This afternoon I had a yoga workshop with a visiting teacher. I was very excited to get back to the studio; it’s been over a week since I’ve been to class, and I’ve missed it!
Sadly, this afternoon’s workshop was more aggravating and frustrating than it was informative or engaging. I’m not seeming to have much luck with the workshop piece of this teacher training program…
I was eager for this workshop. The topic was focused on alignment; and specifically about learning how to “read” a body, then how to develop an original sequence of poses customized to the physical needs identified. The workshop promised to be “a unique offering with immediate results!” – and while I don’t believe advertising hype (just as a general rule), I did think the topic sounded super-cool, and very applicable to my own practice (as well as to my teacher training experience). So I was excited!
I arrive at the studio, and the class starts right on time. The instructor spent the first few minutes of the session reviewing “parallel body parts” – basically, the idea that if one part of the body is having issues, a different part of the body will be affected. Yup, makes total sense. Just think about it: If one of your feet has a blister, you will probably favor it, and therefore put more weight/stress on the other foot (sometimes intentionally, sometimes unconsciously). I’m totally tracking; so far, so good.
Then the instructor starts talking about the shoulders – a common area that is out of alignment in many yoga poses. She then starts rapidly discussing (mentioning) various “clues” we can observe to assess whether someone’s shoulders are having issues. But she doesn’t really explain these items; she just states one, then moves to the next. Then says the next one that comes to her mind, and then jumps right into the next one. Many of us in the room are frantically trying to write; but I’m unsuccessful in keeping up. A few minutes later, the teacher says, “I have a really great checklist that covers all of the stuff I’m talking about right now; but I didn’t bring it in with me. So, one of you can give me your email address, and I’ll email it to you tonight, and you can make copies for the class and bring them in tomorrow.”
At this point, I put my pen down in disgust. 1) If you have a “really great checklist”, then how about you bring it in so that we can actually use it during this session? 2) You want one of *us* to make copies for *you*? Um… you’re the teacher here. You’re the one collecting a nice little sum of cash from each of us for this “experience” – and you want one of us to be your damn secretary? Oh no you just didn’t!!
But, yes, she did. And she proceeded to spend the rest of the class session basically having us work with a partner, without giving us much of any instruction of what to do. For example, she would just state, “Assess your partner’s thighs and pelvis” – and then start roaming the room. Great – but can you also tell me how I should be doing that? Apparently not. So I spent 90 minutes working with another poor student who was as equally clueless as I was; and we each basically shared tips and tricks we had learned from other good teachers in our past classes.
In fact, I got to share a super-cool shoulder “trick” I learned several weeks ago from one of the very good instructors in my regular teacher training program; and my partner totally got what I was teaching her! My partner was super impressed; and I gave full credit to the teacher who taught me; but I was also delighted to be able to successfully transmit that information to her. Teaching is powerful – when it’s done right. Or done at all.
Which, sadly, brings me back to this workshop experience. I could go on and on with examples of why this session was pretty crappy; but I won’t. I don’t want to put any more negative energy into this post than already exists. Suffice to say, while I arrived to this session eager and excited, I left disappointed and frustrated – not a good combination. I feel like I wasted money AND time – especially on a beautiful day like today! Again, not a good combination. I guess the “upside” to all of this is that I completed one more program requirement; but I wish I would have learned something as well.