What Is a “Good” Yoga Teacher?

The American Association of Yoga defines a good yoga teacher as someone who:

Has studied and comprehends the various effects of yoga exercises, breathing, and meditation.

Is knowledgeable about the body’s physiology.

Is able to adapt techniques for each individual’s capability.

Adheres to yoga techniques and does not confuse religious or personal beliefs with yoga.

Few of us go through life standing on our heads or sitting in a lotus position. So the first time you stand on your head or find your knees hurting from sitting cross-legged in your yoga class, questions will obviously arise. Ask them.

The following suggestions will both facilitate and maximize the benefits of your yoga class.

Be on time, if not early. Yoga classes may last anywhere from sixty to ninety minutes. If you are continually late for class, you not only miss the beginning relaxation or asana but it shows a lack of respect for your teacher. It’s best to arrive about ten or fifteen minutes early to get yourself into a relaxed state of mind. This is particularly important if you are taking class right after work, if you have a stressful day, or if you feel emotionally scattered.

Be attentive and focused. Plan to stay through the entire class. Sometimes students are only interested in the asana, not the meditation or deep relaxation at the end of a class. If you commit to a yoga class, make the commitment to stay through the entire class. If you know you must leave early or arrive late, advise your teacher in advance.

Don’t compare yourself to other yoga students.Yoga is personal. Practice at your own pace. There will be many levels of students within a level of a yoga class. Some students move through the asana at a quicker pace or are able to hold the asana longer and with ease. Other students may be stiffer and take longer to get into an asana and quicker to come out of an asana. Stay focused and concentrate on what you can do.

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