Not All Yoga is Created “OM”
Not all yoga classes and instructors are created equal, and sometimes yoga isn’t as “Om” as it is cracked up to be.
I went to the class at my local gym and attended one of four yoga classes offered. I took a few breaths to gather myself and slowly joined in with the class. I’m no “yoga pro” but I’ve been practiced enough in the past 2 years to know that I was in the hands of a bad teacher. She was the meanest, most competitive, and non-forgiving yoga teacher and exercise teacher I’ve ever seen. Yoga is a physical workout and I enjoy reaping the results of the practice. I also tremendously enjoy the mental clarity and focus that it can provide. Peace of mind is hard to get when classmates are in clear agony, rolling their eyes, and leaving class early.
There were people in the class that were clearly at the beginner level. She barked orders at us in them to get in intermediate/advanced level variations of poses with no option for a beginner level. Her adjustments were harsh and aggressive. She pointed people out that were not able to get to certain levels of a pose. Her tone was military like with an air of frustration.
I was frustrated. More than frustrated, my body ached for the people in the class that just didn’t know what was going on, how to adjust the poses to their level of capabilities. Poses were being held w/ clear improper technique and it was encouraged rather than corrected. It was uncomfortable to watch. I felt like I should say something. I wondered if as beginners, they would want to come back or try it again.
During one “downward-facing-dog” I came to a thought about the class. The instructor wasn’t necessarily a bad teacher, she was teaching the wrong class. She was teaching an advanced level class during the rush gym hour of a chain gym that catered to people of all skill levels. The gym is doing a disservice to its clients by advertising all yoga classes and instructors as created equal. The class description never stated what level class this was. I don’t think that all gyms have this mis-matched yoga instructor issue but to avoid this problem and provide a better yoga and gym experience gyms should:
- Provide accurate descriptions, skill level rating, for each class. All classes and teaching methods are created equal.
- Appropriately match the instructor to the level of class.
- Have more than one instructor in rotation.
- Provide instructor post-class instructor feedback sheets.
This workout confirmed that Yoga isn’t about the poses and stretches. It truly is about the connection of the mental and physical. It’s important to practice with an instructor and in an environment that encourages a positive practice for the mind and body.