Yoga and Egos

Francesca Silva

Teacher Adjusting StudentIn one of my recent blogs, I mentioned my frustration at having a new yoga instructor who just wasn’t doing it for me.

Well, yesterday evening I dragged myself to the recreation centre for my next class with her. I really wasn’t in the mood to go as I’d been so put off the last time, but I decided to give her another try. Maybe she’d been having an “off” day – we all have them sometimes.

When I arrived at class, the first thing I noticed was that it was only half full, compared to the week before when we’d had a good turnout. Oops – not a good sign for the instructor. Where was she, by the way? While waiting for her to show up, the few of us who were there rolled out our mats, settled ourselves down and started to do some breathing exercises to cleanse our minds. I’d had a particularly stressful week, so it was good to have a few minutes to regain my equilibrium and composure.

That equilibrium was sorely tested when the instructor breezed in, threw down her mat and shattered the peace by proclaiming loudly “Hey, I’m a few minutes’ late (ten minutes, actually, but who’s counting) but you know how it is”! And that was it by way of apology.

She watched us for a couple of minutes and then said “Right, you had a few minutes to get yourselves together; now, let’s get on with it!” So, exchanging glances of trepidation, we dutifully stood up, prepared for the worst.

But she surprised us. She lowered her voice to a soothing tone and started taking us through some poses, explaining them as we went along. She also walked around the class, correcting a pose here and there.  She didn’t push us but instead offered encouragement, which perked us all up. When she gave one of the women a high-five for mastering the tree pose, which the woman had been unable to do the week before, I decided then and there that the instructor had sent her “good” twin to teach us this week!

By the end of the class, we all felt relaxed and energized at the same time. I was curious to find out what had caused this sudden (and welcome) change in the instructor’s attitude, so I stayed behind to have a chat with her. I wasn’t quite sure how to start the conversation, though, so I was pleasantly surprised when she approached me with a smile and said “Big difference, huh”? She then went on to say that initially she’d felt hurt last week, feeling that we’d “ganged up” on her. But after a day or so, she started thinking about what we’d said and decided to put aside her ego and take our words as constructive criticism. I told her I was really impressed that she’d been able to do so and had really enjoyed her class this time.

As I was leaving, she called out “See you next week” – and you know, I think I will.

[tags]new yoga instructor, second chance, encouragement from teacher, egos, change of attitude [/tags]

One Response to “Yoga and Egos”

  1. Ross says:

    I really like your story about your new yoga instructor. I’m a yoga practitioner and start teaching early this year. At first I only had 6-10 students coming inconsistently. I always revise what am I going to do in the class few days before. I also do a lot of reading and research to find something new to share in the class. The following month, I started to receive many phone calls to inquiry about my class. This made me a little bit nervous. I still remember the first day that my class is half full. They came earlier before the class started. It was so overwhelming. Most of them are more flexible than I am. I was a bit challenged of course. But some of them were also struggling to do the pose. It made me talked and walked around more than before. It also made me doing it less. Of course I wasn’t satisfied in the class. I want to practice too! As the class ended, they came and talked to me. The dissatisfaction feeling I had earlier was gone. They like yoga. And of course they came to the next class and still coming until now. From time to time I always receive their comments and I use them to create a better class.

    Become an instructor is a very challenging job. We need to be aware with the sounds and face expressions made by the students. Comments and criticisms sometimes hurt but Yoga helps us to stay positive for everyone’s good.

Leave a Reply