Yoga Teacher

Definition - What does Yoga Teacher mean?

A yoga teacher is an individual trained to properly teach the poses used in yoga practice. Their role can also extend beyond the physical aspects of yoga as they may take a holistic approach that incorporates the mental, emotional and spiritual elements of the discipline into their teaching.

A yoga teacher's specific approach to instruction is partly the result of their training and the type of yoga they practice. A traditional Hatha or Bhakti yoga teacher will not have the same teaching style as someone who is teaching newer fitness styles like Power yoga. Some yoga teachers take a gentle, spiritual approach to teaching, while others emphasize the conditioning aspects of yoga in their instruction.

Yogapedia explains Yoga Teacher

A number of organizations train and certify yoga teachers and several organizations set or recognize standards for yoga teacher training. The International Yoga Federation and the Yoga Alliance are two such groups.

When a practitioner is looking for a yoga teacher, they should examine that teacher's training and credentials as well as the style of yoga that will best suit their needs. The Yoga Alliance classifies these styles as gentle, spiritually-oriented, flow, alignment-oriented, fitness, hot or specialty yoga.

Yoga teachers who take a holistic approach are guides as well as instructors. They live their yoga practices and attempt to teach that way of life. These teachers apply the ethical and spiritual principles of yoga to their own lives and their instruction.

For example, the Yoga Sutras describe yoga as having eight limbs, so a classical yoga teacher would include these limbs as part of their instruction. In addition to teaching asanas and pranayama (breathing exercises), the instructor would also include yamas and niyamas (virtues and rules of living), pratyahara (control of the senses), dharana (inner awareness), dhyana (devotion) and samadhi (union with the Divine).

Teachers will typically identify with a particular tradition or lineage of yoga. Among these many traditions, there are: Ashtanga yoga, Hatha yoga, Inyengar yoga, Kundalini yoga, Tantra yoga, Yin yoga, Vinyasa yoga, Hot yoga, Power yoga or even a hybrid of disciplines.

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