This is what you should know
Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have practised with some of the best yoga teachers in the world. I’ve been taught by young yoga teachers and much older ones and teachers of various nationalities and experience levels from different lineages and traditions. I attended classes with “world famous” yogis and those who have taught for 30 years or more without much acclaim.
Lately, however, I have been doing some self-reflecting on the search for the right teacher. So what makes a yoga instructor great? Who is the best? Teacher and student is after all a relationship, right? Most of us are drawn to yoga through some hardship in our lives and are transformed through the practice of yoga. A good teacher simply shares her/his practice and all the many benefits students gain when they practice yoga correctly.
BEING A GOOD YOGA TEACHER IS ABOUT “BEING A GOOD YOGA TEACHER”
Because teaching is a job where the teacher makes contact daily with people and have an interest in who they are, it helps them teach from an intuitive place where they invite participants to explore their own authentic self.
While there is no quintessential yoga teacher as they all are different, there are definitely some qualities that great yoga teachers all have because being a good yoga teacher is all about being a good teacher and being humble and not talking down to anybody.
People are going to a specific teacher’s classes to feel good, even better, than they do when they stepped on their mat. If the teacher give alignment suggestions or call attention to her/his instructions, the teacher must make sure it’s from a loving place that makes the student feel INCLUDED, as opposed to excluded.
YOGA TEACHERS SHOULD LEAVE THEIR EGO OUT THE STUDIO!
As professionals, yoga instructors need to be vigilant in keeping their egos in check with the teachings of yoga, and to also practice humility (vinaya) to eliminate the perils of pride and arrogance.
Ego-less teachers are happy to share their wisdom and knowledge openly! For yoga teachers being more fully connected with students and colleagues is a much more authentic and heart-centered way to move through the world. If a teacher’s authentic personality is more about warmth and compassion and they teach from their heart, they have the ability to create a really beautiful and uplifting class.
GOOD TEACHERS SHOULD CHECK IN WITH THEIR STUDENTS
Serious yoga injuries, though rare, are on the rise
More and more people across the world have been taking up yoga in recent years and the rate of yoga-related injuries has also climbed, a new study in the United States finds. Although the number of injuries occurring it’s a small compared to how many people practice yoga, researchers said, the odds of a serious injury are high.
At the beginning of each class, every yoga teacher should take a moment to touch base with their students and ask them about possible injuries. In order to give appropriate guidance with recommendations, the teacher should obtain certain essential information such as the history and nature of a student’s pain and the type of injury, and eventually advise the student whether or not continued practice is appropriate. Important questions must include: When did the pain start? Is it better or worse with exercise? What is the nature of the pain (e.g., sharp or achy)? Are there pins and needles associated with the pain? What is the intensity on a scale of 1 to 10?
The majority of yoga students don’t exactly know what yoga teachers know of anatomy and how they apply it to prevent and address injury among yoga students. The increased use of yoga for post-injury rehabilitation highlights the differences in knowledge between an “average” yoga teacher and “one who can identify”, assess, address, and prevent injuries.
ARE THEY REGISTERED WITH YOGA ALLIANCE®?
There are five main organisations in the world that provide credentials for yoga teachers. These organisations are often referred to by reference to the country in which they operate / are organised – e.g.“Yoga Alliance” (Australia), “Yoga Alliance” (Canada), “Yoga Alliance” (USA),”Yoga Alliance” (Italia), “Yoga Alliance” (New Zealand), “Yoga Alliance” (UK) now “Yoga Alliance Professionals”, “Yoga Alliance” (Singapore). This group of Alliances, are considered the largest yoga teachers and schools membership organisations in the world with over 100.000 members between them!
The professional affiliation with any Yoga Alliance is widely recognised by employers, insurance companies, yoga students and practicioners around the world. The purpose of registration as a Member of Yoga Alliance is to fulfill the primary purpose of protection of the public, yoga students and aspiring yoga teachers in an “unregulated industry”.
If practising with a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) is important to you, then you can find out if they have registered and by visiting the Yoga Alliance® Registry
By Rosie Brent