Finding the right yoga teacher isn't that different from finding a new friend. It is built on trust, intuitiveness, and respect. What it really comes down to is chemistry.
Here are 5 tips to help you know what to expect.
1. Does the teacher calmly look around the room taking in the energy of the students before class begins? This is important in order for the teacher to connect with the group by saying hello, asking how are you today, if the room is comfortable? Something. Light humor can bring the group together, too. Note: It's always nice if the teacher calls you by your name. So, introduce yourself before class if you can or after class if you like the teacher even a little.
2. Class should begin with a meditation. It doesn't matter if you can't sit in the lotus position. The meditation is to separate you from the world outside, from the chaos of daily life, and is an opportunity to center yourself. A good teacher will suggest that you set an intention for the class, even for the rest of the day. Note: Breathing is a very important aspect of meditation.
3. As you proceed, the teacher should give the name of the pose and demonstrate the ideal technique for the class level. Since strength and flexibility can vary greatly among students, it is important that yoga props be available and that variations on the poses also be demonstrated . A good teacher will gently move around the room offering praise, making small adjustments, and allowing time for you to find ease in the pose. Note: Being reminded to breathe is another sign of a good teacher.
4. Whether it is a 60 or 90-minute class, a resting period called Savasana, or the corpse pose, allows your body to integrate the benefit of the poses and the breathing. This is your cool down time. Note: This is actually the more difficult part of the yoga class and should not be overlooked.
5. A final meditation brings the energy generated and released full circle. The teacher will lead the group in a very simple chant bringing everyone together as one. With the hands to the heart, class often ends with namaste, which means I am your humble servant, and shanty, which means peace.
It doesn't matter how short or tall, fat or thin, young or old, you are. Finding the right teacher is very personal. Really great teachers come in all sizes also. Give a teacher more than one class before you make a decision unless your first experience is unquestionably off-putting. Be prepared to enjoy several teachers. Each will offer something different that you can incorporate into your practice as time progresses and as you become more adept.
A yoga class should be a safe place where you do not have any expectations to meet and however you are able to do the poses, the breathing and the meditation is just fine. Everyone is freer, or stronger or steadier some days than other days, including teachers. This is your time to find your way to peace and tranquility guided by someone wonderful and inspiring.
For more tips, essays, and resources to find peace and energy in an adventurous and eventful life, visit Lisa Holdren's blog at http://www.peaceandlaughter.blogspot.com - Lisa retired from episodic television and series development to guide her children toward contentment and successful careers. Now she helps readers in search of tranquility and purpose with humor and intuitiveness.