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Who is the Right Yoga Teacher for You
Yoga Certification Home > Are you making a mistake in choosing your Yoga teacher?

Are you making a mistake in choosing your Yoga teacher?

By : Melissa Rinvold © 2010

Seeking a qualified instructor can be challenging, you have to trust your gut on some levels but on other levels there are certain basic qualifications for excellence if you want good results from the yoga practices you are learning. All teachers should be practitioners as well, not theorists. They should be able to give masterful instruction of any of the postures they teach. Intellectual instruction including history and studies about the practice of yoga are most helpful in insuring a deep and thorough understanding and respect for the ancient science, vast art and spiritual practice that is Yoga. Most, if not all masters have made a lifetime of practice in yoga and have not always had an easy road. Many teachers have had difficult pasts that prove they have come a long way with much practical experience in personal growth, healing and spiritual evolution.

But I have also encountered dark teachers who had negative and hidden agendas, having taken advantage of naïve newcomers financially, emotionally and even sexually. One must seek to never be naïve. If there is a warning sign about a new instructor, such as angry outbursts, unseemly behavior, indiscretions with private matters and information about others, poor manners, slovenly appearance or suspicious and incongruent signs regarding their message and the life they really live, RUN! Some teachers or teachings may be too athletic for you, as some forms of yoga are highly athletic or YANG such as Ashtanga and Bikram yoga. If you have an injury or illness, a YIN or gentle practice is essential until you are strong and your health is vibrant again and you are energetic enough to approach a more physically challenging or YANG practice. Ask around as most teachers will invite you to try a class first for free without expecting you to pay for a several week session in advance. A knowledgeable and experienced teacher is not necessarily one who has a certificate or a pretty body and a peaceful demeanor or a fancy studio. A master may be quite old, having practiced an entire lifetime, or quite young having been introduced to a lifetime of yoga as a child in a family that has practiced daily. One thing for sure, a good teacher will stimulate your mind and instill in your heart a deep and enduring respect for the depths of yoga. You should feel challenged but not so much so that you do not have ample opportunities to make progress quickly. The process may seem a bit alien at first as this Eastern based philosophy is more holistic than anything we have in the west. But if it is so esoteric that you simply don’t understand the meanings or feel uncomfortable with any of the processes, that teacher isn’t for you. There are a lot of fruity tooty teachers out there who have no business teaching and are not here to serve and heal. Some are down right nuts just like there are doctors who are fakes and quacks as well.

If they have university level of studies in physiology, anatomy, kinesiology, physics, biochemistry and psychology this is most excellent as they will have a rich understanding of the body, mind and energies that propel us through this complex world. The ancient Sutras (the Sacred Text that are the foundation of the yoga philosophy) state that it is necessary to have understanding of all of these disciplines and even including metaphysics to understand the true nature of Yoga.

Most of all, a master lives a life that is reflective of their teachings. Although this might be hard to discern at first, a master teacher or therapist will reveal regularly through their empathetic, sympathetic and healing nature how awake and aware they really are by how readily they connect and the healings they affect. A master teacher is renowned as intelligent, intuitive, revered as a healer and much respected as an altruist who is open to all people, races and loves life with both their heart and mind. Most importantly, a Master empowers you to become one too!

Like the saying says, when you are ready, the teacher will appear. If you are truly seeking a real teacher, a real teacher will appear. Remember though that they, like you, are human and that the ultimate and true teacher is you, your intuition and your inner guidance which discerns all teachings and learns what you need to know for your own purpose, path and connection with Source and all others. So take what serves you from each teacher you meet respectfully and leave behind that which does not serve you personally. You are allowed to be discerning. Listen to the voice within and follow it as it will always guide you in the right direction.

Namaste

About the Author

Melissa Rinvold is a Yogini, Yoga Instructor,Yoga Therapist, Artist, Dancer, Musician and writer and teacher of the arts. Initiated into Yoga at the age of 17, she brings with her over 39 years of yoga experience and has worked individually and successfully with people challenged with injury, illness, disease, and/or emotional and psychological issues, all with a focus on yoga for healing and emotional well being (Yoga therapy).

 

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