Have you ever been in a yoga class where you wondered if you could sneak out without anyone noticing?
If you have, did you sneak out or did you stay and why?
This morning I didn't have a lot of time but felt like I needed a yoga class. I decided to try a new class close to my home. The instructor begins her class with what I would consider an intention. She says that we should try to look for the good in everything. She said something to the effect that even when there's a new student in the class rather than seeing all the things he/she can't do we should find something good - like "I like her shirt".
She takes requests from the students. (there were 6 regulars and me) Handstand, someone suggests. Great idea she says, we'll do inversions! Oh God ....... this must be act 2 of the comedy lila (Divine play) called my life.
The class begins immediately with standing poses and it's not long before I realize that this is going to be acrobatic yoga. Okay, so I am stuck in the corner with no escape so I have to suck it up. I'm trying to find something good in each pose. Just imagine, I'm in downward facing dog with my heels against a wall. She is pushing on my upper back with her feet and she's insisting that I walk my feet up the wall into a handstand. --- yeah...... I couldn't find anything good in that one.
The thought "Holy Hell, when is this class going to be over" came to mind more than once. However, in an effort to find something good, I've come up with some things I learned that I can apply to my own teaching.
1. When teaching challenging asanas (yoga poses) never insist that a student do the pose - be prepared to
offer a modification.
2. Students adjusting each other is not really a good idea.
3. Counter-posing is a must
4. When having students demonstrate "advanced" postures in front of the class it creates a sense
of competition amongst students which has no place in the context of a yoga class.
5. In order for a student to have an internal experience there needs to be some amount of silence in class.
6. Always honor the tradition of hatha yoga being a means to get us prepared for meditation.
6. Most importantly, if the above are ignored, make sure everyone signs a liability waiver and increase
the limits of the insurance policy!
I knew almost immediately that I was not honoring my body but my ego took over and I stayed. The result?
Physically: pain, Mentally: agitation and lots of negative self-talk.
I acknowledge that this style of yoga is quite popular but I've never really fit in with the popular crowd so why should yoga be any different?