When was the last time you heard someone say they went to a bad yoga class? Sure, there is a range of yoga teachers out there and you want to find the right fit. There are novice teachers and beginner classes that might feel frustrating if you are an advanced yogi. There are teachers who talk so much that you just want some peace and quiet (that is what savasana is for). There are teachers who haven’t mastered the art of verbal cueing so their students can’t understand how to get into a pose. And I’ve heard stories about teachers who are “too handsy” giving assists or don’t ask permission to give a hands-on assist. But…have you ever walked out of a yoga class feeling worse than when you entered? For that matter, have you ever left a yoga class feeling bad?
Want to know why?
Every kind of yoga – from Baptiste to Bikram, and Iyengar to vinyasa – contributes to the healthy flow of “feel good” hormones like oxytocin and dopamine in our bodies. Over the years I have taught several students who have cried quietly to themselves during our yoga class. They are not crying because they feel “bad.” They are crying because they are experiencing a release of something that is stuck. Yoga got that thing in their body or mind to become unstuck. If you like feeling stuck just keep in mind that any kind of sustained physical movement is going to shake some things up. But I have yet to meet a person who likes feeling “stuck” (a feeling that can closely resemble “trapped”).
At this point in my career, I have had repeated opportunities to teach pregnant women, United States Marines, people living with multiple sclerosis, engineers, and spies (I know that sounds like I’m trying to be cool, but seriously northern Virginia is full of them). Turns out our bodies are all the same…but different. Slow or fast, backbends or balance poses…I have truly never walked out of a yoga class feeling bad. Frustrated – sometimes. Tired – sometimes. But those states are a natural part of living a deep life.