When You Don't Have a Yoga Teacher
No doubt, having a yoga teacher who inspires and encourages you is a blessing. But, contrary to the old saying, sometimes the teacher just doesn’t appear – even when the student is ready!
If you’re fortunate enough to live in an area that offers several yoga studios and different yoga teachers and you still have not found someone to work with (and you’ll know because you’ll look forward to joining that class, even at an hour that’s not your favorite time) then it may be time for you to commit to an at-home practice, or find a yoga buddy and alternate meeting at each other’s home with yoga DVDs and music.
There is a more profound shift that happens when it’s just you and the mat. You listen to what your body needs, you can move more organically. You won’t be distracted by tracking what others are doing in class and you can establish your own tempo. Music helps a lot here, so choose according to time of day and what effect you want from your session-relaxing or invigorating.
The main concern for yoga practitioners, especially for beginners, is if you are doing the asana postures “correctly.” Having a visual like a picture or video helps with any questions about placement of hands and feet and advice on protecting your back. But most important is your own intention: why are you doing the practice?
Have the same loving kindness toward yourself that you would expect from a beloved teacher. If you intend to hurt yourself by pushing too hard, punish yourself for not exercising regularly or if you’ll be criticizing your every move; then you are not doing the practice “correctly.”
Ultimately, any outside teacher is only as good as they can lead you back to yourself.