Tuesday, May 17, 2011

First studio class in Oxford

Well, actually this was a while ago, but life has been moving so fast lately, in lots of lovely ways, and I have been working and traveling for work which has kept me busy and away from blogging!

Anyway, studio class #1 was a led Ashtanga primary at a small studio in North Oxford.  Which had the first disadvantage of being nowhere near where I live.  Undeterred, I cycled the 25 minutes up there with my 8lb yoga mat on my back!

Entering the class, I found the studio space to be a simple room, small-ish, but charming.  The teacher was a young woman who was sitting at the front of the room.  When I came in, she was speaking to a middle-aged man.  I stripped off my outdoor clothes and set up my mat, and waited for a chance to introduce myself.  To no avail.  So I spent the first 10 minutes of the class listening (hard not to, in such a small room) to this closed conversation being held in public.  Class came, class went.  After class - same thing!! I didn't know how much the class cost, and had to wait, along with a few other students, for 5-6 minutes before the teacher broke her (very earnest indeed) conversation with this same student for a brief instant to inform me of the price!

The class itself was nothing special.  Primary is primary, and while the teacher was a very talented asana-ist  - and it is always wonderful and motivating to see super-strong yoginis doing amazing things! - the teaching itself was a bit awkward and wooden, slow in some places, fast in others, unequal holds on different sides.  I give her the benefit of the doubt in assuming that she was new to teaching, and nonetheless I enjoyed the practice. She also gave me some very nice adjustments.  But will I be going back to pay my £10 (US $16) there?  I think not.

After so many years of a home practice, it was an interesting reminder of the dynamics of a studio class, and of just how important a teacher's attitude is in setting the atmosphere for a practice.  I know I have been guilty of having one-on-one conversations before a class - and my first forays at teaching don't even bear thinking about in terms of unequal holds, mixing up left and right, forgetting poses, and all those things.

Tomorrow night - work and general tiredness levels permitting - I'm going to try an intermediate class that has me hoping for better!  First of all it is only a 5 minute cycle from my apartment.  Second, when I emailed the teacher she answered the same day and told me that she had trouble describing what type of yoga she taught, but that it would be very active, with breathing and meditation to start, and 10 mins of relaxation at the end.  Sounds like just what I need!

Readers, what are some studio dynamics you have experienced lately?


  1. Really, I just can't imagine teaching a class while carrying on a private conversation with only one person while there's a whole bunch of other people there. Honestly, I think that's rude and showing a lack of awareness and consideration!

    Definitely, finding a class elsewhere sounds like a very good idea. :)

  2. You should try Bella and Manu, they are lovely! http://www.ashtangayogaoxford.org/

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