This week I started attending free yoga classes at my college's new fitness center. The classes are mixed level, but mostly folks who are very new to yoga. I'm not a master by any means, but I like my asana with plenty of fire...or at least a good flow between poses. ANYWAY, my body's telling me to move faster and un-modify the poses (especially during Sun Salutations), but I feel awkward about it. I don't want to step on anyone's proverbial toes or seem rude.
This is only my second time taking classes with a group, so I was wondering about your perspective and what the general etiquette on 'doing your own thing' is in the classroom.
here is my take on it. i have been in classes where people are doing there own moves and seemingly ignoring the teacher. some stay in savasana the whole time. One side of me thinks why come to class if you are not going to do what the teacher is instructing. the other side of me says yoga is so individual even if you are in a group. i sometimes need savasana or childs pose while others continue the flow or (as one of my teacher says) if you are feeling frisky then jump into this or that pose. Overall my best advice is talk to the teacher and get their view. maybe there is a better type or time for you or they can give variations that might help you out.
good luck. have fun.
You bring up a great issue. As a power vinyasa yoga teacher, I am confronted with this challenge at almost every class, because people's bodies are so diverse. Here is my suggested multi-pronged approach to your situation:
- Talk with the teacher after class and ask her to provide more challenging variations during class for you.
- It is distracting to students and the teacher when one student is doing totally different poses than the rest of the class (unless it is child's pose or savasana). If you are going to continue taking these classes, honor your body's needs for challenging variations but be aware of not going to far off the path, in order to respect the class.
- Remember that a big lesson to learn through yoga practice is patience and slowing down. Beginners who are physically fit tend to want to rush once they get the basic gist of the postures and sequence. This is a phase that most practitioners move beyond- you actually get way more out of your practice when you slow it down. Besides focusing and calming your mind, it physically challenges you to move with intense core control and grace that is easily fudged when you whip through the sequence.
- Practice at home! Roll out a mat- there are no rules when you are alone. You can move as fast as you want. =)
- Along the same lines, I assume that as a student the fact that these classes are free is key and you might not have money to go to lots of classes at a yoga studio, but if you go to 1 or 2 studio classes a month that challenge you and fit your inclinations, you can practice what you learn at home and you might get more out of it.
Hope this helps, and have fun!
I agree with what the others are saying about talking to the teacher. Just go up to her/him after class and tell them how much you love coming to their class/like their soothing voice/into their style (insert here whatever you like and why you keep coming back) and nicely add that you would like some further instruction on how to possibly deepen some poses. Things you can do that are not distracting: downward dog- do three legged dog or even dolphin which is sometimes harder for me; warrior II, lunges, side angle, etc- bind, but be careful and do not push yourself and perhaps get some guidence on proper binding if you usually don't; in poses where the teacher advises to use a block, use the floor (be careful here, too, because the most important reason to use blocks is to maintain alignment so if you have good alignment, leave the block out); in sun salutations- instead of stepping back into downdog or up into uttanasana jump back. In general, also, you can keep yourself moving even in stationary poses. Like in downdog instead of just staying in the pose, transition between downdog and plank. Just keep in mind that even though your body may be telling you to move faster, the most important thing is to stay with your breath; do not move quicker than your breath, instead make sure you are synchronizing your breathing with your movements.
If you don't want to seem rude or out of line, have a hardcore practice at home and designate this classroom time as a sort of rejuvenation or bonding with your fellow humans. Don't see it as a practice about "you"; look at it as if you are connecting with like minded people to help mature your mind, body, and soul. If you view your classroom practice as a form of selflessness, it will manifest into something you could ultimately find useful or even healing. Stick with it, though, girl. Community is what makes the heart of practice beat <3. Peace.