Now that we’ve gotten our sacred space squared away (or at least a work-in-progress), it’s now time to search for the teacher that’s right for you. You might want to start by identifying your preferred yoga style first. In the past two years or so, many yoga studios were forced to temporarily close and weren’t able to reopen. When they were able to do so, they were met with a host of strict guidelines regarding offering in-person classes.
Many independent yoga teachers and yoga studios were forced to move their classes online even if they didn’t consider themselves tech-savvy, which could easily damper the overall learning experience. Unless you already have a preferred yoga teacher from your previous in-person classes, or perhaps you’re a yoga newbie whose in need of a teacher right now, here are a few things to consider for doing yoga at home. Let’s start with identifying the type of experience you’d like to have – active or passive anyone?
Passive or Active: What’s Your Preference?
A passive experience would be going at it alone through free yoga videos online – say watching YouTube channels like Yoga by Adrienne, Body Positive Yoga, or Yoga with Kassandra. Or, perhaps you’ve explored one or more paid streaming services like Yoga Download, Glo, or YogiApproved. These outlets typically offer a one-way approach meaning you never meet or have any personal interaction with your teacher – and of course, that’s by design.
On the other hand, a more active approach would involve finding a yoga teacher that has an established professional online presence using a secure video platform, on a variety of different yogic topics, which can be explored day or night. This type of yoga teacher typically offers more specialized classes, often via a paid subscription. But, be sure to check and see if the subscription package includes direct dialogue between you and your teacher if that’s super important to you.
You need to perform every day all the asanas you have learnt…Learn them first from a competent teacher and practice the basic asanas daily according to your schedule” (p. 27, Textbook of Yoga by Yogeswar).
Credentialed Yoga Teacher: Does It Matter?
Although I (Jaketha) completed in-person, yoga teacher training (YTT) and I’m currently registered with Yoga Alliance (RYT 200 meaning a 200-hour, registered yoga teacher (RYT-200) – not all yoga teachers have followed the credentialed path. Some yoga teachers are self-taught; others have received YTT but decided against registering with any agency. There is no right or wrong way. Honestly, it’s really about personal preference.
Some yoga studios may hire or contract with credentialed teacher others, while other studios may opt not to implement such a policy. Having completed a YTT doesn’t make you a perfect teacher just as not having completed one doesn’t mean you’re bad. Again, it really boils down to their personality style, years in practice, and/or their personal teaching ability – or should I say their relate-ability, right?
Experience & Relatability: Choosing the Teacher that Meets Your Frequency
Here’s a little confession: My first time ever doing yoga was the first day I showed up for YTT. Yep, you reach that right? Prior to that, I had gone out a bought a yoga mat but I have never actually been to a yoga studio or a yoga class before then. Crazy huh?!? No, watching yoga videos – nothing. I didn’t know what an asana was, or what pranayama involved but I knew I loved when it was time for Savasana. 🤣 I personally didn’t consider myself as totally out of shape. My version of exercise involved power walking around the office. So, needless to say, the overall experience in YTT was great at times but was also quite overwhelming and sometimes disappointing. (Honestly, I wanted to quit after the very first weekend.)
As an African-American in my mid-40s, I was entering a field that already suffered from limited representation for my kind but I brought with me a number of other insecurities that you might be able to relate to. Aside from my ethnicity, I didn’t wear a size zero – more like a size 16 – and I didn’t have years of yoga expertise. Plenty of times, I felt like a fish out of water – the oddball out and I was convinced everyone knew I was a fake, an imposter.
Frankly, I was following the prompting of the Most High/Spirit/Source to even signed up for yoga teacher training. If I had attended an actual yoga class prior, that would have been my first and last yoga class I’m sure. Stop and think about what I just shared – I was in my mid-40s, “overweight”, didn’t exercise, didn’t eat healthy either, and had never stepped foot in a yoga studio let alone a yoga class. Yet, I signed up for a nine-month fast-paced YTT program and I completed it in its entirety. If you’re a newbie, then that should be inspiration enough that you can do this too – at your own pace and in your own way.
Unless more-experienced teachers, I can relate to being intimidated by the other class participants, and comparing myself to them. ‘Not everyone is destined to do handstands and besides, advanced poses aren’t covered in any of our classes anyway. Again, it’s important to find a teacher that meets you where you or and helps you to feel good in your skin no matter where you are in the journey called life.