6 Things to Look for in a Good Yoga Teacher

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Yoga is accessible nowadays and with many yoga teachers available you’d think it’s easy to find a teacher that’s right for you. But it isn’t that easy. In some ways it depends on where you are on your yogic journey. Naturally you want a trusted teacher that can help you grow, be it in a physical, emotional or spiritual way.

Whenever Sarah and myself travel with our wellness school, saigon om, I often get asked “How do you know a good teacher when you meet him/her?”  The answer is it all depends as I mentioned before. It depends on where you are in your journey. Here are some general guidelines that I use for my own teacher-seeking journey.

1) Friendliness
According to Yoga Journal, the number one thing students look for in a yoga teacher is friendliness.  Is your teacher approachable and welcoming before, during and after class?

 2) Walks the Talk
A good teacher shares from her heart and practice rather than from her mind or ego.  When she speaks, you can hear the loving teachings from her heart. You may even find her class joyful and empowering. You naturally gravitate towards her presence of peace and calmness.  

3) Works the Room
We emphasize this point in the Art of Teaching module of our 200-hour yoga teacher training program. The teacher needs to know his yoga stuff, which means he has a solid idea of his teachings from sequencing and assisting (if he’s comfortable with touch), to class flow, breath cues and safety while observing and maintaining a sacred and safe environment for everyone. More specifically, a good teacher is always observing his class in order to give options and permission to accommodate all bodies in the class at all times. In short, the teacher needs to accommodate and know his anatomical alignment, breath and mindful cues.

4) Knows How to Hold Space
A good teacher is strong in her practice and is capable of holding space for you with his presence to  be, breathe, let go, reflect, and cultivate love, peace and joy. His voice is caring, loving, and dynamic. On a side note, his playlist should also reflect this. Remember that yoga is a sacred place of practice. Not a rock concert.

5)  Makes Class Enjoyable
It can get boring and a bit painful if you feel “stuck” in a room full of strangers for 75 minutes; meaning you are not enjoying class. When the teacher is fully present, she knows how to hold space in an inclusive way so you feel a sense of belonging in class, and she makes the class fun and lighthearted.

6) Is Always Growing
A good teacher is someone that you would likely be learning from for the most part of your yogic journey. “But wouldn’t you get bored of hearing the same stuff from the same teacher?” You ask.  Not if your teacher is also on a learning and growing journey and joyfully brings you along to help deepen your journey too. My belief is, a good teacher is always growing with her students. 

Happy teacher-seeking,
Hang