Have you ever taken a yoga class in which the teacher teaches something really new and fun – a different variation on a standard pose, for example – that fires you up and gets you excited, and you can’t wait to do it again the next class… But then the teacher doesn’t teach it?!?
So, you’re there, in the pose, waiting for that cue to get funky, but it doesn’t come. You think about just going ahead and doing it anyway, but you’re not sure about the etiquette in these situations… Allow me to clear that up for you!
Always, always, always listen to your teacher, even when you don’t want to. There are lots of good reasons why – here are just a few:
1) It’s a sign of respect. Back in the day, yoga teachers and students worked one-on-one, and the teacher was highly revered. The student was expected to do everything the teacher told him (yes, him – yoga was not traditionally practiced by women). Now, your teachers at MYH don’t fancy themselves to be gurus, but they are highly-trained professionals, and should be respected as such. It is simply a mark of respect to follow their guidance and do what they are asking you to do. Of course, if you need to modify for an injury, then go ahead, but it’s always a good idea to give a heads up before class so that the teacher understands why you’re doing your own thing.
2) It’s for the safety of the class. Again, all of your teachers at MYH are super well-trained, and they know what’s best for the class. They can gauge whether or not a variation is appropriate for a group, and they will teach to the ability of the class. Even if you feel you’re more advanced than other students and you feel you can safely do something different, well, see point number one! There is lots of time after class for you to work on other variations – and if you ask, your teacher will generally be more than happy to help you!
3) It helps to maintain the vibe. The best classes are the ones where everyone is in sync and feeding off one another’s energy – everyone is moving together and breathing together, and it just feels amazing… Until someone goes rogue and starts doing their own thing. Then suddenly everyone is distracted. They start looking around, wondering if they missed something, if they should try that too… And then they start comparing themselves, judging themselves and others, and then that beautiful, cohesive vibe is gone!
4) It keeps that pesky ego in check. This is probably the toughest one. Usually, when we want to do something different, it’s to do a “harder” variation. But who does that serve? No one really, except your ego. The Modo series is considered a beginner’s yoga series, and it should be practiced with what we call a “beginner’s mind.” So, while maybe you can bind your arms in triangle, or take wheel instead of bridge, it doesn’t mean you should. In fact, it is usually more challenging to hold back, to be humble, to respect what your teacher is saying, and to look for the learning opportunities that come from that. Hard, right? Yup, but worth it!
We guarantee it – you will learn more and get further in your practice by listening to your teacher, trusting in their expertise and checking your ego than you ever will by busting out into fancy yoga poses.