I have a subscription to a chain of yoga studios situated around Dublin. This is great as it gives me flexibility depending on where I find myself with work etc, and it helps me to maintain a consistent practice through many different yoga classes. It also means that I get to experience the teachings of many different yoga teachers.
It really is amazing how every yoga teacher has their own style, their own focus and their own methods. Each one is individual in their own way. This is great in my opinion, because attending different style yoga classes prevents my practice from being stale and too repetitive.
Traditionally speaking, yoga is a very repetitive practice and is a repeat of a collection of poses strung together in very specific sequences. Although I do enjoy a traditional approach to yoga, and I know that repetition makes for improvement in anything, I feel that it is most beneficial to vary the practice to get the most from it. I enjoy one or two sessions a week in yoga classes where there is a focus on arm balances or an unusual ladder flow or just something that takes you from your comfort zone, this is where real learning takes place, I feel.
What makes a good yoga class?
For me, a good yoga teacher is someone who is well versed in tradition but is not afraid to add in some ideas that would technically not be classed as yoga to the hardcore traditionalists. By this I mean, mobility movements that explore full range of motion in joints, which is so important for longevity and a healthy body. Although there are various movements of joints in such a large collections of poses, yoga does neglect, mobility training. Being able to move a joint in it’s full range of motion using the strength of that limb is huge and has massive benefits.
A strong focus on the breath is always a plus as it really is an anchor to the practice. I have heard that the more you focus on improving the quality of practice throughout your practice, the better your physical practice becomes. I never believed that before but I have to say it has shown itself to be true for me.
What defines a good yoga teacher for you? What do you like the focus to be on? Traditional, breath-work, meditation, or crazy arm balances and handstands? Maybe you are like me and love a good mix of all the above, let me know in the comments!