Yoga like a dog – It is about how you make people feel

They may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel.
—Carl W. Buehner

How would you feel, if during a yoga class…

  • You would be asked to think that you are a dog
  • You would be asked to wig your tail. And told, that there is a nice audience behind.
  • You would be asked to howl. As a pack. Because you are dogs. People chant, dogs howl.
  • You would be asked to kick your neighbours butt during an asana.
  • Your neighbour would actually kick your butt.

Attendees of summer 2017’s last Duke of York Square Sunday session by Lululemon could experience all this by first hand.

The class was likely created or modified rather spontaniously, on a whim, as it went.

The class was instructed by a charming couple. They were teaching for the first time together. Their knowledge and attentiveness can not be undermined. Before start of the class, they asked each and every participant individually if they had any injuries affecting their practice.

The class started with a reference to puppies. Puppies know, how to play, be friendly, be curious and rest when needed. I found the allegory fascinating. Everyone who has had the priviledge to spend days with puppies knows, how their energy levels change from 0 to 100 and back.

Thanks to the male instructors exteremely shooting voice (think about Andy from Headspace), the class could have been blissful. I was looking forward to an hour of flow in the sun.

After the analogy, the practice continued with the tail wigging (in my terms still understandable – mention about the audience could have been left out), continuing to howling (silence on my mat). I firmly would like to believe that kicking neighbour’s butt was meant at a joke, but my neighbour really saw a target in front of her. For the instructor this was only more encouragement for the next set of asanas.

Lesson of the story – not everyone is fond of everyone’s teaching style. I am sure some of the participants appreciated the light hearted, funny approach to yoga. This proves only, that when we are talking about how to make someone feel, one way does not fit all.

The style of the teaching, not meaning only technique, but also the general spirit of the class, provides a major opportunity for instructors to diversify themselves.

Do you want to be guided by the funny one? The cool one? The easy-going one? The spiritual one? The functional one? The scientific one? The serious one? The silent one? The touching one?

You can never have it all at once.