What to Look For in a Good Yoga Teacher
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A good yoga teacher should ideally be someone who inspires you to practice yoga as it truly is, that is, as an art to help guide you to becoming healthier and more peaceful. He or she should also be someone who guides you to improve yourself as a human being. Practicing yoga is all about bringing peace to yourself and the teacher’s guidance should encourage this in you.
An enthusiasm for yoga
A good yoga teacher should be someone with a lot of enthusiasm for yoga, someone who enjoys not only practicing and learning yoga themselves but also someone enjoys teaching yoga too. You should feel like they enjoy giving you knowledge of their subject.
A deeper understanding and sense of peace
The ultimate goal of yoga is to bring peace to yourself and to share this sense of peace with others. Of course, yoga is a path. As students of yoga, we can only strive to be peaceful. The important thing is that the goal should be there. Hence, a good yoga teacher should be someone who really believes that it is their goal to be peaceful. They should also have an understanding of what peace really is.
The ancient Indian scriptures talk a lot about ‘shanti’ or peace. According to the scriptures, shanti is our original nature before we become distracted by the world outside of us. This is supported by the ancient teachings of ‘ahimsa’, or non-violence, that also speak of peaceful behavior. Based on these scriptures, a good yoga teacher should display love for peaceful actions.
Yoga can bring you into a state of inner peace
A good yoga teacher should be aware of the deeper teachings of yoga which are discussed in the scriptures. There are scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita that talk about ‘yoga’ or the idea of union between everything in the world. There are also books such as ‘Hatha Yoga Pradipika’ that explore the different aspects of yoga, and a good yoga teacher should have an in-depth understanding of all parts of yoga.
In addition to this, a good yoga teacher should have a good understanding that yoga is not just physical practice but is something much deeper. A teacher should be one who always encourages you to focus your awareness on your breath in order to bring you into a state of meditation.
Yoga is not only about the physical but also the spiritual
Not only that, a good should always be aware of the eight limbs of yoga which include rules for social and moral conduct, meditation, breath control, and so forth. They should, however, still have an understanding of anatomy in order to correct the physical posture. After all, the eight limbs of yoga do include asana or physical practice too.
The health benefits of yoga
A teacher should understand that yoga is about health. As yoga has developed, many people have become aware of the health benefits of yoga practice and a good teacher should both understand and teach this.
Following a sattvic or pure diet, for example, is an important step in yoga. It is useful when following a pure diet to eat organic foods that contain no pesticides and are grown in a manner designed to keep the soil fertile and the products full of nutrients. A good teacher should guide you with a nourishing diet and good health.
Eating organic foods is an important part of yoga
A good teacher encourages you not to be competitive but to work on yourself. He or she understands that everyone is different, that everyone comes from a different physical background, and that everyone comes to yoga with their own needs. A sign of a good teacher is that he or she tells you not to look at others during the class. This helps you focus on yourself and your own development which is ideally what you want as a yoga student.
A good teacher does not push you beyond your comfortable limits
A good teacher offer adjustments, but does not push you beyond your comfortable limits. He or she rather encourages you, helps you to see your potential, and guides you towards a point of peace within yourself. A good teacher has a strong desire to help you with your journey as a yoga student.
Above all, a good yoga teacher is someone you can bond with and form a relationship with. He or she should be someone that you can relate to and someone who is on the same path as you!
Looking to become a yoga teacher yourself? What qualities do you look for in a yoga teacher? Learn how to embody the characters of a good yoga teacher on a certified yoga teacher training program!