What Does A Yoga Instructor Do?

"I am thinking of making a career shift from being a bank teller to a fitness trainer because I have experienced first-hand the ill-effects of sitting for nearly eight hours straight. I would like to concentrate on becoming a yoga teacher since of all the fitness classes I have taken, I seem to see a lot of improvement in my health with yoga. I see my yoga instructor during classes so I know that teaching students is part of her job. I’d like to know if this is all that she does in this job. What exactly does a yoga instructor do?"

asked by Tammy J. from Kailua, Hawaii

Yoga instructors, together with Pilates instructors, are classified as specialized fitness instructors. Their main job is to show how the moves of a particular exercise are done. They also guide students and correct them when they perform a movement incorrectly. To better understand the job of a yoga instructor, it’s essential to understand what yoga is first. The term “yoga” is translated as “union” and yoga is a practice that seeks to create a union between the body and mind.

Through the use of postures, known as asanas, and proper breathing exercises, called pranayama, yoga instructors help students develop flexibility, strength, balance and peace of mind. Aside from teaching postures and breathing, yoga teachers also teach students meditation and visualization exercises.

Although the most obvious role of a yoga instructor is that of the actual teaching of classes, they also have other responsibilities. They design courses and lesson plans and ensure that these are adapted to the groups that they teach.

For example, the postures taught to pregnant women are not going to be the same as those taught to those in a regular yoga class. It is also the responsibility of yoga instructors to know who the beginners and experienced students in their classes are and tailor the instruction to their needs. They also evaluate the progress of their students and decide if they are ready to advance to more complex movements.

Yoga instructors are also responsible for continually upgrading their knowledge about the exercise and their teaching skills. They could get certification in different kinds of yoga exercises and offer such classes to their students.

They may also provide special classes geared for mothers and babies, pregnant women, children or those with arthritis.

Since yoga instructors can teach groups or individuals, they may also travel to a client’s home during evenings or weekends if this is the arrangement set. They may also teach groups in a sports center located in another part of town.

Yoga instructors who run their own business must also attend to the commercial needs of their endeavor. They also need to check accounts, determine how best to increase enrollment and improve the profitability of the business.

Career Spotlight: Yoga Instructor

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