If you’ve ever left one of my group fitness classes feeling frustrated because you couldn’t follow me, I apologize.
As hard as I try to keep my classes ‘all levels’, sometimes I forget that you’re brand new to step class OR you just had a baby OR you’re overweight and self conscious about exercising in public OR the moves are too physically challenging for you OR it takes you a while to learn new choreography.
Maybe none of the above apply to you and sometimes new things are just hard.
Yesterday, I tried a new (to me) style of yoga; hatha flow. I’ve been attending regular hatha classes for a month now, and think that I’m doing okay with the basic poses (if you’ve been silently watching me from the back row, please don’t shatter my confidence by saying anything to the contrary).
I no longer have to look at the instructor when asked to move into downward dog, plank pose, cobra, child’s pose, or warrior I, II or III. Not to say that I don’t need some reminders about form , but I’m at least feeling competent and able to keep up with the rest of the class.
Not so yesterday. While the poses were the same, the speed with which we moved between poses was not. Nothing was held for more than a few seconds (this is actually not a bad thing; nothing worse than poses that are held for what feels like an eternity!). The instructor was fabulous at describing the poses and correcting mistakes, but spoke quickly and too softly for me to hear over the background music. Regular participants were able to follow, but I spent much of the class craning my neck to see what I was supposed to be doing. I left feeling more harried and less relaxed than when I arrived. Precisely the opposite effect I expect yoga to have.
Despite not ‘getting my peace on’ for the day, the class made me stop and think about what it must feel like to be a newcomer in my classes. Yes, sometimes new things are hard, but my job is to make you feel like you had a successful workout, regardless of your fitness level and past experience with exercise.
As much as I encourage new exercisers to enjoy themselves and not get too hung up on the patterns, I understand the desire to ‘get it’, to be able to participate fully and feel good about your effort at the end of the class and how easy it is to get frustrated when you can’t follow along.
I will certainly try hatha flow again; there’s nothing I love more than a physical challenge! Please make sure you rise to the challenge too and come back and see me in step class.
Your recently ‘enlightened’ instructor
Have you ever left a group fitness class frustrated and angry?
Did you go back?