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Writing Blog 3

If You Don't Like The Yoga Class, Don't Be Afraid To Leave

Roderick Campbell

by Janne Robinson

Don’t settle: Don’t finish bad books. If you don’t like the menu, leave the restaurant. If you’re not on the right path, get off it.” ~ Chris Brogan

I went to a yoga studio for the first time in Boulder, Colorado today and hated it.

I didn’t like my teacher before the class started. I didn’t like the “Is your yoga mat enlightened?” sign by the dirty yoga mat bin as I walked into the studio.

The teacher spoke too loud—like a drill sargent.

I appreciate power, but today, for me, it was too loud, too much. He was preachy and said “yogi” so many times I wanted to gag.

Although I do yoga, and write for a yoga publication, I don’t completely buy into the “yogic” culture—I don’t drink all the Kool-aid. I do yoga to ground, to breathe, to take care of myself. I’m not looking to get “enlightened.” I don’t care about being so flexible I can lick my ass.

That being said, I love yoga.

I also know what kind of yoga I love, which is Sattva.

Everyone and their grandma and their dog is a yoga teacher, and I think we need to accept that we won’t connect with all yoga practices, just like we can’t possibly like everyone.

Halfway through the yoga class, when I had done my millionth lunge, the teacher was speaking so loudly I couldn’t focus on anything but his voice. I wasn’t grounded, I was irritated. I was irritated by the woman who was moaning like she was having an orgasm after every posture.

I’m all for letting go, and I know that if I feel uncomfortable with someone’s moaning and groaning, there is likely a mirror and lesson there for me to learn—if I want to learn it.

I didn’t want to learn anything today—I wanted her to stop moaning.

All of a sudden the words entered my brain, “If you don’t like the menu, leave the restaurant.”

If this yoga studio was a restaurant, I would have left.

I didn’t, although I had the choice. I struggled with the people-pleaser in me, who wanted to honor this man’s practice and energy. I brought it up with the two women I went to class with after, and they mirrored some of my sentiments, like wanting to leave other classes in the past when they are not feeling connected, and also how sensitive it can feel as a yoga teacher to have students leave your class.

But I stopped being a people-pleaser some time ago—how is this any different?

Next time, if I don’t like the teacher, I’m just going to leave the class. I am not accountable for anyone else’s feelings, actions or thoughts. There might be an awkward moment where a teacher’s feelings are hurt, but the blunt of it is that I don’t like every person that I meet.

I don’t like all the music on the radio.

I think some art is shit.

We don’t have to like every yoga teacher.

And yoga teachers also don’t have to like every student that comes to their class—I’m sure they don’t.

It’s just as important to know what you don’t like, as what you do.

We should be allowed to say, “This isn’t for me” without feeling guilty or worried about stepping on toes.

My motto today is: If you don’t like the yoga class, don’t be afraid to leave.

My time would have been better spent eating my turkey sandwich with the non enlightened dirty yoga mats in the hallway than struggling though the last 30 minutes of class I truly wasn’t enjoying or connected to.