Incorporating yoga – where and who. Yoga is being taught in yoga studios, hospitals, complimentary medicine clinics, schools, businesses, churches, athletic clubs and community centers and has become popular with both the younger and older generations. Classes can be offered to people who are fit as well as to people who are physically ill. It is especially attractive to “boomers” who want to be active but are no longer interested in exercises that jar the bones, muscles and joints.
How to get started. It’s best to join a yoga class to get off to a great start. Be sure to select a qualified teacher and a class that fits your needs. Ask what yoga props may be needed. Props may include a yoga mat, block, strap, blanket, etc.
Selecting a yoga teacher. The Yoga Alliance has identified minimum training standards for teachers and registers them at the 200 and 500-hour level. Certification courses exist for yoga teachers. Unfortunately, these courses have different standards and some are better than others. Here are some recommendations to consider when choosing a teacher for yourself or to teach a class for clients.
1. What are his/her qualifications?
2. How long has s/he been teaching?
3. Is s/he registered? Certified? When? By whom? Length of training?
4. Does s/he practice what s/he preaches? A good role model?
5. Who are his/her references?
6. Are classes gentle or vigorous?
7. Is emphasis placed on physical alignment? Meditation? Philosophy and spirituality? Geared toward special populations?
8. What is the class format?
In summary, Hatha yoga can be considered the “original wellness program” because it incorporates so many principles and practices found in wellness and mind/body programs today. Yoga can be enjoyed throughout a lifetime by a wide range of people.
Adapted from an article entitled Incorporating Yoga in Health Promotion by Julie Lusk. Originally published in Wellness Management, Volume 14, Number 1, Spring, 1998.