What to Look For When Hiring The Best Yoga Instructor For Your Studio
In this day and age, anyone can become a yoga teacher given the countless sources of information we have access to. You can go online and find several websites, videos, and images showing everything from the history of yoga to the various poses and meanings behind each one.
But does knowledge of the practice automatically make one a great yoga teacher?
While it isn’t difficult to find or become a competent yoga teacher, it isn’t easy to find someone exceptional, one that will add value to your yoga business. Here are 11 qualities that define what the difference is between a good yoga teacher and a great one.
1. They've been practicing for a while.
Ideally, years of experience will translate to more professionalism and knowledge of the practice. The regular stretch one experiences every session makes a teacher more familiar and at ease with the craft. This familiarity will also result in more confidence and accuracy which students will read and feel (it’s all in the vibes!). Remember though, the number of years on the mat won’t automatically be equivalent to being exceptional, but as the saying goes, practice makes perfect, or will at least push toward that direction.
2. They make everyone feel acknowledged.
Yoga classes aren’t always homogeneous. There might be uncertain newbies in a class mixed with faster-paced, long-term practitioners to occasional visitors of the mat. A great yoga teacher will be able to see all the students and spot these differences so they can adjust to the individuals who need attention while still maintaining the seamless flow of the class. Every student should feel seen without being blatantly referred to.
3. They are engaging communicators.
If you look back and recall the most memorable teachers you’ve had in school, you’ll remember how they made you feel more than what they taught you. Exceptional yoga teachers are those that don’t just deliver spiels on cue and strike robotic poses. They instruct with patience, try to relate with their students, while also giving special instructions to those who need it. They make every student feel that in spite of how large or small the class is, they are a significant part of it.
4. They can fuse the classic with contemporary.
Several traditional poses might usually be separated from more modern techniques. While tradition can bring significant weight to the practice, there are times when incorporating more unique styles of teaching can improve the vibe and atmosphere of the class. Doing so might also cater to an eclectic mix of students and let everyone get exactly what they need. For example, check out this article for techniques you can infuse in your Vinyasa routine.
5. They take note of the little things.
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Any teacher can spot if one of the students’ back has to be straightened or if someone’s leg isn’t positioned at the correct angle. What’s different about great teachers is that they can address these small details without disrupting the overall flow of the class or the energy of the individual student. No one feels embarrassed when corrected, and they feel immediately confident when praised for correcting themselves.
6. They don't pressure anyone.
Yoga is all about energy -- so when something doesn’t flow right, you can’t go against it. Rather, you go with it and see where it will take you. When it comes to breathing, posing or stretching, anything forced won’t do your body or spirit good. A great teacher knows this, and won’t force a student into doing something they don’t feel comfortable with. In turn, a student won’t feel reluctant to try again and will be more likely to return to the class for another session.
7. They are grounded
Being on the mat seems like a figurative description of having one’s feet on the ground, meaning a great teacher is someone who is not egotistical when teaching. They know that teaching a class means about sharing their knowledge for the benefit of others, not an arrogant display of their skills and competence. They are also humble enough to adjust to what each student needs because their purpose is encouraging others to learn and appreciate yoga.
8. They provide a good environment.
Your mat isn’t the only space in the class. It’s the entire room or area where you all are, and that means the environment, temperature, and sounds you hear are all part of the session. A good teacher will let you practice in a quiet, spacious place, but a great teacher will know how to fuse all the elements around you in your yoga class. That includes the music they’ll play, the weather, the scents and sounds of nature, and everything else that your senses will experience.
9. They are warm and accepting.
If you only wanted to learn a technique, you could easily go online and look for instructional videos on yoga. But there is something in an actual class that can’t be replicated, especially if an amazing teacher is leading it. A great teacher gives off a warm, accepting, calming presence that adds to the ease and comfort of a student. The teacher not only leads but also becomes a support system that adds to the progress and quality of the whole session.
10. They have an authentic personality.
You can take several yoga classes and might get the physical fulfillment you are looking for in a class but what makes you choose a particular teacher to return to? Is it the way they speak? How they motivate students? Or is it the music they use, or perhaps a trademark line that they finish with? No matter what it is, a great teacher is someone easily distinguishable and memorable with an edge that will set them apart from other yoga instructors. This is also what will keep the students coming back, and encouraging other people to join them in future classes.
11. They will help you fall in love with yoga.
When someone is passionate about something, it can become infectious. This is what a great teacher can do with the practice. They have such an intense fire for what yoga is all about and they believe in it with such relentless conviction. Like a good salesperson, they will be able to sell yoga without force -- you will just find yourself head over heels (perhaps literally) while discovering the wonders and benefits of yoga. Soon after, they will be able to transform a first-timer into a frequent and regular student.
Defining what a ‘great’ yoga teacher is can also be relative to what a student is looking for. Some people might have certain expectations and preferences that aren’t the same for others. The mentioned qualities are just some examples of what makes a yoga teacher extraordinary. It’s still better to follow your instinct when it comes to choosing a yoga teacher that will cater to what you need. The more you commit to the practice, the more you will discover what you need and what works for you.
The same goes for aspiring yoga teachers. Every new class is also an opportunity to learn something about yourself. It is also a continuous learning experience because students can bring special situations that require different techniques or approaches. A humble teacher knows that learning never stops, and each mistake can be a chance to discover something new. So keep persevering and finding that light within you!
Other Useful Resources for Your Yoga Business
- Leverage the Power of Email Marketing for Your Business
- Eight Proven Ways to Convert Your Website Visitors into Subscribers
- How to Keep Retention Rates High in Your Yoga Classes
- When Should You Open Your Second Yoga Studio?
About the Author
Kelly is a 200-hour hatha yoga teacher and loves yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. You can learn more about her at https://bestinyoga.com