After last week’s yoga class, I realized I was in the wrong class. Doh! I am new to yoga so I didn’t know the difference between Hatha and Vinyasa flow yoga.
Hatha yoga is a gentler, slower paced form of yoga. It becomes physically challenging when you move deeper into the poses and you generally hold them for longer periods of time. It’s a great form of yoga for beginners because the time spent in positions allows you to feel correct alignment and gain awareness in your body. The “practice” is the pose, which are held for multiple breaths.
Vinyasa flow yoga is possibly a little more advanced as you are changing positions quicker with dynamic movements. The “practice” is the journey between the poses, rather than the pose itself.
So, now that we’re on the same page … I was taking Hatha instead of the Vinyasa flow class I signed up for. I found out when, after 2 classes, I seemed to keep coming in late. Apparently, the Hatha class started at 5:30pm and the Vinyasa class started at 6pm. There were no signs on the doors so you would never know which was which unless you were familiar with the teachers.
I truly enjoyed my Hatha class and the teacher was excellent. I talked a little bit about her in my first post about my yoga class. She is maybe in her late 30s to early 40s, short with a wider physique, but still in great shape and had an excellent way of making you feel calm and strong in your efforts. She reminded me of a mom-type figure. Nurturing. You really felt like she was working with you – talking to you.
The Hatha teacher also brought lamps and made the ambiance fitting for relaxation and meditation. It was so nice and incredibly soothing.
Last night, I took my first Vinyasa flow class and my teacher was young, possibly in her 20s to early 30s, super skinny and super cute, too. I talked to her before class to let her know that I wasn’t just an absentee student, but had been in the wrong class. She was totally cool about it and we just joked and stretched.
She did not have lamps so the room was brightly lit and we faced a large mirror (which was distracting mostly). It wasn’t really calming and it made it hard to zone out into that inner place that you’re supposed to go to when you’re meditating and breathing deep.
During class, I found her to be sort of rehearsed in her routine. She basically did the entire workout with us rather than talking us through the poses and making adjustments when she saw that corrections needed to be made. She was also fantastically flexible. She did poses I didn’t even know could be done with your body. I was really impressed, but I felt like she was showing off, too because it is a beginner’s class and no one was doing anything close to what she was doing.
It makes a difference, I think, when your teacher isn’t working with the group instead of just doing exercises in front of you. She wasn’t very personable and when another student asked some questions about her footing in the Down Dog position, the teacher didn’t have very good answers. Of course, this is just my opinion, but it felt like a workout this time rather than a relaxing experience where I also worked my body.
In hindsight, I am so glad I took the wrong class because I would have probably had a negative view of yoga had I taken the Vinyasa class first. Now, to be fair, Vinyasa seems more challenging so just knowing that makes me dread the next class a bit, but being in the class with that teacher doesn’t help either.
Right now, I am not looking forward to the next class. Now, it feels more like something I have to do rather than something I really want to do.
My point, and the positive to take away from this: when taking a class, the teacher really matters. Just like it did in school. If you take a class and you don’t really like it, maybe try again with a different teacher because you just never know. Maybe it was their method. Maybe it was their attitude. Maybe it was just their personality and approach to teaching.
I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t taken the wrong class first. I would have assumed that all yoga teachers were sort of superficial and they all looked amazingly gorgeous. Thankfully, I know better.