There is a meme floating around that says ‘Yoga. Because punching people is frowned upon.’
And therein lies one of the fundamental benefits of yoga: getting out of your head and being mindful about your movements. Not only does your body get a good stretch and strengthen, but your mind and mood also receive a boost. But don’t go to just any place that puts up a yoga sign. CEO of Yoga Australia Shyamala Benakovic said the importance of finding a qualified teacher should not be underestimated.
“To experience the full benefits of yoga, it is important to choose a teacher that is qualified. A Yoga Australia registered teacher will deliver a safe and effective class.”
What type of class?
Most yoga classes will cater for everybody and a good teacher will give variations of a pose to suit all different levels. Classes vary in intensity, beginners may prefer a slower paced class to take the time to focus on alignment and breathing. A qualified and registered teacher will be able to deliver a safe class that meets with your needs.
How do you choose a teacher?
We encourage everyone to refer to Yoga Australia’s list of registered teachers before committing to a class. Members must comply with Yoga Australia’s high-quality standards and Code of Professional Conduct: yogaaustralia.org.au
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What should you know before your first class?
Get to the studio about 15 mins early. Ask the teacher if you will need any props before you go into the room, props are great tools to help you ease into poses. Let the teacher know if you are pregnant or injured – They will be able to tell you if they have the adequate training to have you in class and make necessary adjustments to poses. Every teacher is different and some will choose to incorporate chanting or breathing (pranayama) into their class.
It’s quite common to chant the sound ‘OM’ at the start or end of class. This is all part of the practice of yoga, and with time you will probably come to appreciate the calming benefits it can bring to your practice. If you don’t feel comfortable at first you can just observe. The end of the class will always have a Savasana period. This is a fully conscious pose aimed at being aware but completely relaxed.
How do you know if you’re doing it right?
Yoga is an experiential practice, and for this reason, yoga cannot be done wrong or right - you are always learning. In yoga, you are encouraged to listen to your body. If you need to spend the entire class on your mat in child’s pose, then you are doing it right because that is what your body needs at the time. It is the teacher's job to make sure that you are doing the poses safely. A well-trained teacher will be able to give you verbal or physical cues to ensure that you don’t injure yourself and that you are getting the most out of each pose.
What should you do if you didn’t like the class?
Speak to your teacher. Nothing is easy the first time you try it and yoga can be a lot more challenging than people think. If you didn’t like the class because it pushed you outside of your comfort zone and made you uncomfortable, give it another try. As you become more familiar with the poses, breathing, and format of the classes you will start to enjoy it.
If it was the style of the class or the teacher that you didn’t like, then try another. Find the right fit for you. The practice of yoga is for everybody and can be customised to suit very specific needs. A qualified teacher will be able to design a class that meets with your specific needs, however, the general class he or she offers may not be for you. Always communicate with the teacher about any concerns you have.
Want to become a yoga teacher?
Refer to Yoga Australia’s list of registered teacher training courses. Registered schools must comply with Yoga Australia’s Code of Professional Conduct. KatieYoga in Busselton is currently the only Yoga Australia registered training provider in the Cape to Cape region.