February 11, 2014
Have you ever regretted a yoga class? It's not a nice feeling. Here's some tips to help you avoid the "icks".
1. You feel out of place
This one's a no-brainer. If the yoga teacher looks at you funny, or says something mean, like "Come back after you've lost weight", then RUN! Or, if the vibe says you're a freak, you'll feel it. Don't stay for that class. The room should ooze warmth, compassion and acceptance.
2. You're the only person over 30
Younger folks can do a more vigorous, faster-paced practice. Unless you're already in tip-top shape, look for classes with folks your own age.
3. It costs over $15.00
Well, maybe in New York or LA classes are over $15.00, but don't choose a yoga class just because it's pricey. Sometimes the best yoga teachers are the ones teaching in the trenches--instead of a fancy Yoga studio, they teach at the Y or a church where overhead is low. Those teachers need your support too!
4. The next day you hurt like crazy
If your practice makes you really sore the next day, maybe re-think the class level you're attending. These days, even the "beginners" classes are pretty strenuous. It's fine to feel a little something in your muscles and joints the next day, but not so much that you're hurting. As my friend Swami Murugananda says "Start slow, and taper off".
5. You don't understand a word they're saying
I love using the Sanskrit terms when I'm teaching, but I always use the English as well, in case the newcomers might feel out of place (see #1) or not understand what the heck I'm talking about. That's what teaching is all about--helping people to learn stuff for and about themselves. Yoga's not an insider's club.
Don't be discouraged if you do find yourself in the wrong Yoga class--it happens. Just know that it's not your fault, so don't feel guilty about it. It may be that the class description didn't fit what was actually going down. Or, maybe a sub was called in at the last minute who wasn't familiar with teaching the class you signed up for. Things happen. Bottom line--keep going till you find a class that feels like home. Have a relationship with the studio, the teachers, the other students--the sangha. There is safety in numbers and it's wonderful when we all support one another on this magical path of Yoga.