Recently, I met a co-owner of a local gym who is interested in bringing me on to teach yoga. It’s a really nice place with an intimate, community feeling. They participate in a system of group fitness classes that is Les Mills-esque, but not quite the same. While yoga is not included in the “system”, the owners are committed to keeping it on their schedule for the 9 or 10 dedicated yoginis who attend regularly.
First of all, I really admire this location for realizing that these group fitness systems address the needs of most, but not all, gym-goers. This particular gym strives to meet the needs of those who are left out. I think that seems like a place where I would enjoy teaching.
Second of all, she told me briefly about the other fitness classes they offer, one similar to Les Mills’s BodyFlow. She mentioned, with a bit of surprise, that her yoginis don’t generally attend this other class.
Why is this? I was not at all shocked that the quiet yoga community in this part of Illinois is, like me, resistant to other more mainstream fitness classes that include touches of yoga. These “yoga hybrid” classes seem to follow a recipe of yoga, pilates, tai chi, meditation, all wrapped up in a mind-body package.
My only experience with BodyFlow wasn’t a great one. I left feeling like the person who wrote the class had seen some asanas in movies or on TV and threw them intermittently into a pilates class, without really understanding the postures. The weird dance-like quality of the tai chi portion is probably offensive to tai chi practitioners, as well. The class definitely lacked a focus on modifications and safe alignment. The music was too loud and the poses way too challenging for people with limited fitness and flexibility. And, the instructor offered to let us SKIP the relaxation. Sigh.
It just seems that if yoga is your “thing”, you shy away from classes like these. Maybe for the same reasons that esteemed literary critics generally don’t join book clubs, and wine connessiours don’t drink Arbor Mist. It’s like a distilled version of your art form. It makes sense to me, but not it a way that I could pin down, without making it sound like we are all superior yoga snobs.
What about you, readers? Do you enjoy “yoga hybrid” classes? Do they feel cheap and narrow-minded to you, or do they do the opposite and open up all sorts of new ways to view poses?
(photo from lesmills.com)