No Such Thing as ‘Bad at Yoga’

I felt so sad to hear a young man with whom I was having a conversation with about his fitness and nutrition regime.

He had quite a good regime in place, no less.  He seemed to really understand the concepts of how to eat properly throughout the day as well as what to eat around the time of a workout.  In addition, he was clearly dedicated to his exercise routine, going four to five times per week to a strength & conditioning class and he recently added yoga into the picture, too.

I thought it all sounded great until he said, “I love what I’m doing…I just wish I didn’t suck so much at yoga”.

When I asked him why he’d said that, he explained it was because he had to use props in class, including a belt and blocks and also because he couldn’t hold some of the poses as long as other students could and finally, because he felt far less flexible than others as well.

So in his mind, that meant he ‘sucked at yoga’.  

Fortunately, his perception hasn’t led to him quitting the practice but it brought to my attention how important it is for instructors to make their entire class feel welcome and also to emphasize some simple facts such as:

  • Whether or not one chooses to use props in class has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not they’re a good student or not, or how advanced they are
  • Further, there really is no such thing as a good student; the whole premise of yoga is accepting where we are right now, without judgement

And just as much as it’s the teacher’s responsibility to ensure all the students have proper alignment, it should also be clear that one thing is not better than another thing.  For example, a student who has been practicing for years and can do and hold a properly aligned arm balance isn’t ‘better’ than a newer student who’s working on correct arm position on downward facing dog.

Ya dig?

If you’re in a yoga class and it’s feeling competitive, or as though the teacher’s not clearly explaining everything or doing anything to make you feel anything other than peaceful and welcome, you may want to check out another instructor’s class.

You simply can’t be ‘bad at  yoga’. It’s a practice!  If it weren’t it would be called something else.