Accessibility. This is where I lose my cool. Okay, not the only time, but when new clients tell me they have never been helped in a yoga class I definitely lose my shit. Not the occasional new client either. Every. Single. Time. Most of the people who have come to my beginning class have felt unwelcome in a yoga class because the instructor didn’t create an accessible flow even if the class description said, “Beginners welcome.”
“This is the first time yoga made sense to me.”
If you never come back to my class, and let’s face it, I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. I hope my Beginning Yoga class offers you a doorway into trying it again.
I know that almost every fitness class is demonstrative. There is a teacher up front doing what you are doing. I teach many of my classes just that way, but the educator in me knows it’s a terrible teaching model. I get that many of my clients are expecting to look at me to help them figure out which foot goes where.
And in some of my yoga classes I do exactly that with the best verbal cues I can.
But, my job isn’t to stand on my mat at the front of the class and show you how fabulous my yoga is.
My job, particularly in Beginning yoga, is to help you discover your fabulous yoga. It can be as simple as a verbal cue, but more likely it’s me walking around and helping people find a way to be in the pose. Not the ‘perfect’ alignment, rather the best alignment for their body.
I often ask folks to look around the room and recognize that we all have different bodies. Our paths to this particular moment are filled with a variety of experiences and sometimes injuries. If you walk away from my yoga class with anything, remember this, there is no such thing as perfect alignment in a pose.
No two people in a yoga class is going to have the same alignment, I don’t care what kind of bullshit the yoga instructor is offering.
A good beginning yoga instructor may demonstrate at first, but they should offer one on one help if you are struggling. They can’t do that if they are performing. Sure, I may show several expressions of a pose so folks have a goal. However, I make it clear there isn’t anything wrong with them if they are happy with something within the range.
If an instructor doesn’t offer modifications run don’t walk out of class.
Come to class. Give it a try and if you don’t love it there is nothing wrong with you. But if you don’t love it because the instructor wasn’t helpful, find another instructor. Of course, if you come to my class and don’t love me, you suck.
No really, don’t give up on yoga, find another instructor.