As you might know, I used to be a Spanish teacher. Anyone who is a teacher or knows one well will likely nod in agreement: the first years are brutally stressful. I didn't have a lot of extra cash, but I sucked it up and paid for a membership at a yoga studio because I felt like it was the only thing keeping my sanity in tact. I'd race straight from my classroom to my car and rush across town trying to keep my road rage at bay. I'd curse every red light and slow driver, and after what felt like forever, I'd arrive to the studio and scurry in last minute.
The lights would dim, the teacher would begin the class in a velvety calm voice, the playlist would begin and instantly I was transported to another world.
A confession: Every once in a while yoga class pet peeves would set me off.
Like when the whole class would be in supine spinal twist at the end of a long, heated power class, and the sweaty toes of the person next to me would graze my hip.
Or the pet peeve that most fired me up? When the teacher would leave us in a pose much longer on one side than the other. I remember this one class very distinctly. The instructor had put us in side plank on the left side (after having already done the right side), and decided at the last minute to fix someone's alignment. The student had a few questions and a little conversation ensued between the teacher and student. The rest of us were shaking like leaves in left side plank for three times as long as the other side and a rage just boiled up inside me. I was so inexplicably angry about it. I mean to such a degree that I almost burst into tears. (I think in hindsight, it probably stemmed from how frustrated I was in my job.)
When I was doing my yoga teacher training, I began to think about the experience of a yoga class from all different angles. From the perspective of the student, from the perspective of the teacher, the studio owner, etc. I know there are teachers out there who disagree with what I'm about to say (and with perfectly valid reasons), but this just meshes better with what's authentic for my style of teaching, so bear with me. For me, the class is for the students.
The class is theirs. The time is theirs. The space is theirs. It has nothing to do with me. My sequencing is just a suggestion for what to do next. I mean obviously for safety reasons, I wouldn't suggest doing camel pose within the first five minutes of class, but once he or she is warmed up? If we're in warrior 1 and a student wants to do camel pose, by all means, she should do it!
I wish I had come to that conclusion back in the day when I was internally flipping out over my teacher leaving us for too long on one side. I didn't recognize that I had the freedom to do something else. I could've gone back onto the other side to even out the length of time. Or I could've just taken child's pose and called it a day. Instead, I got angry. And for what? It affected no one but myself.
So I've worked through that now, I'm not going to lie. I still cringe when other people's sweaty body parts touch me in class, so I guess there's still work to do in the pet peeve department. ;)
Let's talk Do you have any yoga class pet peeves you're working through?
Related The really bad yoga class I took in LA. (Also another pet peeve I probably need to work on.)