Pity the poor yoga teacher.
As a rule, we are not well-paid. We are also not well-respected. Lastly, we aren’t even that well-liked.
While it is true that there are some bad, narcissistic teachers out there that are more concerned with showing off their impressive poses and posting photos of themselves in those poses on Instagram and Facebook, the fact is, most of us who teach do so because we sincerely love yoga and the people whom we teach.
At least that is the reason why I teach and continue to teach despite the fact that there is no way in hell I could ever live off my earnings as a yoga instructor.
Still, despite this, I am by no means perfect nor am I the right teacher for every student who walks into my class. Admitting the latter is hard. A good teacher can and should be able to differentiate for the different body types, skill level, etc. of the students who take his or her class. However, it’s impossible for one instructor to be everything to everyone.
Sometimes, the problem isn’t even my teaching style but rather for whatever reason, the student just doesn’t gel with my personality.
Recognizing that you need a new teacher can be helpful for a number of reasons. A good one is that rather than blame yourself or your body or quitting yoga altogether, you get a better idea of what you are looking for and that idea can aid you in finding a teacher who can help you on your journey.
So, how do you know that your yoga instructor is not the one for you? Below are some tips:
1. Your teacher does not give you feedback or says everything is fine or good when you ask for it.
As an instructor, I know how hard it can be to give all your students feedback especially if you have a lot of students in a class. (By “a lot” I generally mean 10 or more.) However, if you are regular student, you should be getting some sort of feedback or specific information if asked, “How is my practice?”
“Fine” or “good” is simply not enough. Even those with impressive physical practices should be told what exactly they are good at and what areas they may need to continue to work on.
Also, notice if your instructor only gives feedback or adjustments to the same students over and over again. If so, then that is a sign to speak up and ask why you aren’t getting the same attention.
If it continues to happen, then take it as a clear sign to move on to someone else.
2. Your teacher has little to no experience teaching the sort of yoga you want to practice.
Some of you reading this may be scratching your head and wondering, “Isn’t that obvious?”
It should be, but sometimes it is not.
Many people who begin yoga have no idea about the different styles out there. Others may see clips of, say, an Ashtanga practice on YouTube and erroneously think all yoga is like that.
Even if you have no idea what the name of a certain style is, you can tell the teacher what sort of yoga you like by saying, “I like a slower/faster pace” or “I like practicing the same poses every class” or “I love to mix things up and love it when music is playing”.
Even if you don’t know what you like at first, you’ll soon find out.
It may turn out that your teacher is a great vinyasa teacher who can work their students into a sweat but could not teach an Iynegar-style class if their life depended on it.
3. You don’t get the right vibe from your teacher.
We’ve all met people who we did not have any valid reason to dislike but nonetheless, something just felt “off” about them.
Yoga teachers are no different in that regard. It may even be a situation where you really like this person but feel intimidated by them or cannot be open with them when it comes to expressing what you need or expect from their instruction.
While picking a yoga instructor isn’t the same as picking a friend, you need to be comfortable around them. If you aren’t, don’t stay around and try to figure out why. Instead, move on to another teacher.
Figuring out whether a yoga teacher is a good fit for you or not should not be difficult. However, it may not be immediately noticeable.
For those just starting out and deciding that they hate yoga or simply weren’t cut out for it, I strongly encourage you to try out at least one other instructor before coming to that conclusion.
Perhaps you just haven’t found your right teacher yet.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise