What is more important – the מורת יוגה teacher or the style of Yoga being taught? Firstly, you should research the nine major styles of Yoga: Bhakti, Hatha, Jnana, Karma, Kundalini, Mantra, Raja, Tantra, and Yantra Yoga. Then, make a choice as to which path of Yoga you would like to pursue.
Seek out a Yoga teacher or Guru, in your preferred style, for guidance. If this is not possible, due to distance or time, you should do a lot more Yoga reading. When visiting a bookstore or library, browse through the Yoga books for the one that “draws you in.”
If you choose to study Hatha Yoga, or a Hatha Yoga sub-style, the first book I would personally recommend is, “The Heart of Yoga, Developing a Personal Practice,” by T.K.V. Desikachar. T.K.V. Desikachar trained many of today’s modern Yoga masters, and this one book will help anyone develop their own routine.
Notice that I have not recommended a DVD. Why is that? Although Yoga DVD’s are very informative, some people get hurt practicing Hatha Yoga, while watching a DVD at the same time. It is not uncommon to hear that a beginning Yoga student was injured at home while practicing Yoga with a DVD.
The truth is – DVD’s are great learning tools for Yoga teachers, Yoga teacher interns, and Yoga teacher training sessions. Until a “holographic Yoga teacher” is developed to guide and assist you, in your own home, reading is much safer.
If you have been reading and practicing for six months, a beginner or gentle Yoga DVD should be fine, but please watch it, at least once, before attempting to do any Yoga technique. There is nothing wrong with watching a Yoga DVD a few times and taking notes before attempting any Yoga technique.
When you read, envision, and understand a Yoga technique, it will be much safer on your first attempt. Many of us are impatient and want to learn everything at once. In Yoga, this will never happen. In fact, one life is just not enough time to learn everything there is to know about Yoga.
Let’s look at options for learning Yoga from a Yoga teacher in your area. How do you choose a local Yoga teacher that is right for you? If you have done your research, you know what style of Yoga that you are interested in; but what should you be looking for in a Yoga teacher?
A Yoga teacher should be ethical, compassionate, understanding, and have time for your questions. Your religious ideas should not be challenged in a Yoga class. You should not be required to make drastic lifestyle changes.