Ultimately, yoga is something only you can do. Nobody else will do your breathing or asanas (yoga poses) for you. You are the most important factor in learning about yoga.
This is why yoga instructors are immensely important when learning yoga. With the right guide, you can make faster progress with their expert advice, and you can get motivated when you feel like you have reached your limit. On the other hand, learning the breathing or posture incorrectly, will not only reduce progress, it might even damage your health.
Yoga instructors play an important role. Before asking someone to be your instructor, it would be best if you make a checklist first. The following questions may help you narrow down the candidates and let you get the one most fitting for you.
- Is the instructor licensed?
Find out first if they have any certifications. For Bikram yoga, one needs to have a license to be an instructor, or at least have completed nine weeks of training. For power yoga, no licenses are needed.
- Is the instructor calm and approachable?
Yoga nurtures patience and mindfulness, so the instructer you choose should have these qualities.
- Do they give specific advice?
Giving specific advice shows their depth of teaching skills, and professionalism. Do they ask you to breathe in, or do they ask you to feel the air coming inside your body? Do they correct you? While simple is always the best, sometimes simple and short is not good enough.
The above questions are related to their knowledge of yoga and teaching. The most important factor however, is whether you are comfortable with them. It is easier to gain knowledge rather than change personality. Try to have a person who is good at both, rather than excelling at one and lacking on the other.