I’ve learned something during my years of practicing yoga that might be useful for a beginner yogi to know. You see, every teacher I’ve had, had something unique they were transmitting whether consciously or not. Some of them have more knowledge than others, some have more experience than others. Some have a calming way of teaching which makes their classes wonderful, others give you a new understanding of the qualities of the poses which is simply amazing. During my years of practice, I’ve had teachers I loved and teachers that were just ok (and some that were bad). So how do you spot the yoga teacher that works for you? I wrote this blog post to give beginners some insight and information about what to look for in a good yoga teacher, and when you know that you have found one for you.
“To me, a good teacher helps me to get into the moment. We do this by tuning into our breath, listening to the sound of it (ujiai) and by focusing our sight. (drishti)”
How yoga is being marketed is like the one side of the grand canyon in comparison to how yoga actually is when you get to the studio. At least in my experience. Of course there are some fifty shades of gray (or more like ten thousand) ways yoga is being taught. As I’ve already stated: every teacher transmits something unique.
Yoga is often being marketed through photos of pretty, smiling models posing in some advanced asana (position) wearing expensive yoga clothing. We see this in magazines, blogs, online stores.. the list goes on and on. For many people this presentation of yogis might seem like a great ideal to accomplish and therefore might be the very reason why they want to start practicing yoga. However, it might also be the very reason why some, especially men, might hesitate to try out yoga.
” I like yoga teachers who teach me to listen to my breath, to make my inhales deeper and my exhales slower. I like the teachers who teach me to focus, who helps me to value the more subtle accomplishments of yoga.”
I’m not gonna deny that I also get affected by the ideals or that I enjoy wearing my colorful, feather printed yoga pant. I also want to look good. It is a fun, though shallow aspect of the yoga world. Having a tendency towards self judging (like I do by comparing my self to those pretty and flexible models) finding a good yoga teacher is crucial. To me, a good teacher helps me to get into he moment. We do this by tuning into our breath, listening to the sound of it (ujiai) and by focusing our sight (drishti). I once was at a yoga class where the teacher told me to feel the spaciousness in my body. And she taught each pose so that we would get more spaciousness in our body, thus breath deeper and thus get calmer. It’s one of the most amazing classes I’ve ever been to. I like yoga teachers who teach me to listen to my breath, to make my inhales deeper and my exhales slower. I like the teachers who teach me to focus, who helps me to value the more subtle accomplishments of yoga by giving me positive feedback on my consistency or on my focus rather than on the obvious accomplishments, like getting into a new position, thus break down my ego a bit by not feeding my pride.
After all yoga is not about the appearance or what you can and can’t do. When you go to a really good yoga class, you get grounded and into your body. In the long term this will help you gain confidence (this is science). This is one of the effects practicing yoga can give you. On the other hand, it can also leave you being concerned about the poses someone else made but you didn’t. In my opinion, yoga should help you to get into the moment and let go of your concerns instead of participating in them (you can’t think about your concerns and be in the moment at the same time). My point is really: if the yoga class made your heart happy, you’ve found your teacher.
I recommend everyone to find a teacher who speaks to your hearts