1. How did your teacher learn yoga?
Most good teachers have attended a certified yoga teacher training program. You should be able to Google the name of the school and verify it is a credible training school. Your teacher should have a biography online. A good teacher will also have a working knowledge of anatomy and should ask you if you have any injuries or disabilities before you start practicing yoga in class.
2. What style and lineage did your teacher learn when training to be a teacher?
When starting yoga, it is a good idea to go with an established yoga style. For example, teachers certified to teach Iyengar yoga have to do some of the most rigorous learning and are teaching one of the most established and highly regarded yoga styles with history and lineage.
The style is important because it should match the style you are learning. A yoga teacher certified in hot power yoga may not have learned the skills to lead a yoga class that is mostly restorative and resting in meditation. The Yoga Alliance (www.yogaalliance.org) certifies teachers as to the level of teacher training. The Yoga Alliance operates in a format that is open to all types of yoga styles, and will certify teachers teaching unusual yoga styles. The Yoga Alliance is a good point of reference, but a new student should understand the history and validity of the style they plan to learn.
3. How much time did your teacher spend learning to teach yoga?
A good yoga teacher trains for at least 200 hours, some as many as 2000 hours. Good teachers are always learning more through attending workshops, reading and training. Be careful if the training program was online or just a weekend. There are many older teachers that learned yoga by being a student with several great teachers and do not have a standard certification. These sort of teachers can be very good and usually have 15 years or more of yoga experience and can articulate very clearly how they learned yoga.
4. How long has your teacher been teaching?
Some new teachers are great, but it is a good idea to find a teacher with more than one year of teaching experience. Or a new teacher who has practiced yoga for more than ten years.
5. What is your teacher’s personal yoga practice? What style? How often?
Almost all good teachers have their own highly evolved yoga practice. They practice often and are an enthusiastic example of the benefits of yoga.