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What does a Yoga Instructor do?

By Erin Oxendine
Updated Jan 21, 2024
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A yoga instructor uses yoga to help clients feel better physically and mentally. Yoga is a series of exercises and breathing applications that improve a person's posture, flexibility, and strength. Most instructors are skilled in different types of yoga and often teach private and group classes.

One of the main responsibilities a yoga instructor has is to teach yoga to students. Instructors may teach beginner's classes which focus on developing an individual yoga style and avoiding injury. Some of the basic moves the instructor performs in this class are the Cat Cow Stretch and the Downward Facing Dog. The instructor will also assist students with poses to make sure that the participant has the correct form and does not get hurt.

Sometimes the yoga instructor will mix up basic yoga with other exercises such as Pilates and toning. This is typically an advanced class and instructors may offer it to individuals who already know the fundamentals of yoga. In this session, the teacher will help students to focus on specific muscles, improve balance, and learn how to do deep stretches. Instructors also modify exercises for students who have medical conditions such as back pain or knee injuries.

Many athletes also look to yoga instructors for conditioning advice and to get exercises to reduce muscle pain. A yoga instructor may recommend stretches for the hamstrings or the lower back. Teachers might also show athletes calming poses to do before a stressful event to make the athlete less tense.

Generally, yoga studios will offer specialty classes if there are enough interested students. One such class the yoga instructor might teach is a hot flow yoga class. This type of yoga is taught in a heated room under strict supervision of the teacher. Instructors believe that the moisture from the heat increases the body's metabolism, improves circulation, and releases impurities from the body. One of the tasks that a yoga instructor is to ask the pupils if they have any medical conditions that may be adversely affected by the hot temperature.

Most yoga teachers also have backgrounds in other areas relating to physical and mental health. Teachers who own their own facilities typically will offer classes on nutrition, personal development, and life skills. The yoga instructor may teach classes out of a building that also doubles as a spa or wellness center. In addition to yoga sessions, teachers at private resorts often host weekend retreats or specialized workshops for couples. Certified yoga instructors may hold training classes for individuals who are interested in learning how to teach yoga.

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Discussion Comments

By fBoyle — On Apr 02, 2014

My yoga instructor is excellent. I have a back injury and she tells me specifically which poses are safe for me and gives me support accessories during the session to avoid injury.

By ysmina — On Apr 02, 2014

@ZipLine-- Unfortunately, not every yoga instructor is a good instructor. Yoga has become very popular and because of the demand, more and more people are becoming instructors. Some are more qualified than the others.

I suggest only taking yoga classes at trustworthy establishments. If it's possible to read reviews or speak to current students before taking a class with a yoga instructor, do so. And I hope that you told that establishment about how the instructor hurt you because I don't think that instructor is qualified to teach.

A good instructor should always put the safety and comfort of the clients first. He or she should be patient and gentle when teaching a student how to do a pose. Moreover, it is important for a yoga instructor to remain professional.

By ZipLine — On Apr 01, 2014

I went to a hot yoga session last week and it was not a very pleasant experience. It was extremely hot in the room and I was having a difficult time doing the yoga poses because of the heat. The yoga instructor came up to me and attempted to straighten out my leg while I was in the middle of a pose and hurt my leg. I did not say anything because I was surprised and not sure what to do. When we got out of the class, I was totally red, wet and unhappy. I'm never doing hot yoga again.

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