My Week in Yoga: From Solely Self-Practice to None At All

For those of you that caught last week’s post and/or saw all the drama over on Instagram, you’ll know that I had a self-practice heavy week combined with weekend full of vet-drama courtesy of Zeppelin the cat.

Well this week went in another direction.

Between managing the unfolding (but luckily ultimately happy-ending) Zeppelin drama, and trying to get myself sorted both at work and at home for going away for a week, I had even less time for my mat that usual. And in fact, this translated as the least amount of self-practice since before I fell pregnant, and probably a way before that too. I did get in a  couple of classes, even if both of them had some very strange elements indeed…

Monday:  

wouldn’t be coming home just yet and with the hubby being out for the evening. But after he (the cat not the hubby!) took a turn for the worse in the afternoon, my evening plans went out the window. Instead they involved a mad post-work dash to stand outside Zeppy’s vet cage and try and coax him into eating something. Which failed. Though he was deliciously cuddly and the nurses told me the following day he was calmer after seeing me. So not according to the plan, but certainly the right decision.

Which is a long way of saying no yoga today!

Tuesday: 

Headed to an evening of events for an early celebration of International Women’s Day. A yoga class first, then a talk with some really impressive speakers. 

Well, at least 50% of that turned out to be correct.

The speaker part, NOT the yoga part.

A reasonably famous insta-yogi/PT was teaching, one I’ve followed off/on for a while and who has released a book etc., so my expectations were pretty high. When I arrived however, it became pretty obvious that expectations and reality mismatches were going to be the name of the game: of the 15 or so people in the room, at least half had turned up expecting a talk, not a class. We also had some total yoga newbies, and a very broad range of ages and body types – i.e. not your normal London vinyasa yoga crew of 20-something gym bunnies. So I lay down on my mat waiting to be told we were going to do a restorative class or something along those lines in order to cater for the majority of people in the room.

But no.

Instead, what was billed as a yoga class, even once the teacher knew who was in the room, became a full on workout. And I use the word ‘became’ badly here because it suggests some natural development. Which is not what happened.

After chatting for a little bit about how important it was to activate glutes before a yoga practice (super interesting by the way – we did a lot of work in my YTT on posterior-chain muscle weakness in yogis, so seeing this theme being picked up and with the promise of some solutions was exciting), the teacher had us straight into a little warm up and some full on glute exercises. Fine, maybe that was just the activation right? No…. then we barreled into full sun salutations. No modifications for chaturanga, not even an explanation of what chaturanga or any of the other poses were – just pose after pose. Then we were done with the yoga and it was all glutes. 30 reps of one exercise on one side, then same on the other, then 4 more different exercises before revisiting the first, for the rest of the session. 

All of this was an interesting experience for me, and I’m glad I went, even if it did just remind me why I don’t go to exercise classes. But I can’t say the same was true for the two 50ish year olds on either side of me, or the yoga newbies at the back! What a strange 75min indeed!

Wednesday: 

Good news at last! Zeppelin was given the all clear to come home so my plans to hang out with a yoga buddy were cancelled and I spent the evening on the sofa with one patchy (they had to shave so many random bits of him for various medical procedures!) but very happy-to-be-home pussycat.

Thursday: 

Crazy at work day, plus an evening of pre-holiday errands meant no yoga today.

Friday: 

Got caught at work today so didn’t make my class. This rarely happens on a Friday to be very honest, but with being away next week I knew I couldn’t reprioritise so just needed to bash a few things out. I then got home late, and tired, and the call of one final evening snuggling on the sofa with my mogsters was just too strong to ignore. 

Saturday:

Travel day! Miami here we come!!

Total failure to peel myself off the sofa the previous night meant packing for the entire week trip before going to the airport. Which I pretty much never do. And certainly wont do again, as it meant I failed to get on my mat properly today as well. Oh dear.

However, a 10 hour flight and an abysmal record of moving my body in the previous few days did mean getting out of my seat at regular intervals for mini yoga sessions by the airplane toilets (appealing right?!) was pretty easy. These consisted of 3x 5min of uttansanas, shoulder stretches on the wall, malasanas, some half-moon and chapasanas.. Yes I got some weird looks. No I didn’t care one bit.

Sunday:

The very best thing about travelling back in time (does anyone else think of it this way?!), aka to negative GMT timezones is that waking up early suddenly is significantly less painful! Obviously you pay for it on the return leg, but lets cross that bridge when we come to it. 

Day one of the holiday and I made it to the 7.30am sunrise yoga class at my hotel. Which was great. 

However, the teacher wasn’t particularly happy about my statement that I was still inverting while 5 months pregnant, despite me explaining about my level of practice and the fact I teach. Side point: don’t tell a student that doing a headstand will mean the cord will get wrapped around their baby’s neck and there is a chance their baby will die. It’s not the best way to kick off a class.

Lets be very clear here: this happens to some babies irrespective of whether their mothers practiced inversions. There is ZERO data to say that cord placement at birth has anything to do with actions of the mother, forget about being related to inversions in a yoga practice. And it’s pretty disgraceful fear- and falsehood-mongering to tell people, especially pregnant people, this outright lie. 

Anyway…

I needed to shake all this off after the class, so I came back to my room and flowed for another 15min myself.

  • Self-Practice: 30min
  • Classes: 2hrs 30min
  • TOTAL: 3hrs

END NOTE:

I am aware I now have three examples in the past three weeks of “bad” teacher experiences up here on the blog. Which is totally not reflective of my overall experience of yoga classes thankfully. But it does make me realise that I have not shared a lot of detail about all the amazing teachers I do get to practice with. So I promise a full post is coming on that soon.

And for those that ask for the names of the teachers I have had bad experiences with, I apologise but I am not going to share that information (and I hope what I write here is vague enough for you not to work it out either). I am in the “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” camp. Especially given these were one-off experiences without any further corroboration.

However, I do want to include some details in these posts to make two points: (1) it’s ok to not like/enjoy/feel suited to a particular teacher. It doesn’t make them a bad teacher (maybe you caught them on an off day) and it doesn’t make you a bad student (likewise). It does mean you don’t have to go back! (2) To share my PERSONAL opinion on what does make a good teacher/class. It’s just my opinion, and I hope you take the time to work out your own based on your own experiences. But I find that process is helped by hearing other people’s, even if I vehemently disagree with them. 

Follow along on my yoga journey with my weekly posts chronicling my yoga practice.
Follow along on my yoga journey with my weekly posts chronicling my yoga practice.
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