How to find a quality yoga teacher

This is my Astanga yoga teacher, Manju Jois. It took me 25 years of practicing yoga to find him and discover he is my teacher. I have had many other very influential teachers, but my heart knows Manju is meant to be the one I learn the deepest meanings of life teachings of yoga through.

How to find a quality yoga teacher

 A wonderful quality teacher can mean everything to a yoga practice. This is especially important during the first few years of a student discovering yoga. This allows the absolute best opportunity to not only develop a safe and proper yoga practice, but to also learn yogic philosophy, and a deep understanding of how to bring the balance of mind, body and spirit cultivated on one’s mat, into their everyday world.

If you are wondering how to find a quality teacher, first of all, please do practice patience! It may take trying different teachers and styles of yoga as part of your journey to finding what and who works for you. Here are a few thoughts to help you on your way to finding a teacher you resonate with, and whom will be a guide of wisdom as you journey through your yoga practice.

Qualities a great yoga teacher embodies are many. Some that come readily to my mind are:

  • Presence and sacred space. The ability to create a sacred space for students. Is the teacher present with the practice they lead? Do they help to cultivate a safe environment to share yoga? Are they honest? Do they have a sense of humor?–This one can go a long way! Do they care deeply about humanity? Do they teach with an authentic heart? What else creates presence and sacredness for your practice?
  • Live by example. Does the teacher strive to live by example what they teach, to the best of their human ability? Remember that teachers are human. They do make mistakes. But do they address their mistakes with love. Are they able to live what they teach and seek to learn from a mistake, and move forward with grace? Do they forgive others for mistakes they make, while also setting boundaries to protect themselves from anyone purposefully trying to cause harm?
  • Self Practice. Does the teacher practice yoga? No matter what a teacher knows, or what they have done in the past, if they are not keeping up their mindful practice of yoga and/or meditation or other mindful work, they will not be an effective teacher over time. Certainly seek a teacher who has the discipline to stay steady to the work they teach through practicing. This doesn’t mean they need to practice with you; they may very well practice at home. All you need to know is the quality of their teaching will be reflected if they are practicing, or not.
  • Passion. Any work worth doing is done with a passionate heart. Does your teacher love to teach? Do they honor the teachings of yoga? Do they respect you as their student? The passion of a teacher for their work will shine in the words they do, and do not say. The way their eyes shine when they speak about what they do will show the way to their passionate heart.
  • Guru? Be careful of any teacher who self-proclaims he/she to be a Guru. A guru is someone who has dedicated life to teaching and serving humanity. They are very experienced and knowledgeable teachers, with wisdom that bleeds from their souls. But they must remain humble, or this will quickly lead to their fall. If a teacher tries to force their students to call them guru, it is time to find another teacher. Humility and grace are two attributes that must always be embodied by a teacher. If students choose to call their teacher, guru, that is not for the teacher to decide or demand.
  • Love. If one were to sum up the qualities of a great teacher in one word. Love is the word. Love is the feeling. Love is the manifestation. Of body, mind and soul.

I believe our teachers at Centered City Yoga are quality teachers, and some of the best yoga teachers one could find. They teach for the right reasons and wish to share their love and knowledge of yoga with you. I encourage you to try many of our teachers and the different lineages and styles offered. If there are a few teachers you enjoy, go to their classes as often as you can. It may be that a few teachers create your wholeness in seeking a teacher, or you may find through time that there is indeed a teacher who you can learn from over many years, and may very well be your best teacher of yoga.

Much Love,

~Rachel Cieslewicz