Not all yoga courses are created equal

Learning yoga is like learning a new language. You wouldn’t sign up for a language course without first deciding which language you want to learn, right?

Do your yoga homework

To decide which language to learn, you need to consider: what is your goal?

Do you want to go to Italy or Japan? There is no point in learning Italian if you really want to go to Japan.

And yet most people choose a yoga class based not on the yoga style, but on convenience, location or cost – with little or no consideration of what style is on offer.

If you have previously learned a little Italian, then you may be more inclined to study Italian than Japanese, simply because it is familiar to you. If you want to stay with what is familiar, then find an Italian teacher.

But if you want to learn Japanese, you need a Japanese language teacher. And if you decide on the Japanese class, be prepared to start your learning from the beginning again – it is, after all, a completely different language.

A woman and 2 girls practising yoga on a beach. Sitting in the lotus position

Different yoga styles are often unrelated

Likewise with different yoga styles – they can be completely unrelated to one another. Previous learning in one style may even be contradictory to another style.

For example if you have done a lot of Bikram or hot yoga, and then you come along to a Hatha, Restorative and Ashtanga class, you will need to ‘unlearn’ what you think yoga is all about.

You will be learning very different attitudes of gentle non-competitive practice, self-awareness and compassionate self-acceptance – along with new skills in co-ordination, mental focus, breathing, relaxation and meditation.

Consider what you want to achieve from yoga?

Before you enrol in a new yoga course, think about what you want to achieve, and research what style and teacher will help you to meet your goals.

For example, do you want to become super fit and flexible, or are you more concerned with managing your stress levels? And if you’d like some additional advice on dealing with stress, you can read more here.

Perhaps you are looking for a form of yoga that you can practise with your children?

Do you want more muscle definition, or do you want to become more connected within yourself?

Is your priority being able to perform difficult poses, or becoming a healthier, happier person?

Are you looking for ‘flow’ both in and outside your yoga classroom?

Do you have a physical or mental health condition that may be helped or hindered by certain practices? Is your teacher able to accommodate your specific needs? Perhaps your unique needs require an individualised approach?

Yoga Qualifications

Most yoga students are unaware that yoga is an unregulated industry.

Yoga teaching qualifications vary from between 100 hours to 1400+ hours in duration, with corresponding variation in the knowledge, experience and skills of yoga teachers.

It is important to ask your teacher about their qualifications, and also to ensure they are members of Yoga Australia, the national peak body that accredits yoga teachers.

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