacher that will transfer values and beliefs that align with you is extremely important. You may need to attend one of their classes or get to know them personally to see if they are a suitable teacher to follow and practice with in the long term.
You can be a great and advanced yoga teacher but not eloquent in delivering instructions. The key to a great instructor is not how advanced you can master your poses but in helping your students advance on their mat physically, mentally and spiritually. It is important to find an instructor who uses language that you find easy to understand. It may take time to get used to how a teacher cues in their class, some may use language that you are familiar with, some might use complex terms which you find difficult to understand, some may use very poetic language that suits your preference. Each to their liking!
"A great teacher doesn't tell you how to do it. A great teacher helps you feel it."
Like I mentioned before, every teacher has their own style of teaching. Not only in the way they theme and cue the practice but the rhythm and flow of the class can differ greatly too. For example, some instructors like to teach uninterrupted power flows, some might enjoy pausing between flows to explain more posture breakdowns, some may like to teach slower gentle classes and some might teach all variations of yoga classes! Find a style that helps you grow the most, that may not necessarily mean the one you enjoy the most 😉
A great yoga instructor will not only instruct you into poses but teach you how it feels in your pose and how it benefits you. In a good scenario, you will be understanding the benefits of each pose, knowing where it is stretching, lengthening and strengthening. In a good yoga class, you will have had a good workout, but in a great yoga class, you would have walked away from the class acquiring new knowledge. It is important for you to understand the anatomy and learn about your body in the class.
A teacher should always be a student. Constant growth is so important. Just because we are instructors or teachers, does not mean we stop growing and learning. Find a teacher who is invested in their own growth and spends time to practice and learn. Teachers should always be attending new classes or workshops to learn from others as well. Humility will get you further than ego. Someone once told me that the best way to grow is to first acknowledge that you are not the smartest person in the room – in fact you never want to be the smartest in the room. Always believing that there is more to learn from every person you meet.
I hope that these 5 pointers will help you have a better idea of what kind of instructor you want to follow and learn from!
With Grace and Strength,