How to Find a Yoga Instructor

Yoga is typically taught in group classes, although private instruction may be available. Most people find it easier to learn yoga in person from a qualified instructor, but you can also teach yourself from books or videotapes. Yoga has no special requirements for clothes or equipment, just bare feet.

It's recommended that, like meditation, yoga be practiced consistently both in terms of time of day and length of session. An average class is given weekly and lasts about an hour, though shorter sessions can be beneficial if adhered to regularly. You will be expected to practice your routine at home on a daily basis. As with all forms of stress management, consistency and frequency are crucial for obtaining the best results.

There are no standard certification or licensure requirements for yoga instructors. You will need to observe a yoga class before you sign up, looking for a style of teaching and a level of difficulty that appeals to you. Traditionally, the relationship between teacher and student was on a one-to-one basis and taken very seriously by both parties. Advanced yoga practitioners do not take their studies lightly, and at a minimum, a qualified yoga teacher should:

* Remain an active student and in regular contact with his or her own teacher

* Practice yoga postures, breathing, and meditation daily

* Have studied the major yoga texts

* Practice ethical behavior, conduct classes in a responsible and safe manner, and give each student individual attention.

* Abstain from smoking, alcohol abuse, and drug use, and follow a healthy diet

* Have training in basic anatomy and the physical effects of yoga techniques, and the ability to tailor practices according to each student's ability and possible medical restrictions

* Separate yoga from religion, and never impose his or her own personal beliefs on a student

To find yoga instructors in your area, check:

Your yellow pages
Local gyms and health clubs
YMCA/YWCA
Massage therapists
Alternative healing clinics
Local health food stores
Continuing education classes

A number of reputable yoga schools certify their graduates, and the associations below can supply a list of recognized schools and/or classes in your area.

American Yoga Association
Sarasota, FL
Phone: 941-927-4977

International Association of Yoga Therapists
Santa Rosa, CA
Phone: 707-566-9000

You can also check:

Yoga Finder (names and addresses of yoga teachers, studios, retreats, and conferences, etc.)

Yoga Teacher Directory (names and addresses of participating Yoga teachers in the United States)

Quest Yoga Studio, New Hampshire - Karen Anne Kenney, the studio owner and an instructor, has a special interest in yoga for IBS. Karen also serves as a moderator on the Yoga for IBS Message Board.

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