Is Your Yoga Teacher Right for You? 4 Questions to Ask

September 19, 2016

Yoga has become one of the most popular fitness trends sweeping over the country. In every city you visit, you’ll be sure to find at least one yoga studio. Take a trip to more progressive cities such as Denver or San Francisco and you’ll be likely to find one studio every few blocks. With all of these yoga studios popping up around the country, people are getting caught up in this trend without questioning the qualifications of their instructors. Plenty of injuries occur each year because of poorly trained instructors conducting a class of beginners.

If you’re on the hunt for a yoga studio or you want to make sure your trainer knows what he or she is doing, then ask them these four questions.

  1. How Many Hours is Your Primary Certification?

In order to be hired in a yoga studio, teachers must hold a yoga instruction certification. Just like with personal training certifications, not all yoga instruction certifications are the same. Some are great and some are lacking.

Your standard certification is 200 hours but again, not all programs are going to be the same in quality. Ask your teacher how many hours they have and who certified them. Do you research. Check out the background of the certification company.

If your instructor has a 500 hour certification, this would be the gold standard. Still, don’t be shy.

  1. How Many Certifications Do You Hold?

Just like with personal training, instructors can specialize in a particular aspect of yoga. You want an instructor who knows their yoga but REALLY knows one specific area of yoga, especially if that’s the area you want to focus on. For example, maybe your instructor has a 500 hour certification AND specializes in Acro Yoga.

Ask them about how many certifications they hold and what the certifications focus on. Also, don’t be afraid to ask the “why” question. Why did your instructor start teaching in the first place?

  1. Who Have You Directly Studied Under? (Who is Your Mentor?)

Anyone can take a workshop with dozens of attendees but if you want the real deal, you need to find an instructor who has directly studied under someone. These instructors are usually going to be a bit older and may cost a bit more but your safety and progress are worth the extra cost.

Direct study with a mentor can make the difference between a good yoga instructor and an amazing yoga instructor.

  1. How Long Have You Been Actively Teaching?

You see it all the time: Yoga instructors who were really into their art taking a few years off for travel or to start a family. They jump back into the business and they are a bit rusty. Ask your instructor how long they’ve been actively teaching and if there were any gaps in their instruction career. If they did take time off, how much? And most importantly, did they take a refresher course or workshop to get them back into the groove.

If your instructor hasn’t taught a class in years and didn’t bother to take a refresher course, then you may want to look elsewhere.

Tell Us What You Think!

Do you have a yoga instructor that you love?

What makes them a great teacher?

What do you look to avoid in a yoga teacher?

Let us know in the comments below!





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