Finding the Right Yoga Teacher


Want to practice Yoga but don’t know how to pick a Yoga teacher right for you? This “CALM” check list will help you to find the right Yoga teacher for you.

The following is the “CALM check list.” This checklist is a basic criterion that your Yoga teacher should meet before you continue on to a second Yoga class with them.

C.A.L.M gets its name from four main factors: Communication, Assist, Listen, and Modification. For the right Yoga teacher, you should be answering with a “yes” to all questions.

  • Communication: Does your Yoga teacher talk to you, and other students, in a manner of mutual respect? Can you ask a question during class time?

Does your teacher show compassion for you and other students? Does your Yoga teacher take the time to lead you through a guided meditation or relaxation? Meditation and relaxation are major aspects of Yoga practice.

There are Yoga teachers who just want to get “their workout” done. Beware of Yoga teachers who are so busy that they don’t have time for you.

If you want to learn Yoga, you need an open line of communication with your Yoga teacher.

  • Assist: Does your teacher care about your form? Will your teacher give you a verbal or physical assist during your Yoga class?

Some students never have major problems with alignment and some do, but if your teacher doesn’t give verbal cues, what does that tell you?

  • Listen: Does your Yoga teacher take the time to listen to your feedback? Is your teacher “in the moment” with the class?

Once in a while, there is a Yoga instructor who runs, “The-it’s-all-about-me-show.” You are not going to learn anything from this type of teaching. Beginners will be put at risk, trying to keep up with a seasoned Yoga teacher who doesn’t explain anything.

  • Modification: Does your Yoga teacher allow modifications and props? If your teacher discourages props, you are in the wrong place.

Some students will need props, especially so for some beginners and those who have limited range of motion. Just because a teacher can do a posture without props, doesn’t mean every student can.

Some students crave “the stern, but loving parent” types. They will push you harder, but how much pushing do you really need? You want a Yoga teacher who encourages you out of your comfort zone, without being overly pushy that could cause unnecessary injuries.

Respect is a two way street, and you deserve as much respect as your Yoga teacher does. Let common sense be your guide. You should feel good after a Yoga class, and you maybe even feel muscle soreness days after a vigorous class.


Jill Paschal
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By Jill Paschal

Jill Paschal is a yoga teacher who has a genuine love for people. She has a true passion for yoga on and off her mat which results in her compassion for others and all living creatures. Jill lives in Orange County, California with her husband Patelli and their Chihuahua Cookie.