How to Hire and Evaluate Yoga Instructors

How to Hire and Evaluate Yoga Instructors

by Beth Shaw | 9/06/2015

Hiring the right yoga instructor can make the difference between a good yoga program and a great one.


Yoga is more popular than ever - Why? Yoga provides a total body workout that enhances strength, cardiovascular conditioning, balance and flexibility. It also enhances one’s body awareness, increasing physical control and facilitating body mastery.  Because it involves a highly comprehensive and integrated approach, yoga produces a longer, leaner and more graceful physique. Yoga also helps reduce stress, tension and fatigue through its mindful, often-fluid movement and deep breathing focus.  If Instructors are not attuned to the UNIQUE needs of the fitness club environment and members , injuries can occur. Traditional yoga does not really exist anymore in the United States but Fitness Styles of Yoga are appropriate for fitness clubs – it's really simple.


What is safe yoga?  Safe Yoga differs from traditional yoga in that the postures link in a fluid heat building way.  Breath is linked with movement, heating the body naturally and organically. Rest  is encouraged when necessary and warm ups are crucial as fitness rooms are often cold.  Warm up the body completely with large moves prior to engaging in any complex or flexibility oriented poses.


Fitness movesare incorporated such as sit-ups and push-ups, lunge and hold.  Transitions are smooth,  from pose to pose with a full body workout focus; all body parts are worked equally.  Modifications and levels are offered to suit the needs of several different students at different levels in the room.  Instructors speak in terms of "OR, EITHER, MODIFY", encouraging students to take breaks or shift for more comfort. They let go of expectations, judgment and competition to avoid pushing students past their limits. Instructors are never to make aggressive physical adjustments to their students.


Group fitness instructors can embark by initially incorporating yoga postures into their already existing classes; step, spin, kick box and aerobics.  This provides an opportunity to get comfortable with a few basic postures. Hiring a safe yoga instructor is key. Instructors should all have a qualified primary fitness certification like ACE.


Questions to ask your potential instructor:


Before hiring a yoga teach, ask these key questions:

1.   Are you aware of the ACSM/ ACE Safety Guidelines of Contraindications?

2.    Are you aware of how these relate to Yoga?

3.    Have you been through a formal Yoga Teacher Training- RYT 200 Hour Program?

4.    Are you comfortable DOING the postures?

5.    Are you comfortable TEACHING the postures?

6.    Do you have a regular yoga practice?

7.    Why do you teach?

8.    Do you participate in ongoing yoga trainings?


Auditioning your potential instructors for things like vocal tone, attention to detail, verbal/visual cues and emphasizing on offering modifications is key. Remember a quality yoga program has special needs.  Yoga Mats, adjustable lighting, wood floors and a comfortable temp between 70-80 degrees is preferable.


Good luck on your search for a great instructor!




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