So, last Sunday I went to a class in Solihull (on my way back from the NEC and a car show with my day job).
As a teacher, my own practice time is now even more precious. Every hour on my mat practicing on my own, or in a class is like gold dust. My classes run at times when my favourite other teachers are teaching, if I'm not teaching, I'm planning classes and so on. So every opportunity to go to a class and be a student is so so appreciated.
I noticed there was a 90 minute Hot Yoga Fusion class at said studio and I was like "awesome, I can actually still get my practice in!"
Hot class - Tick
90 mins - Tick
Fusion class - Tick
I booked in, paid my £12 and looked forward to it massively.
After that class... all I can say is WOW. I didn't realise bad teachers were a thing until I attended that class. This was hand on heart the worst class I have ever been to. Ever. And I was so gutted.
Of course, I know not every teacher is for everyone. I know I am not for everyone and that is okay. As an experienced teacher, you know when you go to someone's class and it's not your vibe. And you also know when something isn't right.
The heating was turned off part way through class. This is a huge no no, because hot classes are designed to build heat and cool the body in a particular way via the sequence and turning the heat off early can actually make people feel incredibly sick, especially when backbending is still to come.
The teacher didn't teach. He said the pose name. And counted. In Sanskrit. Literally "Marichyasana A. eka.... dvi... tri... catur" etc, for the entire 90 minute class. That is not teaching. He mumbled, you could barely hear him. He put on an accent.
There was zero guidance on alignment, deepening, safe practice. None. There were quite a few cues that weren't right, and a couple that were actually a bit dangerous.
For example, I have extra bone in my left knee which has the appearance that when my leg is my straight there is a slight bend (bump on the front of my knee). If you look at the back of my knee you can see the leg is anatomically straight.
As a hypermobile person too, to extend to what appears to be full straight on the front is actually bending backwards in my body - contraindicated and dangerous. I was told to overextend my knee in that class. I flat refused.
The whole thing was a massive willy waving, ego-fest. It was a mixed levels class and it had Peacock, Chinstand and other poses you wouldn't expect to see in anything other than an advanced class. The prep poses weren't in there to tackle advanced poses. He basically demonstrated and said your go. The room wasn't really up for it.
Now, as a teacher - I feel really weird and conflicted about this whole situation. I have never been to a class and hated it before.
I always feel incredibly honoured to teach my students and they trust that I know what I am doing. I am always very conscious that I am working with people's bodies and I have to be careful to teach what I feel my students can do, observe and modify accordingly.
I love yoga. I think that is really clear how passionate I am when you come to class. I dig deep, give my absolute all in every single class I teach, even if I'm sick, have had a stressful day.
I'm mindful that I am being paid to do an amazing job week in, week out and you come to me to feel better in your body, and in your mind.
And that I came away feeling really annoyed upsets me.
It upsets me that there are people out there making money calling themselves a "yoga teacher" when that is the sub-par, never mind dangerous experience they've put out there.
It upsets me that there are people teaching Hot Yoga with zero understanding of the pacing, intonation, verbalisations and cues required to manage students in such a hostile environment. I felt like it wasn't authentic in anyway or true to the lineage.
I feel like it is my responsibility as a teacher to call out that kind of awful teaching to be honest. I can't shirk that, because I feel like one day - someone could be quite badly hurt by that poor teaching.
Any thoughts? Let me know.