10 Qualities of a Really Great Yoga ClassFeb 07, 2022
Last Thursday morning if you peered into my yoga space at around 9:30am, with its gray-brown walls and too many houseplants happily lining the windows, you would have caught me lying in Savasana with a goofy grin plastered to my face.
I had just completed my practice, an online class I had wanted to take for a good long while, and was basking in that after yoga glow, feeling so damn good it was possible light was going to shoot out of my fingers and toes at any moment.
And, it got me thinking. What makes for a really great yoga class? Because I take a LOT of yoga.
Sometimes I feel like this, but other times I leave my mat underwhelmed and kind of feeling ‘eh.’ Or, I leave it frustrated and overwhelmed. Either way, as I step off of my mat and head into the shower, I note what I loved and what I simply didn’t. As well as, what I learned or observed that I want to bring into my own classes that I teach and the things that just didn’t vibe with the kind of class I work to create.
So, I thought I’d share with you what I believe creates the perfect magic recipe for a great yoga class:
#1. The teacher doesn’t pretend to be perfect or to know everything about everything.
There’s nothing worse than the pretending-I-have-the-answers-to-the-Universe yoga instructor. Yoga teachers are having a human experience just like everyone else. They’re not going to be perfect because, you know what? Perfect is next level boring and not a real thing anyway.
The classes I love the most are the ones where the teacher is super relatable, can make me laugh at the most grueling moments, and is okay when everything doesn't go perfectly.
At the same time, the instructor is still a professional and has no problem leading the class through the session and keeping everyone on task. And, they have a great deal of knowledge about what they are teaching.
#2. You can be you.
It’s not about the perfect leggings or pedicure. It’s not even about perfect postures. You’re accepted for who you are in that moment. And, you feel that. You don’t feel judged, but encouraged. When you’re given a correction or adjustment its done in a way that makes you feel good about the work you are doing.
#3. It puts you in your body, yet takes you on a journey.
There’s nothing better than feeling like you’re on a good yoga adventure. I used to love to know what was coming next in the sequence, and there was a time and a place for that.
But, to me there’s nothing better than the feeling of my body opening up to something new as I’m led through a yoga class. I love a surprise.
And, levels – moments where you slow down and moments where you feel things speed up. It keeps you in the moment and doesn’t allow the mind to take you away to another place and time.
#4. You’re allowed to laugh. Or, cry. Or, feel whatever you’re feeling. And, you feel like you’re in a safe space to do that.
Nothing gets me more frustrated than having a yoga teacher insist that everyone smile at some point during the class. You’re not there to make the instructor feel comfortable.
I also get bored easily when I’m told everything is “beautiful” over and over again. Especially, when I’m not feeling beautiful or don’t want the pressure of being beautiful. Instead, give me a real correction. Tell me where to go from here. Teach.
#5. You can ask a question without feeling like you’re ruining the experience for everyone.
I’ve seen classes get totally derailed because a student asked a question. If the answer to the question will help everyone, then it should be addressed. If the answer to the question will only help that person, take care of it after the class is over, or before the next yoga session the student attends.
#6. You’re given individual attention at some point during the session.
You showed up on their mat. You took the time out of your crazy busy life. You deserve to feel supported and seen as you move through the practice.
#7. You feel connected to you and to everyone else participating in the practice.
If you showed up to a livestream class or to a studio, you came to share your practice with others. You shouldn’t feel all alone. Your work and energy should be celebrated. You should feel like you belong to the community of people with you moving through the session.
#8. You feel challenged at some point.
The challenge is what makes it fun. And, it’s what makes you want to show up again and again. Do not avoid the challenging classes. I promise you, it’s what creates positive change for you bit by bit as you step on your mat day after day.
#9. There is a level of discipline being asked of you.
The discipline isn’t there to frustrate you, but to help you clean up some of the fuzzy spots in your practice and in your life.
Do you always reach for your water when that posture you hate pops up in the class? Do you always reach for your phone when you feel uncomfortable or bored away from your mat? They’re the same thing.
You’re going to get better at being here now and dealing with what’s in front of you. And, that is a valuable lesson.
#10. You feel better about yourself, the people in your life, and the world as a whole when you walk away from your mat and into the rest of your day.
And, overall if that is accomplished, know in your heart, that it was a really great class.
Here's wishing you a life full of really great yoga classes. Because more of us need to be found lying in Savasana with goofy grins on our faces.
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