Finding downdog difficult? You could be in the wrong class! Here are the top 5 tips for choosing the right yoga teacher.
The rise of yoga in Australia has been meteoric in recent years. A 2015 study in the American College of Sports Medicine has found yoga has climbed from 20th to 7th in popularity when looking at fitness trends.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has 1.9% of the Australian population as regularly attending a yoga class which accounts for about 400,000 people in Australia alone.
The reason for this is simple: it works! And, it generally works for most people. But to the uninitiated yoga just seems like a complicated set of stretches by good looking girls in tights. A deeper look and you will find it is so much more than that.
Yoga has its origins in India in the 5th century BC. It began as simple breathing exercises and training of the mind to help connect to the spiritual side of life.
As the practice grew, movements of the body were added and it started to take on the form that resembles modern yoga. Many different forms popped up because one of the mantras of yoga was that whatever you did, it was always supposed to be ‘your practice.’
That is to say, do what you feel you should during the session, not what the teacher is demanding of you.
A review of the literature published by The International Journal of Preventative Medicine in July, 2012 found Yoga had health benefits in many areas including stress, concentration, mood, muscular strength of course flexibility. Science really backs up the regular practice of yoga.
However, during the 80’s as it was being popularised in the west, it became much more focused on the physical side rather than the mental. And this is where the challenge begins for most people.
A quick search and you can now do hatha (traditional), heated, hip hop, aerial, dance, yogalates, yin and many many more. If you are doing heated yoga you can do it really hot (Bikram at above 40), hot (which is 37 degrees) or warm which is anywhere above 25.
I’m getting sweaty just thinking about it!!
So we asked Nadine Eran, who is both a qualified sports physiotherapist and a yoga instructor, from Sum of Us Health studio in Prahran, to help simplify how to choose what to do
‘Well I guess I’m lucky because I see both sides being both a physio and a yoga instructor.
I see people who have body issues whether its tightness and pain, or just general fitness they want to improve, and I also see people who are stressed and overworked who want to try to take a step back.
I think for everybody it is different.
Do These 5 Things:
- Take a moment to figure out why you want to do it? Your reason will help point you in the right direction to finding the right class for you. If its strength and power, try ashtanga. If its gentle stretching, try a yin
- Always enquire by phone first. Most places have online bookings these days which discourage calling up. But I always tell my students to call up and enquire. Try to get a feel for the intensity and focus of the different classes
- If you have an injury, check the qualifications. Unfortunately, not all yoga teachers are equal due to the level of training they have had. Try to find one that has had at least 500 hours of training practice. That is standard for a really good teacher who demonstrates they are passionate about what they do.
- If you are injured, remember to only do what you can cope with. I always like to assess my students but that is because we have the luxury of smaller classes and my physiotherapy training. You can’t always get that particularly as a lot of studios now have really big classes. So remember go at your own pace and listen to your body
- Last but not least try before you buy! Almost all studios will have either free or discounted trial sessions and weeks. Try a few studios and test some different styles – you may just surprise yourself.
You can find much more information on living a holistic lifestyle in these free magazines and on our YouTube channel.
Chris Jellis graduated from Melbourne University as a physiotherapist in 2005. He has successfully created the Domain Health Group, which now has 50 staff across 6 locations and has recently launched the total wellness studio Sum Of Us in Prahran.
At Sum of Us science meets luxurious aesthetics, where eastern philosophy meets western medicine. www.domainhealth.com.au