Have you ever been in a yoga class and wondered if the comment on ‘relaxing the face’ was directed at you? Or whether or not your teacher notices you’re wearing the same clothes as yesterday’s practice? Your yoga class should be the one place where the judgment or self-conscious thoughts should be at their very least. Instead, you should be focusing on your breath, balance and the silence in your mind.
But what would your yoga teacher say to you if they had the chance?
“Please please show up on time”
Yes, that comment on ‘being mindful about your actions and priorities in life’ was directed at you rocking up 10 minutes late. Although most classes won’t even let you join after 5 minutes, there’s nothing more distracting to the teacher and the students than someone finding a mat after everyone has already settled into their practice. Make it a priority to be on time, or even better, come early and take the time to practice your crow!
“Listen to your body and know when to rest”
Yoga is a difficult practice – plain and simple. Some of the poses are extremely complex and if they aren’t done properly can result in injury. Knowing when to pull back and when to hold onto the pose is something learned over time sometimes only after years of practice. Teachers never encourage pain, only strength, so rest when needed!
“We don’t care what you look like”
Whether it’s the half finished nail job, the greasy pulled back hair or the worse-for-wear activewear, we really don’t care what you look like during class. The only thing we’re looking at is your focus, commitment, and areas we can help you within your practice. The entire discipline is based on looking within and creating a peaceful state of mind – this is one place your looks aren’t important.
“Everyone is working in their inner complexes”
It may seem like your teacher is completely at peace with him or herself, but don’t forget that everyone has their insecurities, even your instructor. The great thing about practicing yoga is it teaches you to quickly cast away negative thoughts, even if it is just for the 60-minute class; the practice allows you to forget and eventually overcome the insecurities which affect you the most.
“Please don’t force yourself to stick to the pace”
When your instructor says ‘take this class at your own pace’, they really mean it. Everyone has different breaths, rhythm and experience levels and as a result, following your neighbor because you don’t want to fall behind is the complete opposite of what yoga should be about. Take your time, don’t rush your sequence and bring the focus back to your breath – you’ll find you will be very similar to the teacher if you do this.
“But don’t completely ignore the practice”
Have you ever been in a class and noticed someone doing a completely different progression altogether? Very rarely there is an experienced participant who sets their own positions and sequences, putting off the rest of the class and especially the newer yogis. At the end of the day, yoga it is a group class, and although you may be focused on your breath, the level of concentration needed to completely block out your fellow classmates is a skill most yogis never achieve. You can always learn something from an instructor, so follow their lead.
“Let’s just get it out in the open – everyone farts, and it’s okay”
Many instructors actually encourage letting one rip in seriously intense poses – it’s completely natural and very common in a practice which involves so many twists, holds and hip openers. The judgment you’re worried about isn’t there, no one has really noticed, and at the end of the day, it’s better out than in.
“For both yours and the classes sake, don’t leave early”
If you’re worried about making it back to work in time, or fluttering to get to the showers quickly, you’ve missed out on the most important elements of yoga. Firstly, your attempt to pause and distress the mind has simply not happened if you’re in that much of a rush. Secondly, if you don’t have 5 minutes to give your mind and body the rest it deserves after class, you should be looking at your priorities outside of the classroom because something needs to change.
Sign up to GuavaPass now!