What makes a good teacher? Is it the way they use language, their fly yoga moves, their sequencing, or their energy? Or perhaps it’s their life experience, their training, their own daily practice, or their groovy playlists?
What is for sure, is that regardless of training, experience, and age, every teacher has something to offer. As a student, it’s your job to navigate the ever growing world of yoga teachers to find the person or people who are offering you what you need in this moment. Here are some tips to help you along your journey.
1. Your yoga teacher should make you feel awesome.
It’s not their job to outright make you feel awesome but it is their job to create the space for you to discover your own innate awesomeness. A yoga teacher should help you to feel inspired, accepted, and safe. A good teacher creates a space where you feel able to challenge yourself while at the same time respecting your own limitations.
2. Don’t define a yoga teacher by their physical body or physical practice.
Some teachers have amazingly impressive physical practices. They are a joy to watch, creating a sense of awe with their fluidity, flexibility and strength. Physical adeptness though does not automatically mean that a person is a fantastic teacher. Asanas – the physical yoga poses – are only one slice of the yoga pie. At the same time, remember that someone who isn’t a super physical yogi may just be the best teacher you could ever ask for.
3. A good teacher wants the best for you.
A good teacher makes you feel empowered and confident to be guided by your own intuition. They want you to explore your threshold but they don’t want you to injure yourself. It’s important for a teacher to teach from a place of love and compassion. They should accept you as you are but at the same time know that you are capable of greatness.
4. Your teacher should be tuned-in at full frequency.
A good teacher sees their students. They watch, guide and assist based on what’s happening in that moment. For many reasons, teachers get stuck on their mats, practicing along with the class. This may be because they’re new and nervous to venture out, or maybe they’re demonstrating asanas for beginners. Whatever the reason, it is important to feel like your teacher is in-tune with what’s happening in the room.
5. The best teachers have a solid practice and are always learning.
Fantastic yoga teachers are always students and they will be the first to tell you this. There is always something new to learn and explore. Evolving yoga teachers are the best. They practice and learn and read and train. They don’t feel like they already know it all. Humility and a consistent practice are key ingredients that make up a good teacher.
6. A good teacher offers balance.
A good yoga teacher offers the buffet and then you take what you like. They teach philosophy, asanas, and pranayama (breath work) creating a balanced experience of yoga. This balance then makes it more accessible and true to what yoga really is. Without the philosophy, it’s just exercise. And without the breath and postures, it may become alienating for some. A good teacher puts it all on the table.