Yoga instructors are often the calmest people you'll meet, but when their beliefs are grounded in strict yoga principle and technique, they may sometimes put their foot down during practice. Here are some reasons your yoga teacher might reprimand you during class.
- Drinking water: Practicing yoga is about building your energy or prana, otherwise known as your fire. Some by-the-book instructors believe gulping water puts out the fire you're working so hard to create and may say something if you reach for your Klean Kanteen. It's important to hydrate before coming to class, but while you're practicing, you can't always prevent a dry throat or feelings of being overheated. Only you know if you need to drink some water, so if your teacher says something, politely smile, take your sips, and get back to your practice.
- Doing another variation: Yoga instructors take great pride in designing their classes, so when a student strays from a teacher's sequence by doing a different pose, the teacher might not be pleased. Due to injuries and different ability levels, it's imperative to listen to your own body and do the practice that's right for you. Of course, what you do on your mat shouldn't disrupt other people in the class. But if you're quietly doing the more advanced Full Wheel rather than Half Wheel and your instructor gets peeved, chat with them afterward, or try out a class with a more lenient teacher.
- Coming out of a pose too soon: Yoga instructors are there to inspire your practice, which means designing challenging sequences of poses. Sometimes it's too much, and if your quad is burning after the sixth variation of Warrior 1, I can understand needing to straighten your leg to come out of the pose. It's great for an instructor to encourage deeper stretches in poses, but only you know your body and what it needs. If an instructor makes you feel bad for taking a break, then they may not be the nurturing teacher you need.
Keep reading for more reasons your yoga instructor might yell at you.
- Wiping sweat: You can't help but drip with perspiration when taking hot yoga classes like Bikram. Wiping off the sweat that's pouring down your face seems like an innocent thing to do, but some instructors see it as a distraction, taking focus off your breath. Personally, I find it hard to concentrate when my vision is blurred by sweat, so it's difficult not to reach for a towel. If your instructor doesn't agree, just grab the towel when they're not looking.
- Adjusting your clothes: All those Up Dogs and Down Dogs can shift your shirt, exposing your lower back or your girls. If your instructor makes a comment about futzing with your outfit, it's only because they feel it's another distraction taking focus off your practice. It really is annoying to have to deal with a wardrobe that won't cooperate, so avoid the issue altogether and wear something that's so comfortable and well-fitting that you won't have to give one thought to your clothes.
- Talking to your neighbor: This is understandable, because you're not only taking attention away from your own practice, but it's also a distraction to the person you're talking to and the other students who can hear you. Be respectful of the instructor and your fellow yogis and save the conversations for after class.
- Leaving before Savasana: While some yogis go to class just for this last pose, others feel it is a waste of time and sneak out of class to avoid it. Resting at the end of your practice gives your muscles a break, allows for some quiet time with your breath, and enables you to soak up all the amazing physical and emotional feelings brought about by your yoga practice. Since this pose is so important, instructors might get upset if you skip it. My advice: it's only about five or 10 minutes, so enjoy it. If you have to leave early for other reasons, let your instructor know before class, and tiptoe out before everyone lies down.