Should You Always Listen To Your Yoga Teacher?

I was visiting family in California recently so had the chance to practice at a nearby Bikram yoga studio. I had been to this studio before and always enjoyed my classes there. This time was no different, except that the teacher was giving me corrections that I did not understand. I usually enjoy learning from new teachers and am open to all sorts of adjustments, but this time it just felt wrong. I did not know how to do what she was asking me to do or even what exactly she was asking me to try.

I felt uncomfortable so I decided to disregard her comments and continue on with my practice as is. It felt strange doing so. She did not seem to be bothered by it, so I relaxed, but it got me thinking — should you always listen to a yoga teacher when he or she gives you a correction?


I have been practicing regularly at my studio for more than seven years and am lucky that I know many of the teachers there. And they know me and my practice. When I get corrections from them, I feel confident that they are made with a deep knowledge of what they think I can safely do.

I always implement these adjustments to the best of my ability and try to incorporate their tips into my daily practice. I often think of the teacher by name as I make the correction in future classes, saying a quick thank you in my mind for the improvement. If I don’t understand what they mean, I can always ask them at the next class.

Sometimes an unfamiliar teacher will see something new — a small detail in the way my hips are aligned or in the angle of my shoulders that can change a posture for the better. These new corrections are fascinating and always appreciated. I try to incorporate these as best as I can too.

To their credit, most teachers say that the yogi knows his or her body best, and if a correction does not make sense or feel safe, to ignore it. Only we can know if the pain is merely a stretch or something sharper. Or if we have an undisclosed injury or condition. Or if we had a really rough weekend.

We need to trust ourselves, and if the correction doesn’t work for us today or feel appropriate in some way, we should ignore it. I am glad I did.

Readers, do you always listen to your yoga teachers?

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4 thoughts on “Should You Always Listen To Your Yoga Teacher?

  1. I agree with you. I love getting feedback from yoga teachers and find the newer the teacher is to me, the more feedback they generally give. I know from teacher trainings that students are told to limit corrections, but I still love getting them, but sometimes its difficult to just understand what is being asked. Especially when its 105 deg, you’re bent over with your head to your knee and sweat is pooling in your nose. Lol. I love to ask them after class more specifics as I just didn’t get it at the time.


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