I’d just like to share my thoughts on choosing a yoga teacher. There are so many types of yoga so choosing the type can be a stress in itself.
Some options such as Ashtanga or Vinyasa tends to be stronger and faster. Hatha yoga tends to be slower although you can have slower flowing vinyasa or stronger faster Hatha practices.
The advantage you have at the moment however is that with everything being online you have the opportunity to pretty much try any classes further afield from where you live, so the world is, pretty much, your oyster.
I’ve ‘attended’ classes with teachers in London , Birmingham and Scotland who I’ve admired for a while. I’ve not managed to attend any in the US yet but I have that opportunity if I wanted. This is a fabulous way of trialling new and different classes to find out what style suits you, and what you want to get out of your practice.
You may find one or two teachers that gel with you. Everyone has different teaching styles. Every teacher has differing journeys and stories to tell so no two teachers are ever the same. One of the things I was taught in my yoga teacher training was to be authentic – be yourself. I think students can tell if you are not.
So how does that help? Well it all comes down really to your affinity to the teacher and the class. Particularly at the moment, with everything being online this can be hard. Some people may feel that online classes are more impersonal than face to face teaching. This means it is even more important to listen to your heart and really come to a class that makes you feel good. On a professional level I try to make my classes as inclusive as I can – this includes the warts and all approach. I love it when the class gets interrupted by pets or children, or even partners wandering in in a dressing gown! Keeping it real 😂.
A quick word on YouTube and teachers on that platform. Using YouTube can be a great way of continuing your yoga practice. If you’ve not done yoga before however there is nothing like having the interaction of a live teacher who can see you – and help you get the most out of your practice. From a safety point of view it is also important – particularly when you are starting out that you practice safely so using a teacher who you can fully interact with is so important.
A yoga practice will help you connect mind and body. It’s important therefore that there is some element of meditation and breath work or pranayama included. This will help you connect better with your inner self. Some teachers like to include some philosophy in the class. This may not suit some students but to get the full benefit of yoga it’s good to understand the underlying teachings. Some teachers use a lot of philosophy and weave it into their classes, some just add a nod to it but again that may be something to consider when you are looking for a teacher.
It is also worth remembering that even when face to face classes start they will need to be socially distanced. I know in my studio I will be running with reduced face to face students and continuing with the online options so don’t let distance put you off particularly if you have found the perfect teacher for you. With the current situation I have gained some amazing new students from further afield and I am certainly looking to continue with remote classes for the foreseeable future to run alongside the studio classes.
A quick word about a home practice. At the moment yoga classes in the Uk will most probably be from an online source. It can be hard to get your mojo back and get practicing which is why it’s great to have some classes booked in with a teacher. That way you have that time in your diary and something to look forward to.
One thing to remember though is that a personal yoga practice does NOT have to be an hour long. A little everyday will be much more beneficial than a weekly 90 min class. For my own personal practice it can just mean sitting on my mat meditating for 10 minutes, or it could mean a stronger practice for half hour. The main thing is yoga is enabling that connection to your own body you can learn to listen to what it needs. Some mornings I’ll happily do some lovely stretchy yin stretches but other days I just need a faster flowing vinyasa – it’s all about understanding and listening in – but get on your mat!
My name is Julie Elder. I am an holistic therapist and yoga teacher who specialises in utilising the body’s ability to heal itself using a variety of techniques including Bowen Technique and Kinesiology. I am also an Aromatherapist, Reflexologist, Reiki master and an advocate for pursuing an organic lifestyle. I am also fully qualified in Pregnancy Massage and Bowen Technique.
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