Now hold on a cotton-picking minute!

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I don’t like to be told what to do. And I certainly don’t like to be told if I DON’T do said item, I will fail-guaranteed. Let me explain…
Last night in my Yoga Teacher/Holistic Coach Training class, our instructor was running through a list of items we are to adopt on our road to teaching/coaching—are we meditating, are we eliminating (important question in Ayurveda, and she put it in terms a 3 year old would get), are we eating vegetarian, etc. Each time she asked a question we would raise our hands if we had made a habit of doing it. She then asked if we were taking yoga classes, and several of us left our hands at our sides and looked at the floor. One of the students asked if there were a minimum number of classes to take to develop a practice. And the flood gates opened. Our instructor went on a virtual tirade about the importance of taking yoga, and how SHE fits it into her week, and how there was NO WAY, NONE, that we would be successful in the training class if we did not make yoga a practice. She guaranteed it. She said those that did not create a yoga practice would look at their fellow students who did yoga and reflect on the year and realize they were woefully alone.
My immediate reaction was HOLD THE F*!@ING PHONE. In the past two months or so, we have committed to 4 hours a week of class, did a four week cleanse, scheduled our days from waking to sleep, started to eat vegetarian, learned how to cook to be a vegetarian, started a meditation practice, initiated a morning routine, spent time in nature, and did some soul searching homework among other things. To me, right there, many students have benefited, myself included. Many of us work full time, some have children, and we are all trying to juggle all these new things we need to do. If yoga was so critical, why are we only required to attend 20 classes in a year for the certification? Many of the students are taking the training to better themselves mind, body and spirit, not to become a yoga teacher. When I mentioned that I was not intending to teach yoga, the negative vibe was palpable. I considered the whole interaction a major shift of the usual positive energy of the training class to a negative one for the night.
For perspective, I thought about my personal trainer, who I adore, I will call him B. Every day he writes up my workout, and most days we “negotiate”. I tell him what I will do, and what I would like an alternative for. I don’t just remove the item I don’t want to do, I ask him what is he trying to accomplish with said item, and could he offer an alternative? He always does and I get the same kick-ass workout as others who do exactly what is written on the board. I asked him why he allows me to negotiate—he said to make someone do something that really don’t want to do creates a bad vibe, and they will not to do it well, resent every moment they are doing it, and ultimately not benefit in their body or mind.
Now I have every intention of starting a yoga practice, and I don’t deny its value. I also understand the importance of a strong coach and passion for something you love, but it is all in the presentation. I don’t like to feel bullied and I don’t like scare tactics. Many people in class already have self-esteem issues, depression issues, and anxiety issues, and then they are subjected to this? I consider myself lucky to not have those issues, yet I was still affected by the speech.
A few blogs ago I wrote about empathy, and I employed that practice with my instructor, as I believe there was probably something behind the scenes that brought this speech to life. We will move forward, and continue on our journey, and benefit from all that we learn. Like my yoga buddhi, S, said that night, “I think we will all be different a year from now”. Amen.

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