So there you are in class, with a teacher you’ve never had before. And while you’re flipping your down dog, you realize you’re not exactly flipping over the teacher.
Maybe the teacher is a yoga bully: “Okay, everybody up for wheel! People in the back row, what’s your problem?”
Maybe the teacher is making absurd claims about yoga (“Doing an inversion is like having a face lift!”).
Or it’s hot yoga and you’re thirsty and the teacher says, “Don’t drink!” But … you are really thirsty!
Or maybe the teacher just doesn’t seem to know what he or she is doing. And is actually reading from a yoga book to describe a pose.
I’ve been in all those situations. (I’ve also been in classes with amazing teachers who make the minutes fly by and who make me feel so much better than when I did my first down dog of the day, so don’t accuse me of being a yoga basher.)
And I know that staying with a yoga class can be a very good thing. Studies show that the ancient practice can improve flexibility, offer relief for back pain, and reduce stress.
But in those classes where everything isn’t flowing my way, the question lurks: Should I pack my mat and go? Or is that bad yoga etiquette? And is there any benefit to sticking it out?
I put the question to yoga teachers. None of them think you can never leave. But some of them definitely leaned toward the idea of staying.
“I have suffered through some miserable classes,” says Peg Mulqueen, who teaches at Flow Yoga in Washington, D.C. “Somebody would have to be doing something pretty egregious for me to walk out. If someone is doing something harmful or going to destroy me, I guess I would pack up and go. Otherwise, it’s all a learning experience: You’re learning what you didn’t want. If you sit through a class, and oh my God that instructor would not shut up, you’ve learned you want to find a class with minimal talking.” Continue reading >>