When I was asked to write an article about how to find the best teacher for you, I was really nervous - who am I to advise you on that? I'm just one of many teachers hoping to help others feel better and study the yoga philosophy and practice that changed my life! Then, I started writing about how to sift through the mound of information and choices out there, and I thought, a-ha! I am qualified to write this article, because I know how I go about picking something that's right for me.
Here's my to-do list for choosing a teacher or a class that works for you, especially when you're just starting out.
Do some research online, at the studios, or ask for referrals.
Find a class location that enables you to be consistent with your practice—a key part of yoga now and forever.
At a minimum, read studio web sites and look for teachers with RYT-200 certifications, which should ensure teachers have a basic understanding of how to guide a class.
Look into certified teaching schools, such as YogaWorks, with multiple locations, or Integral, which often train and retain their own teachers in a certain style, giving you consistency.
New yogis should look for Basics, Level 1, or Beginner classes taught by teachers who have experience and/or training working with new yogis to focus on key, foundational components for safety, and longevity in the practice.
I always find that, like anything, a personal referral is everything! Ask your friends and family - or trusted yogis - if they know of reputable teachers and studios, and then go back to step #1.
There's a wonderful saying in yoga that we should always approach the practice with a beginner's mind, an open slate to learning and discovering. Finding a place to practice and someone to trust as a guide? If you're open to discovering, you're already practicing your yoga.
The full article I was asked to write was published in Sonima, then Huffington Post: How to Find the Best Yoga Teacher to Guide Your Practice.