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The 5 Red Flags You’re in the Wrong Yoga Situation

Apr 29, 2023

If I could tell the younger version of myself that they didn’t have to grin and bear every weird yoga situation they find themselves in, I would take the time and do it. Get me my DeLorean, I will go back in time and do it today.

 But, because I don’t hear Doc Brown banging on my door, I’ll have to settle with sharing my thoughts about some of the situations I’ve encountered through the years, or situations my students have pulled me aside to tell me about. 

These are the 5 red flags that you have stumbled into the wrong yoga situation.

And, because there are so many opportunities to practice yoga in our modern society, if you find yourself in one of these situations please know that you don’t have to stick around. Go try a different class or teacher that is solely focused on you and your practice.

#1. You hear the statement, “This is real yoga.”  

Well, I hate this one the most. What in the heck is that yoga teacher or studio talking about?

Yes, there are tons of different types of classes out there. Yes, there are a-bazillion different modalities. But, it’s all real. I’ve never heard of “fake yoga.” 

I dislike this red flag the most because it’s manipulative.

They are trying to make you think that you are not safe practicing anywhere else, but with them. And, that you should be thanking the heavens you stepped into their class as opposed to anyone else’s because they can help you and no one else can.

It’s bonkers. And, I’ve heard it more than once.

So, if you are a teacher… refrain from saying this. And, if you are student, get out of there.

You came for yoga. Not mind games and one-upmanship.

#2. The teacher airs their dirty laundry while teaching.

I am the teacher that will tell you a story. I think stories help you connect with your students and can be a great tool in driving a point home when it comes to your yoga practice.

But, there’s a line that can be crossed when sharing a story with your class.

You, as the student, should never feel like you’re in your yoga teacher’s therapy session.

If you find yourself consoling your yoga teacher, giving them advice, and checking in to see if their okay… something's way off. 

As a teacher you have to learn to leave your emotional stuff at the yoga studio door. You are there to serve your students and be present for them. Not the other way around. 

#3. The teacher gives you a hands-on correction without your permission.

Yuck.

There should be a system in place. The studio or teacher should have tokens that you can flip up or down to help you easily say yes or no to hands on corrections.

And, even if the token is flipped to the side that says you would like a hands-on correction, the teacher should still ask before they touch you.

AND, when they touch you they should not be moving whole body parts. Light taps with two fingers or a gentle hand is all it takes.

The hands-on correction is there to help you wake up muscles that are disengaged to give you better body awareness.

I’ve had hands-on corrections where I was pushed and pulled in a million ways. Yes, they helped me get deeper into a posture. No, I could not repeat it on my own.

So, please fellow teachers, if you do hands-on corrections make sure you know why you’re doing them. Or, if they are even necessary. 

The more I teach online, the less necessary I believe them to be. There are so many other ways to offer support, guidance and correction.

#4. There’s no opportunity for growth in your practice. 

In this situation you find yourself taking generally the same class again and again… which is fine. 

BUT, there also are no workshops being offered. There’s no chance for further study or digging deeper into an area of the practice.

If you find yourself in this space, having outgrown it, it’s okay to move on and find a place that will allow you keep learning about yoga and yourself.

#5. When you ask a question, you don’t get a real answer.

You should be allowed to ask questions and you should expect an answer that is well thought out and not a guess.

Teachers, it’s totally fine to say, “I don’t know.” But, I also urge you to find out the answer. It’s the way you’ll learn. Because that question will pop up again. 

And, students if the teacher gives you a B.S. answer ask someone else. 

The best-case scenario is you ask a question and if the teacher doesn’t know the answer, they do the work to figure it out and check back with you in 48 hours.

If that’s not what’s happening… take some time to figure out if this is the right place for your practice.

So, these are the 5 red flags I’ve encountered through the years. How about you? Did I miss anything?

Here’s hoping that if we shine a light on these situations that we encounter them less and less. And, when and if we do, we know that we can handle it with ease and take steps to move onward and upward. 

Sending you huge hugs,

Tori ♡ 

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