10,000 Vinyasas

The Bad Yoga Teacher

by on Mar.13, 2009, under Yoga

messageartwork20091When I started expanding my yoga practice by attending more classes, taught by different teachers, I benefited from a wider range of teaching styles and yoga philosophies. I used to think, optimistically, that I could derive some value from every yoga teacher. Alas, but predictably, there came a time when I began to be more discriminating in my perceptions of quality in yoga teaching; differences, however, were still mostly tolerable. Not everyone will benefit from every yoga teacher, and you naturally tend to gravitate towards whomever appeals to you most, whether in philosophy, style, or demeanor. Of course, there is also the Indian concept of finding a guru who can lead you through your yoga experiences. I’d make a distinction, though, between the teacher whose style is different than what you prefer or are used to, and an outright poor yoga teacher in general. It’s been an interesting experience, of late, to have observed such a bad yoga teacher in action. I had not attended this particular individuals class until recently, but when she began teaching at a local gym I began to hear people I practiced with commenting negatively on her teaching. It seemed that she tended to push people until they injured themselves, was the gist of the complaints i was hearing. Another instructor made a face when mentioning her, and said something to the effect that “she won’t last.” I didn’t know what she meant at the time, and still didn’t until she was assigned several more classes at another branch of the gym and I attended her class. I immediately understood what that instructor meant: a negative energy emanated from this woman; although she said the words I was accustomed to hearing in a yoga class, her demeanor was aggressive and demanding rather than calm and reassuring. True to the complaints, she did push people into positions that they may not have been ready for. One other thing I noticed that was unique to this person: she tended to complain to the class about certain aspects of teaching at the gym, i.e., she wanted to teach a longer class, the gym wouldn’t allow her to teach head or handstands, etc. Not only were these comments inappropriate to make to students, I found them unprofessional and most certainly unyogalike. As it turned out, she actually reportedly caused the injury of a student, who came to class complaining of back pain, by attempting to lift the student out of a backbend into standing. More complaints from students to the management resulted in this individual losing at least one of her classes at that gym. After experiencing the bad yoga teacher, I want to tell my students, when I start teaching, not to let me or any other instructor ever try to take them somewhere their bodies don’t want to go. Not complaining to my students really should go unsaid….

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