Grateful Yogi and the case of the terrible, no-good class....

What happened today is so rare, that it has actually never been mentioned on this blog before.

I had a really bad yoga class with a really insensitive teacher. 

I actually don't think I've ever even written the words "bad teacher" in relation to yoga before, and I can tell you that I have never been this excited to have a class be over.

I have certainly had teachers that I didn't click with, and class styles that I didn't love doing. But nothing that ever made me consider complaining about it.

Today was different. I spent 75 minutes with a condescending teacher that was more interested in poses being done the way he wanted them to be done, than anything else.

I contemplated leaving no fewer than 20 times, but I've never left a class before and felt like I could learn a lot of patience - and empowerment - in staying with it and trying to find a way to make my own practice in between his dialogue. 

The scene of the crime was my gym, where I had rushed to be for the one Forrest class they have every week. Other than this class, I don't normally take yoga at the gym. I was sad to see a substitute (last minute - I had checked this morning to make sure there wasn't a sub), but one thing that I have learned from substitutes is that it can also be a fortuitous crossing of paths (I met Peter Crowley when he was subbing for Alex Austin - so it can be a VERY good thing).

This, sadly, was not one of those times.

And so I'm torn as to how to put this into words, so we'll go in a list format, of the things that I wanted to say, but held inside.

1. If you are subbing a Forrest Yoga class, have a little respect for the practice that people came to take. This includes refraining from headstand, not correcting my warrior II head position, and leaving me alone in bridge. It means acknowledging that you are a substitute - and that the service you will be providing is a little different (or completely different, in this case).

2. Yoga is about choices. It's about my body - not yours. So do me a favor and don't tell me that crossing my legs in spinal twist in a way that makes my hips feel better isn't the right way. After 70 minutes of his class, I actually did tell him that I could handle my own spinal twist and that I was going to do what I wanted. I was going to do what made sense for me. Thanks.

3. Do not do vertical splits up the wall and tell your students - I know this looks so hard but in a few years, you might get it and then say in a very snotty voice - if you work hard enough. And then point out the one person in the class that can do it. 

4. If I choose to down level in a pose, please don't tell me that the way I am doing it was not what you demonstrated. I am really very aware of that fact. What you are not aware of - because you didn't ask or offer assistance - is that the way you demonstrated it hurts my body.

5. Stop calling people out in class. We came to be. To learn. To practice. I didn't come into the room perfect, and I don't expect to leave it perfect. And neither did the poor woman who you crowded and made so nervous that she fell out of a basic Warrior I.

I think the hardest part about the class was that I felt that he wasn't interested in engaging us - he was interested in TELLING us. In making us see that his way was THE way. There were about 10 different body types and sizes in the class and 15 levels of experience. How could you ever assume that we would all be on your page or even the same page?

So I feel a little better now that I've gotten that out. I think Ana Forrest probably would have preferred that I actually truth speak those little gems to the teacher in person, but this will have to do.

And it reminds me of a few things:

-I have pretty amazing teachers because this is an extremely rare occurrence. I'm grateful for the kind assists, wonderful options, and truly compassionate help that I get every week from a host of awesome people.
-I could have spoken up even more. And if I didn't feel like I could do that, I should have left.
-I know what kind of yoga I like - and where my yoga comes from. If you were looking at me right now, you would see my hands over my heart. Yoga isn't a race for me. It isn't a test. It's a way of being. If a teacher doesn't get that - and isn't offering anything I can tap in to - it's not for me. And that's okay. Maybe it's for someone else. We don't all need to be in the same class.  

And I'm reminded as I close this post that I should let it go. That this is one thing that should be left on the mat in that room.

And that I should breathe in and breathe out.