Dear Yoga Teacher: YOU SUCK!


This is what I wanted to tell the two women who walked out of my class last night. Since I started teaching at Crunch, an increasing number of people have been coming to class. At first I was concerned because the clients were used to meditation and deep breathing, but not much movement. But my classes are classified as ‘Yoga Sculpt’ — which is more of a power flow. You don’t have to be super strong to take the class (I offer modifications), but you do have to be willing to work.

They were not.

The gym recently added an additional yoga class, since they’re starting to get so popular. Last night was the first day of the new class. When the clients started arriving, I knew I’d have to modify my flow. Many of them started the class by declaring ailments, surgeries, and general discomfort. So I tossed out my original plan, and began to wing it with deep breathing and modified stretches.

One woman lasted 5 minutes. In the time it took me to take a full revolution around the room (I will often scan the room to make sure everyone is comfortable and in the right position), she was packed up and out the door. Okay… no worries.

The other woman lasted about 10 minutes longer. But then I asked the class to inhale and lift their right leg…three legged dog

She snorted and mumbled something. I checked to make sure it wasn’t something urgent (pain, discomfort, ect), but she was in the pose and not waving me down for assistance. Okay.

Then I asked them to flip their dog and take Wild Thing…

wild thing pose…and that was it!

She was over it. She slapped her mat together and huffed out the door. Alrighty then!

I kept on with the class because you can’t stop down the whole operation on account of a couple of people. Plus, I had clients in this class that were much older than these two, with 3 times the charisma and desire to TRY. And in the end, that is all I ask. Every pose is not perfect, or comfortable, or something that you’ll get on the first try. That is why it’s called a PRACTICE. You have to keep working at it… working for it. The strength will come. The flexibility will come. It is not the destination, but the JOURNEY that helps you get the most out of your practice.

Now, having said all that… the truth is that I was more than a little disturbed. I’ve only been teaching professionally for a month or so, and my client list has steadily grown. This is the first time I’d been rejected not once… but twice. We’re not supposed to take anything personal, but damn if I was thinking about that at the moment. It’s not so much that I was upset that they might not like the flow… as I was worried that maybe I hadn’t modified/compromised ENOUGH.

There’s a thought. How much do we adjust to cater to the needs of others? Everything isn’t for everybody. My classes aren’t going to be at the top of everyone’s must do list. Logically, I know that. Emotionally, it’s a different story.

Halfway through the class I had everyone come back to Samastitihi and take stock. I joined them.

samastitihi The truth is, those exits threw me off. I was already ‘winging’ the flow to accommodate some of the newer students.  We still had 30 minutes to go… and with or without those women, the rest of the class wanted to know what came next.

So we went through the rest of the class. And at the end, one of my regulars came up and verbally hi-fived me (she may have suspected that I needed it). I was grateful.

I went to bed last night thinking of what I could have done differently. By the time I fell asleep I realized… it didn’t even matter.


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