On yoga teachers, bendiness, and favorites

Since arriving in Chile, I’ve been on a hunt for the perfect yoga studio and the perfect class. In yogaspeak, I’m looking for a power yoga or ashtanga vinyasa class because I like the flow and athletic challenge. If my writing style is any indication, I can’t meditate for sh*t because my mind is too dang active. It never quiets down. Ever. Seriously. Internally, I’m like that kid you meet and wonder if their parents spike their applesauce with speed: random, awkward, anxious, and, at times, innocently putting my fingers in electrical outlets. Hence, the Kundalini classes I tried weren’t what I was looking for.

In any case, I settled on a studio not far from my apartment that offers Iyengar and an, er,  interesting walk home. And I liked it. I really liked it. In February. With the substitute teacher. She was so friendly and encouraging. But everyone kept murmuring “Just wait until the maestra returns from vacation…” It was obvious this maestra was quite revered.

After the first class I understood why. I became convinced that in a previous life she was either a:


or a malleable glob of this:


The implication (if you are having a hard time following my clip art) is that she is the most limber instructor I’ve ever had.Hands down. Like if you imagine your favorite yoga instructor had a baby with a  circus freak, and that baby turned out to have a genetic mutation that allowed them to bend waaaay beyond what is earthly possible – like a human spiral – then you might be imagining this instructor. She’s crazy talented in a way that implies that it’s not even talent – it’s effortless. More power to her, right?  Or something like that. I’ll admit, I’m envious. I mean, how cool would it be to be all “Yeh, I see that teacup on the HIGHEST shelf, let me grab it with my foot!” Pretty freaking awesome, huh?

And she’s nice, too. To her favorites. You know, the people who have been going to the studio for five years and could almost teach it. And I’m new, something she makes plainly visible every time she corrects my poses or makes me use a prop, so that in the end (pardon the yoga jargon again) I feel like I’m doing a restorative class which is not what I’m paying for.

And you should hear her praise her favorites! Oh she goes on and on about their precision and alignment and how beautiful and wonderful it is. “Sara, please try to be more like Maria. Can you tighten your pelvis like she is and lock out your knees?” In the meantime, Maria’s foot has found its way off her mat and is so precise and aligned that it’s dangling only an inch above my nose.

Yes, it may be time to go studio hunting again. If you know of a good one, let me know.

Like yoga cat, I haz skillz. I think.

12 responses to “On yoga teachers, bendiness, and favorites

  1. First of all – I’m pretty sure it’s not good form to lock ANY joints – i’ve heard you don’t use your muscles as much when you lock out your joints AND you might overextend which is bad.

    Secondly, it is SOOO not cool to play favourites like. Perhaps you should just mention that you don’t like her condescending attitude? (I say that all brave from a hemisphere away…)

    • And, see, that’s exactly what I thought! But it’s like if I don’t lock my knee then I get corrected. And it seems I get corrected more than everyone else. I’m better than some of them, but I think it’s easy to correct me because I stand out.

  2. Is there anyone more annoying than a yoga (or pilates or step or bootcamp) instructor’s favorite?? The ones who are always at the front of the class moving on to the next pose a second before the teacher and taking themselves much too seriously? Yeah, I hate those guys…

  3. :o, When I was a shorty, I had an English teacher who would tell you to be more like the two uber-brainiacs in class. I could not stand that woman. You just don’t do that to people…

    I hope that you do find another studio soon because your teacher, to put it mildly, doesn’t sound cool at all.

    • And, see, here is where I’m not entirely sure if that’s just her personality or if it’s really just cool in Chile to show obvious favoritism like that. In any case, it’s annoying.

  4. Morning!
    I’m visiting from SITS! What a fun read…love your blog! Stop by if you get a chance! Have a wonderful day!

  5. studiovalparaiso

    Asi mismo me tienen en el trabajo, creo ser “el favorito” de mi jefe y la verdad me da lata, no me gusta que me destaquen, ni tampoco recibir medallas ni que me feliciten en publico, en fin nada que tenga que ver con reconocimientos. Pero supongo que pasa en todos lados y en todos los trabajos y agrupaciones con gente que se desempeña en alguna disciplina. En lo laboral, creo que genera envidia y unas malas relaciones entre colegas. Yo creo que debo ser catalogado como el “lame botas del jefe” porque siempre me usa de ejemplo para todo “que Cbass aquí, Cbass acá, mírenlo a él como se empeña y blablabla”. Que lata! En fin. También he estado en ese lado donde me ha tocado escuchar alabanzas de parte de profes los cuales tienen su “favorito” que lo hace mejor que el resto y en vez de ser una motivación se convierte en desmotivación. Que fome, pero la verdad, si es muy molesto y no aguantas las “humillaciones”, yo que tu, dejo de ir y me busco otro studio de una. corta.


  6. Ick, that’s not good. I hate instructors like that – they should be encouraging. I’d definitely be on the lookout for another class if I were you. :S

  7. If you like athletic type of yoga, try Bikram yoga, a super intense work out in a room heated to 40C.Absolutely awesome :)

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