Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Which word could I use to describe last week...Interesting? Challenging? Difficult?...I've got it, Shit!
Yes, a big steaming pile of it that dances under your nose wafting its nauseating aroma at regular intervals!

It really all started on Monday morning when I took over a yoga class at a local gym. Now the reason I was offered the job was because the existing "Yoga" teacher (and I use the word yoga in its loosest possible terms) had sworn rather violently at the manager for whom I think this was the final straw after a chapter of unacceptable behaviour.

Now you see why I put yoga in inverted commas. Yoga promotes harmony and balance within people, it embraces non-violence and respectfulness.

Anyway, turns out that the "coven" as I have now named the loyal followers of swearing lady were more than a little put out that their fierce leader had been let go. What they failed to realise was that I was not the one who had pushed her out, or asked her to leave or stolen her job.
My only crime was to accept a job offer!

I was the completely innocent party in "yogagate"!

I was therefore totally unprepared for what turned out to be the most awful experience of my yoga teaching life so far. As I introduced myself to the class they physically turned their noses up, they heaved and sighed and commented loudly to each other that it was totally ridiculous having a change of teacher half way through the term....since when do gyms run on terms?!

Anyway, I ploughed on with a smile on my face even when I had several ladies challenge my integrity, my knowledge and my patience, with one woman making a huge fuss and leaving mid balancing sequence, and two of them cancelling their entire gym membership after the class.

These are grown up people!!

I stewed and stewed over this class until Wednesday. What could I have done? How could I have made a better class for them? Should I change what I do to make it more like the last teacher?
Then on Wednesday night I had an epiphany. In fact it was less an epiphany and more an email from the lovely Julie Bealey who taught a class there the next night. She told me that there were a couple of women raving about my class, not knowing that Julie knew me.
So I looked up from my computer and the light bulb dinged above my head...Sod 'em!
For the three or four women who weren't happy there were equal amounts that obviously thoroughly enjoyed the class. 

I have spent a really long time discovering my style in yoga and although I am very aware that part of my job as a yoga teacher is to be able to adapt postures for people who have physical limitations whether temporary or long term but should I really have to adapt my style too?

And after a long and hard think over a large glass of Shiraz, the answer came to me.


You have to be true to yourself right?

I like to flow, I love to play music, I enjoy the challenge of an arm balance. And because one or two don't completely share my tastes, I appreciate they have the choice to simply not come to my class. Like dance there are so many different kinds of yoga. You don't go to a street dance class and complain it should be more balletic!

So the week rolled on to Friday where I faced my second audience with the coven. I plastered on my biggest smile, channelled my inner warrior and strode confidently into the studio, where to my complete surprise I saw 11 happy eager faces. Phew! A couple of which I recognised from the class from hell but mostly all brand spanking new and no coven!

I guess the word had circulated that there was a new kid in town and they wanted to check out my class.

The class was pretty brilliant even if  I do say so myself! There was a positive energy buzzing about as well as some great heavy breathing and a good amount of dripping sweat.
At the end of class there were still 11 people, they were still all smiling and you know what, they even all thanked me!

Faith in the human race restored!

Now the real test will be next Friday if they all come back! They could just have been coming to check out the new girl of course!

The thing is, I got myself into such a state about these women and took everything very personally. What I failed to realise until later was that it wasn't personal at all, well not to me anyway. How could it be, they never gave me a chance. I wonder if those women will look back on their behaviour towards me and feel uncomfortable or remorseful? I wonder if they will ever realise that yoga is not just about stretching yourself on a mat but more about living a life of harmony and balance with yourself, with the universe and all the people in it?

Namaste Freedom Junkies!

1 comment:

  1. Sophie this post couldn't be further from the truth and particularly my truth at the moment. I covered a yoga class at a gym on Monday night, where I often cover and much to the same effect, one lady walked out after about 10 minutes after tutting at "what is that noise, is it you or is there music playing?!?!?" mid flow!! I did all the things you mentioned and although you cant take it personally, it is a little dis-heartening, when you love something you want everyone to feel the power of that yoga love!! It is not personal and if not everyone likes to live by "variety is the spice of life" then you can only hope they find joy, balance and harmony in other areas of there life, thank you for your wonderful words as always, much love xxxxx