My first yoga class wasn’t too long ago and thinking back towards it, I´m always astonished that I went on practicing as it was such a bad experience. Being fair my real first yoga class was me being a child but as I cannot remember this and didn’t go on with the practice, let´s just consider the one I have actual memories from.
The teacher made so many pedagogic mistakes and now knowing a bit more about yoga philosophy and anatomy, let´s just say she didn’t do the best job possible. Yet to that point it also pushed me, I didn’t want to give up, searched another teacher and am so happy I didn’t let this teacher and her temper stop me. Starting my teacher training soon, I believe it was a great lesson of how not to behave as a teacher, maybe this was what was needed for me going in this direction, to try to make a better job.
The teacher I´m talking about just started criticizing me in every class. She showed us a pose which I couldn’t go into as deep as she thought was appropriate so she would come to me, sit on my side and show me the pose again. If I wouldn’t wait for her to finish her self-display, I got attacked, if I tried to do the pose but couldn’t do it as I’m just not that flexible she got upset and showed me the pose again which didn’t helped as I didn’t do that pose to make her angry but because I just couldn’t do so.. instead of showing me an alternative she criticized me in front of everyone telling me that now everyone had to wait and couldn’t go on with the practise cause she had to show me AGAIN. She just couldn’t or wouldn’t want to understand that I didn’t do this to harm her, that I was listening and wanting to learn the pose but I just was physically restricted. Not to mention that this was a beginner class.. She just had no patience nor the anatomic knowledge to support me giving me alternatives. She insisted that I should do as she showed me which I just couldn’t at that moment.
Some weeks later, she found another victim. Another women entered our class not speaking perfectly German but understanding enough to follow the class. Yet there were moments she didn’t do as expected by our teacher – so she would ask her if she understood. The women confirmed that indeed she understood. The women never practiced yoga before so it is natural that even so she might understand the words, her body still needs to get used on how to do a certain pose and how to align correctly. This happened a couple times, with every interruption from the teacher you really could notice the frustration and how she had to behave herself not to get angry even more obviously..
I didn’t finish the course and I wasn’t the only one not coming back after some time. There were others in the class who told me they wouldn’t come back to the class after what they had watched. The teacher treated us without respect and even if you are impatient, just please don’t let your students notice that. The teachers voice changed so much every time she tried to correct me or that new women, there was no compassion from the students side so some decided not to attend this class anymore, me included after a while. Everyone might have a bad day, but this went on every week so after half of the course I decided to go to another teacher which was a great decision.
I´m happy I didn’t give up and went on practicing even establishing my own practice, but the beginning I have to say was a bit hard. I´m sharing this as this might happen to anyone. Even if the teacher is good, it might not be your style. Please don’t give up, go to another teacher or try out another yoga style till you find one you feel comfortable with.
I don’t like to criticize or write about something so negative but I hope that this post can motivate some of you who had a similar bad experience. The pics attached were taken a year after attending this class – I never ever would have believed that I could do crow pose back then (and do be fair, I still can only hold it a second) – but it shows how you can evolve if you don’t give up.
What was your first yoga class like? Did you fall in love instantly or did it take some time?
If you are just starting with Yoga and want to get further background information in addition to your class, I would like to recommend the following books:
Or start your home practice with Shiva Rea´s beginner flow: