Why You Should Not Listen to Your Yoga Instructor

3 min read

There are thousands of gifted yoga teachers! There are many opportunities to learn from inspiring and knowledgeable yoga teachers, whether we attend a class in New York, CA, pe Town, or Berlin.

Sometimes, their approaches are so diverse that we feel as if we were doing an asana we normally do for the first. What a great feeling!

Here are three reasons why listening to your teacher’s words and relying on their experience or motivation is not the best option.


We may both have the same body type, but our needs are very different. It doesn’t matter if a teacher tells you to “do your Chaturanga”; it does not mean that’s what’s best for you.

Even if she tells you to do it, the exercise may not build up strength and instead hurt your shoulder joint. Am I telling you to stop trying? NO.

If you feel that the 10th Chaturanga has a negative effect on your elbows or shoulders, stop immediately and go back to the good old chest, knees, and chin down, and come up in Cobra. Same journey, but less wear and tear.


Yoga often talks about how to tune in to the body’s intelligence. Your breath is a great way to do this. What do you do if the teacher walks you through whole sequences, telling you exactly when to breathe in and out?

It’s a tough one because synchronicity is good for the class, right? When I realized that I was actually lowering my voice to “get with it,” I thought at first I had to keep up, or I would be disrupting the class. Once again, I was wrong.

If you need to, “skip” the round by assuming a child’s pose or taking an extra breath. Same sequence, but it’s less hectic.


Teachers have learned how to give alignment cues that will help students get the most out of the pose. You might want to lift your eyes in a triangle pose to get a cue to look upwards. Anyone with neck pain can attest that looking up in this position can cause a lot of tension in the neck muscles.

In such cases, it is better to look straight ahead or downward. With all due respect for Iyengar and the correct anatomy of yoga, if you are enjoying your practice rather than trying to fit in or obey, you will not only be safe, but you will keep coming back to it! Same pose with less tension.

What if I am new to yoga or if my alignment is not that great? Here are some questions you should ask yourself.

  • Do I feel stable or not?
  • What is the quality of my breath as I enter and exit a pose?
  • Does the pain go beyond that caused by muscle lengthening?

We appreciate it when you respect yoga teachers, but even more so when you respect yourself. This shows that you understand one of the core principles of yoga – love your body.

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