Yoga is an excellent way to combine exercise and meditation, as you’re learning to limber up both your body and mind. It also can be beneficial to join a class, so that you can have help with learning the more challenging poses. However, just like anything else, there are just as many bad yoga instructors as there are good ones.
If you want to get the most out of your yoga instruction, then don’t just sign up for any old yoga class. Whether you’re looking for a yoga instructor or a meditation guide, here are a few signs of a good teacher, one who will help you expand your knowledge of yoga and meditation with patience and compassion.
Signs of a Good Teacher:
1) A good teacher will see and welcome their students before the class, appreciating them for who they are as unique and beautiful people. He or she will have a positive attitude toward the class in general.
2) Yoga can be challenging, so people with injuries, even minor ones, should be careful. Because of this, the teacher should ask at the beginning of every class if there are any injuries, strains, concerns or tensions at all in anyone’s body, and what that issue is. This way, the the teacher can keep that in mind as the class goes through the poses.
3) The teacher will choose poses for the class so people with injuries get help and the people without injuries get challenged.
4) A good teacher explains and demonstrates a pose, especially challenging ones, so the students understand it from beginning to end. The teacher should make sure the whole class is on the same page and everyone is aware of the dangers and mistakes.
5) The teacher knows how to explain the poses in a variety of ways so if explaining it one way doesn’t resonate with someone, they have an arsenal of perspectives on the poses.
6) Good teachers will know how to teach. They will see subtle errors and weaknesses and know how to correct them graciously. A positive teacher will assume you are putting your all into the class and gently encourage you, working with whatever energy level you may have. The teacher will use frequent positive reinforcement when he or she checks on students, and will never, ever embarrass or bully a student.
7) At the end of the class, a good teacher asks how the students are feeling. Teachers should want to make sure that the class was helpful and challenging for everybody.
8) They should have a wealth of meditations for Savasana (Dead Man’s Pose) at the end of class. Good meditations really enhance yoga, so good teachers should know of several to help their students get the most out of the class.
9) A good teacher always thanks their students for attending. It’s just common courtesy.
10) Most importantly, they practice what they preach. They treat their lives, their students, their emotions and attitudes with the grounding and peace brought forth in good yoga.
Fortunately, there are more good teachers than bad ones in the world, as the very nature of yoga promotes compassion and the pursuit of wisdom. If you’re looking for a new class, keep these signs in mind and you’ll find a teacher and group that you’ll be able to mesh with.
Laurie Desjardins is a meditation expert and creator of the Zen Stick relaxation tool. If you want to get more out of your yoga and meditation, consider adding the Zen Stick to your relaxation repertoire. For more information about meditation, yoga and Zen Sticks, visit https://www.sleepingtiger.org.
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