yoga instructor trainingBy Amruta Kulkarni, CYT 500

As a yoga teacher, you want to welcome new people with open arms.  People new to a yogic way of life are taking a big step, just by visiting a studio or ashram.  We may view it as a small hurdle, but new students want to shed the label “beginner” as soon as possible.  The best way a yoga instructor can help is to provide handouts, information and explain that some information on the Internet is erroneous or intended for teachers.

The research a beginner will perform before starting up will vary depending on the person’s intentions and whether or not they will be participating in a class or practicing alone.


All beginners should first research the different yoga schools to decide which one is right for their needs. Some people begin a practice wanting to lose weight, and these people should try more physically challenging schools like Vinyasa or Ashtanga, which includes a fast-paced flow of poses. A student looking for a more relaxed and calming style, which tends to slow down metabolism, might prefer Iyengar practice.

In Studio or at Home?

At Home

Beginners who want to practice on their own will need to perform a lot of research on various poses and breathing techniques. One of the best ways to do this is to find a beginner video series or online web tutorial from a reputable source that offers in-depth instruction.

Reputable videos or online tutorials are good starting places, as long as they fit the beginners’ needs. However, new students should still perform research on asanas, pranayama, meditation and their purposes, to begin building a strong repertoire of yogic knowledge. The more a student knows about basic breathing technique theory, for example, the better he or she will be able to put it into practice pranayama correctly.

In Studio

Beginners who decide that taking a class will be a better option should identify several local yoga studios or gyms that offer yoga classes and then do a little research. Those with fitness memberships might find it easier to sign up for a class offered by their gym, but this can sometimes mean a less-qualified yoga instructor or a class that does not fit with their intended purpose. On the other hand, this option is convenient and could be less expensive than taking a class at a local studio.

Studios tend to offer a variety of experienced and certified yoga instructors who teach different classes at varying times. Beginners interested in a local studio should ask around about its reputation and should take time to visit before the first class by arriving early.  Some studios a introductory to new students, which is a great way to try out a class without a serious commitment. Remind students to wear close-fitting, comfortable athletic clothes, and bring a mat if they are are more comfortable using their own equipment.

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