Yoga classes are only for girls. I don’t think I’ll get a good workout from Pilates. I’m not flexible enough to get on a reformer. Maybe getting into yoga will make my back issues go away.
As an instructor who teaches mind and body classes – that’s the umbrella term for yoga, Mat Pilates, Body Balance and bodyART classes – I’ve heard clients say things like these at one time or another.
Maybe you’ve said these things yourself, but have you ever stopped to think about what goes on inside the heads of the instructors?
Here’s a compilation of 10 things different mind and body instructors wish they could tell you:
#1 Breathing to release is not a gimmick. You REALLY need to do it.
‘Some people don’t pay much attention at all to breathing. I wish they’d listen when I say “breath to release”. Most of the members, when they stretch, stay in tension and try to engage muscles even more, instead of taking a few deep breaths and relaxing. Instead of getting all the benefits of the stretch, they strain their muscles. Seriously guys, breathing is the key and will improve your experience.’
– Tatiana, Body Balance instructor
#2 Taking care of yourself is important. Don’t cheap out on your own health!
‘Once I had someone come to my class with herniated discs in L4 and L5, cervical spondylosis and ZERO body awareness. I didn’t let her in. She was upset. I suggested a private session, and she said it was too expensive and asked for a discount. This client had the latest phone and was wearing designer clothes. I was peeved she was so willing to spend on other, more expensive things, but when it came to her own health she asked for a discount!’
– Gabby, Yoga Instructor
#3 Clean your feet
‘Please clean your feet. Your feet and your face will be on the same mat. And there will be times when I have to adjust or assist you. I might have to touch your feet and your face (not that I would intentionally do that). It will almost be like a foot to face experience!’
– Divine, Pilates, bodyART, and Body Balance instructor
#4 Wear the right leggings
‘Consider wearing high waist leggings or leggings one size up so they can keep your butt covered no matter what the pose. No one wants a full view of your ass crack or underwear.’
– Dana, Pilates instructor
#5 We are not doctors. But please tell us when you have an injury so we don’t make it worse.
‘I sometimes get students who come to my class with injuries as serious as herniated discs. Usually it’s because they don’t want to spend money on a doctor and they think that joining my class is a cheaper alternative. It’s not. You can actually make your injury worse, especially if you don’t tell me you have it in the first place.’
– Peewee, Yoga & Swing Yoga instructor
#6 But I don’t need to hear you breathing.
‘I don’t remember teaching you to breathe by snorting or hissing in class. Breathing does not have to be too audible. You are not Darth Vader.’
– Kate, Pilates instructor
#7 It’s not a competition. You’re not impressing anyone.
‘Some clients like to show off especially with poses like the three legged dog. Woohoo your leg is all the way up in the air. But now your body alignment is wrong.’
– Lee, Yoga instructor
#8 No, really. You don’t have to do the advanced option.
‘Listen to your body and work within your limits for the day. If you’re wobbling, it means your body isn’t prepared to handle the advanced option yet. No one will judge you for choosing to do the easier option, but we will judge you if you insist on being a wobbly distraction.’
– Melany, Yoga instructor
#9 We can tell when you’re pretending to be in pain.
‘Some clients like to glare at me and look as if they’re in excruciating pain, even when we’re just doing a Warrior II pose. I think they try to make me feel guilty so I don’t transition into the harder poses.’
– Fran, Yoga instructor
#10 Smiling is completely allowed
‘It’s okay to smile in class! Lighten up a little and loosen up, there’s no rule saying you can’t smile and have fun in a mind and body class. Frowning does not make you stretch better.’
– Rica, Pilates and Body Balance instructor