I’ve been to two classes in the last week – both billed as vinyasa yoga, but with two different instructors. And what I’ve learned from this two-class wealth of experience is this: not all yoga instructors are created equally not douche-y.
Instructor number one: laid-back British lady. Focused on teaching and helping perfect poses and sequences of poses. Walked around the room and offered assistance. Complimented my form twice (maybe that’s why I liked her…). Referenced the spiritual side of yoga but did not harp on it (no, THAT’S why I liked her… but also the compliment thing).
Instructor number two: spent an hour and a half lecturing the class about the spirituality of it all. Very few actual poses. Mostly just a series of movements while balancing on one foot at a time. Compared us to flowers, various animals, and the wind. He told me to “relax my cell membranes.” I told him to shove it.
…I didn’t actually. But I wanted to.
Now, I understand that half of yoga is the spirituality of it, and many many people swear by it for that reason. I absolutely respect that, although personally I’m, uhhh… noottt super spiritual. Instructor number two was (duh), but that wasn’t the problem. I’m sure every yoga class is going to have a spiritual component to it.
But I’m sorry, I really can’t help myself – when someone starts taking about letting your energy flow through your fingertips, imagining you’re a flower who needs to detox after hibernating all winter, relaxing your cell membranes… my eyes just start rolling uncontrollably.
Luckily, I was in the back corner of the room where no one could see me being a douche.
That all said, there are some things beyond the physical aspects of yoga that I can appreciate. Centering yourself, being in tune with your mind and body, a certain degree of meditation – this I can get behind. Even after the class I didn’t like as much I left feeling better and calmer. I think all fitness classes benefit the mind because they have that element of focus, but somehow the atmosphere of a yoga classroom lets you relax even when you want to die because you should NOT have tried that backbend.
Sooooo fine, all you yogis. You win. Consider me a convert.
Sidenote: During class #2, I spent an hour and a half doing quite well in various one-footed positions. When we finished, I stood up to put my shoes on aaaand immediately toppled over. Because I am nothing if not graceful.