Sangha Session 1: "What qualities do you find the most important in a teacher?"


This is our first Sangha Session - community dialogues that help us learn more about you and help you reach out to us with things that matter. They will take place every second week. Let us know what you think about our first Sangha Session question!

“What qualities do you find the most important in a teacher?”


Calm demeanor, slowly talks student through the posture


Good question! There are so many… here are a few of my faves…

Clear instructions - particularly important for online classes where I may not necessarily be looking at the laptop screen, so rely more on verbal cues. This also relates to sensations to internalise thoughts, as well as breathing cues too.

Friendly & welcoming - always important in my book. In an online context this is all the more important where a teachers manner can make them seem as though they are connecting with their students even though they’re not in the same room. Teachers like Fiji and Melissa are great at this!

Encouragement - practicing yoga is so much about uncovering more about yourself from inside out. Deeply rooted ways of doing things can slow progress and that mental barrier can be difficult to overcome through the physical body. So seeing a teacher practice poses in a way that is safe, offers alternatives as progressions ans demonstsrates that anything is possible can be empowering, enlightening and inspirational to students.


Thank you, miss_tbtwo. It sounds like you enjoy slower-paced classes.


Great, @Rbr3003. Those are very important qualities, I agree. We find the clarity is particularly crucial for online instruction, since there may not be others to refer to, as you would at a studio, and we aren’t sure if the student is able to comfortably look at the screen at any one point during the class.


My favorite teachers, both here and in studios- are those that come up with creative sequencing- finding new ways to approach familiar poses. I also appreciate classes that are accessible to multiple levels— so if the peak pose is really just beyond me at that moment in time, the instructor gives ideas for what to do during that time that are more approachable and still work towards similar goals. Tracey is very good at this. (She often says, “If your’e happy here, stay. If you’d like to go deeper…” On this website, I appreciate the classes that really pack a lot in in a short period of time. I use Do Yoga With Me when I don’t have time for a full studio class, and I appreciate the ones just chock full of juiciness. Thank you all!!!


Yes, to keep from over heating physically and mentally; no matter what posture is being worked on.

__Tammy Harpin__


I think it’s invaluable to be instructed by someone who offers great cues to keep students well aligned/safe in poses. Relaxing voice is a plus, but not always required.


Joyful ness! I find it inspiring.


I agree with the “clarity” comments - it’s important for me to take online classes with teachers who are able to give clear cues that make sense and at the same time acknowledge different body types. I know that’s really difficult, but teachers like Fiji and Christa do a really good job with that. I want to know how and where I can modify a pose if I need to.

I also really appreciate teachers who are constantly coming up with new and creative sequencing so that it’s not always the same prep poses for the peak poses.

Basically, creativity and clarity are the most important things for me!


I think the most important qualities are compassion, being able to talk the poses through cearly, not going too fast as watching a video and being in a class personally is a bit different. Also extending a quality of calm - Fiji does this well. I really enjoy her classes. I’m new and haven’t seen other teachers yet so that’s why I’ve only mentioned her. I’m sure there are many wonderful teachers here.


I like it when there’s some historical / spiritual background but it’s left for the beginning or the end of the class in case some people are not interested.

Also, that the teacher can manage several levels of difficulty or body types in one session.


Knowledge of the body. I find many beginner teachers struggle with understanding how different people’s bodies limitations. With this knowledge, I appreciate when my instructor provides multiple cues how to do the pose properly and modifications necessary to get the most benefit from a pose. For instance a triangle pose… crunching the waist and twisting your body to touch the floor looses the entire purpose of this pose. Cues can be all the difference for a student to enjoy, access and experience a pose. It also helps prevent injuries. Cues regarding alignment and purpose of a pose are appreciated. This is ever important in an online class, particularly a vinyasa class that may be moving at a fast pace.


I like it when teachers tell you the point of a pose, not just how to get there…because sometimes you can follow the cues but still be missing the fact that your core is supposed to be engaged or that you are supposed to be stretching your quad…I once had an amazing teacher that talked about what your feet were supposed to be doing in every pose…it brought me so much awareness to my feet that at the end of the class, I realized my feet were the part of my body that had been working the hardest that entire class!! Other teachers have done something similar with the core…telling you when you are supposed to be feeling or which body parts are supposed to be supporting the pose really makes it so you don’t just camp out in the shape of a pose but miss all the benefits!