Help us find a Yoga guru


I am a HR Manager for a financial institution and my boss has asked me to arrange to have a yoga teacher come in once a week and do a relaxation class with staff at our Head Office as a means to help with managing stress and work-life balance. My problem is this I have no real idea where to start, which style is best, or what kind of teacher I should get? Can you help?

Suzanne, London

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Jon Denoris's Answer:

Holistic fitness is now firmly established in the fitness community, with more and more people getting hooked. But for the beginner, I agree that it can appear incredibly confusing, with so many different types and methods. That means that it can be hard to know which one works best, why are there so many schools and where to begin.

So here's how I would approach this.

Determine your organisation's goals: Yoga can help with strength, flexibility, balance and improved breathing and posture. It can also be explored as a philosophy, or spiritual discipline, talk to your staff, decide which approach would suit them best, this will help narrow down the choice.

Consider the different types available: The physical component of Yoga called Hatha, consists of various poses and breathing techniques that prepare the body for stillness. There are numerous types of Hatha Yoga:

  • Ashtanga (power) yoga is very vigorous, with acrobatic style movements – I think this suits intermediate level exercisers rather than beginners.
  • Iyengar is a detailed, technically demanding style of Yoga that challenges participants to perform postures with great precision.
  • Bikram yoga is performed in a heated environment (upto 50°c) I am not a big fan of this style to be perfectly honest but hey!
  • Viniyoga, Kripalu and Ananda are less detailed and suited more to beginners and novices looking for relaxation and stretching.

Consider how and where you want to take your yoga: If your goals are primarily fitness related, then you may want to take yoga at a fitness facility. For more in-depth teaching from "guru's" (be careful!) look for an ashram or studio that is dedicated entirely to Yoga. For individualized attention seek a Personal Trainer who can come out to your office.

Consider you physical limitations: Ensure staff check with their GP's before starting a class. Certain conditions may mean avoiding postures or adapting techniques, ensure your teacher is sensitive to your requirements and understands the implications of, for example, teaching yoga to people who have high blood pressure (not uncommon for busy managers!!)

Check the credentials and experience of your teacher: they should demonstrate a commitment to safety, professionalism and ongoing development. Are they suitably insured, ask for evidence.

Ask lots of questions

Listen to your body: during the class do not force or strain in order to keep up with the instructor or other participants, and be wary of teachers that encourage you to do so.

Discuss your experience with your instructor: Inform them if certain postures were uncomfortable for you, they should offer explanations and alternatives

Try a variety of classes: don't worry of a certain style isn't right for you, persevere until you find the right approach and instructor with whom you feel you have developed rapport.

Be patient: mastering yoga takes time, so don't be discouraged if you do not learn as quickly as you would like. The ore you practice the more you will come to realise the many benefits of this discipline.


About our Expert

Jon Denoris
Jon Denoris

Jon Denoris MSc CISSN is a Wellness Coach and Nike Master Trainer. He owns Club51, a bespoke health & wellbeing studio in central London, and is the author of the forthcoming book The Pop Up Gym, published by Bloomsbury.