Beginner Tips and A Yoga Instructor’s Responsibilities.

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seated pose

As I was catching up on some reading yesterday, I came across a blog that caught my attention and made me think.  A yoga student had an experience in a yoga class where the teacher didn’t really observe or pay attention to the student’s in her class. I myself have had a similar experience in a yoga class I attended many years ago. The teacher taught with her back to us. Which is not necessarily bad but it wasn’t ideal to me and seemed to make the class feel disconnected and lost. I watched and practiced as some of the student’s didn’t know how to do every pose and struggled as she kept going through her flow. Please note that I am not trying to be negative toward this teacher she did a great job but it was simply a different style of teaching. And for some that have been practicing yoga for a while this may be the exact class needed but for beginners you might tend to get a bit lost or overwhelmed. So here are a few tips for finding the right class and instructor.

A few tips for beginners:

1)    Check the level of the yoga class you want to attend. If you’re brand new to yoga, look for a beginner or basics class.

2)    Tell the yoga instructor your yoga experience and ask him/her if the class is appropriate for you.

3)    Be sure and tell the instructor about any injuries so that he/she can provide modifications.

4)    Brand new? Let the instructor know and ask would you mind keeping an eye on me to make sure I’m doing the poses correctly?

5)    Have questions, just ask! We love to help and assist. It’s why we teach 🙂

Here are a few things I believe yoga instructor’s should try to accomplish in every class:

  • Safety. This should be number one. It doesn’t matter if you can do every pose it’s more important to stay injury free. An instructor should be able to provide you with verbal alignment cues and adjustments when necessary.
  • Observation. An instructor should be observing the pose and facial expressions of their students. This will allow them to cue more effectively and adjust the class flow as needed.
  • Present Moment Awareness. An instructor should do their best to be fully present and aware by making themselves available and approachable. I believe these to be key attributes that are necessary to build relationships and become the best instructor that you can be.
  • Community. The instructor should make an effort to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable in class. It creates a community that student’s feel comfortable in and overall provides a better yoga experience. The more we feel at ease the more we let go of judgment and competition to open up and enjoy our yoga.

Did I miss any? What are a yoga instructor’s responsibilities? What do you want to see more of and less of in class? What motivates you to show up for class with your favorite instructor? What makes you not want to go back? Please share your thoughts and/or questions.

Find more yoga and inspiration at and on twitter:@bepresent100


2 thoughts on “Beginner Tips and A Yoga Instructor’s Responsibilities.

    yogibattle said:
    March 28, 2014 at 3:42 am

    I am glad more people like you are holding their teachers accountable for doing their own practice instead of teaching. A good teacher should demonstrate how to safely enter and exit a pose and then watch to see if students do it correctly. This does not always bode well to the “flow” of a class, but the true aim should be to teach so the student can practice on their own. Even if the teacher is doing the asanas while teaching, he or she should be watching at all times. Great post!

      bepresentyoga responded:
      March 28, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      I really enjoyed reading your comments. I believe when the students and teachers work together it creates a better experience. I liked what you said about it sometimes stopping the flow of class because that is very true but like you said sometimes it’s necessary and that’s perfectly ok. I think students and teachers alike get in their head that class has to go or be a certain way but I’ve learned over the years that it’s important to go with the ebb and flow and be flexible and a sense of humor is a must 🙂 thanks for sharing!

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