With over 36 million Americans now doing yoga on a regular basis, there are lots of studios offering all kinds of classes. Finding someone who knows the westernized version of yoga is fairly easy. Finding an experienced and trained yoga guru to practice under is another thing entirely.
Since yoga’s popularity exploded about 15 years ago, it’s been fit into every kind of box. There are yoga classes that operate the way CrossFit does, there are yoga classes where you drink, and even people advocating yoga with dogs. Yet most of these concepts get away from the original spiritual guidance that yoga is intended to bring.
If you’re interested in yoga for it’s meditative, healing, and spiritual elements, you may be in search of a qualified yoga guru. Follow these four steps to ensure your guru is what you’re looking for.
1. Ask For Qualifications
There’s a standard 200-hour Yoga Alliance Registered training that most teachers go through. While you could just ask for this certification, it won’t tell you much. Just like searching for a personal trainer, you need to read between the line.
It’s their more advanced training that will help you expand your own practice. Check out the website of the studio where they teach. Often you’ll find a detailed description of their qualifications and their teaching style there.
Find a teacher who has been studying for years, who has traveled, and who has studied with people who you find to be impressive. Anyone can complete an exam. Not everyone has a passion for yoga like the most experienced teachers.
2. Prepare Yourself
If you’re still new to yoga, make sure you’ve studied enough to feel comfortable with terms and positions. When you’re considering working with a teacher, you can learn a lot by taking a beginner’s class with them. You’ll also get to know whether or not you’re ready to go to the next level.
While there are classes for “all levels”, this is usually a strange mix for a beginner or an advanced student. The teacher will try to get a read on what people want in general and typically more experienced students will know what to ask for.
3. Get Feedback From Friends
If you’ve found some gurus you think you might like, ask friends or other people in their classes. See what kinds of details they can tell you about how they like working with that guru.
Posting on social media is never a bad idea when you’re looking for feedback. There will be some experienced people who will come out of the woodwork with some very helpful suggestions.
4. Shop Around
There’s nothing wrong with seeing multiple gurus when you start. Every guru has strengths and weaknesses and no guru should make you feel guilty for seeking guidance from someone else.
If you want to get an expanded experience with more spiritual guidance, you can talk to the guru and see if they offer a variety of services. If you need someone who offers different healing services, make sure you know what you’re looking for. If you want to pursue chakra balancing, read more about chakra balancing here.
Finding A Yoga Guru Is Part Of Your Journey
Once you begin your search, you’ll realize that the search is part of the process. Each guru you speak to will teach you something new. By the time you find the right guru, you’ll know it in your heart.
If you’re looking for more ideas for expanding your yoga practice, check out our guide to finding relaxing retreats.