Marginal a few years ago, yoga is now experiencing a global boom and France is no exception. If this trend of well-being is necessary in a world where everything is going at a thousand miles an hour, practices and centers are multiplying to the point of asking concretely how to identify a good yoga class. Claire Marion-Chanlon at the head of the Prana Yoga center in Normandy and yogis of all levels give us their opinions.
Difficult to quantify the number of yoga practitioners but a private study conducted by Union Sport Cycle (an association of sports professionals) and the yoga application Oly.Be revealed in 2019 that France had around 2.6 million yogis against 1.8 million in 2017. A sport halfway with meditation whose exponential figures say a lot about the need to breathe while talking. Because if the vast majority take courses in a center with a teacher, all (83%) first seek to relieve stress against more than half (65%) who aim to take care of their body. And because this varied discipline encompasses the physical and the mental, the cursor remains very variable to know if a particular course is good. “Yoga is above all a personal journey which requires a certain rigour but whose feelings are so subjective that there will be as many opinions as there are yogis”, tries to unravel Claire.
Yoga, have a good training
Unlike more conventional sports, yoga can be taught to a greater or lesser extent by everyone. “It is not flexibility or physical prowess with incredible postures that count but the sincere and almost lifelong commitment of a teacher or a student,” says Claire. Nevertheless, training in France and retirements around the world are essential. For example, the National Federation of Yoga Teachers (FNEY) offers state-recognized training that lasts four years and the Federation Yoga Alliance delivers training and diplomas on a 200-hour basis. “Personally, I was trained by two totally different but complementary teachers for more than 200 hours, explains Claire before continuing: in addition to these necessary hours, there is a real personal path to be made because yoga is not only a physical practice it is also and above all a mental and spiritual development “.
In addition to the training required to deliver a class properly, the FNEY site has sought to define what a quality yoga class is: “(…) A global and experimental approach which is based on a set of specific techniques and which refers to the tradition of India. (…) Practicing postures and breathing in a state of relaxation and concentration with awareness and respect for the limits of one’s body leads to self-management of one’s physical and psychic potential. The effects are reflected first of all in well-being, greater availability, and better efficiency in action. Yoga as we teach it is not wisdom, but a preparation for wisdom. It is open to all forms of spirituality and religion. The yoga teacher acquires a skill within the framework of a school specifically structured for the transmission of this discipline “. So many theoretical criteria supposed to deliver an effective yoga class.
Consideration of the student and the teacher as a whole
“To find a good teacher, it also works by word of mouth. When I opened my center, I first called on teachers whom I was close to and whose background I already knew and practice. So no need for me to test them in the proper sense. On the other hand, when I had to recruit new people, I took the time to discuss their history, their training, their (s) trip (s)… I then let several days or even weeks pass between our meetings. pedagogy”.
If instinct is in order, it is impossible for Claire to hire a person who seeks to put himself forward or who swears by the photos of postures to be published on social networks. “Everything is to be taken into account: the sequence of asanas, the fluidity, the correction of postures, the attention but also the vocabulary mainly in Sanskrit. But again, it depends on the stories of each one. A teacher from India can very well to give his classes and his names of postures in English, that will not make him a bad person! “.
The students for their part are categorical: “There are so many teachers and kinds of yoga that it becomes almost maddening, some classes are useless because nothing is transmitted or corrected, we leave as we entered! A class is failed when the practice was superficial when the teacher was not involved with his students when you did not feel anything and that you did not manage to disconnect in my opinion “, testifies Stéphanie, 33 years old. And Stephan, 43, adds: “The teacher must be benevolent and not let his ego speak. For me, it is important that he presents himself at the start of the course and recalls the conditions (type, of course, duration, silence, respect for oneself and others…). He must also be vigilant and be equipped (him or the room) with materials adapted to the practice ”.
The importance of a welcoming yoga room
Once the teacher has been found, the place has all its role in the well-being of the student and its good practice: “I like lessons where there is space, where there are few and I prefer teachers who put on music. It helps me get away from it all, “ explains Laura, 31 years old. And Stephan adds: “The room must be welcoming as well as the teacher inviting the sharing of vibrations!”. A room does not need to be the copy of a sanctuary but the good circulation of energies – whether in a center or at home – is not to be neglected. Likewise, equipment is inevitable: mats, bricks, straps and proper attire are the foundation for a class to run in the best possible way.
Try multiple courses
Trying out different courses before finding the right one doesn’t mean there are more bad teachers than good ones. On the contrary, it is part of a personal journey specific to each yogi. By dint of practice and confidence, both the teacher and the student are able to know what works or (he) likes. This is the case of Laura who knew, by force, what she liked: “I mainly practice Vinyasa yoga because I need, even though I love soft disciplines, that it be intense. I want to leave the room feeling like I have worked my muscles deeply. For me, a good lesson is therefore when you manage to combine psychic relaxation and muscle strengthening.A good teacher is one who transmits his passion without being overly directive, who puts you back and above all does not play too much the card of the guru perched with phrases of great philosophy tossed every two minutes during class. It can have the opposite effect on me and strain me until the lesson is over. “
So, as universal as the practice of yoga is, its approach remains very personal and unique. Everyone is free to experiment to define what suits them.