Have You Ever Gone to a Fitness Class You Didn’t Like Just Because the Instructor Was Nice?


When I first moved to Brooklyn, I found out (through some creative Googling) about a restaurant near my apartment that hosts yoga classes in its spare room on Monday nights. So cool, right? (Also, can you tell I live in the hipster capital of the world?) I really, really wanted to make it to class, but things kept coming up at work…and then the instructors put the class on hiatus during the winter.

A few weeks ago, the classes started back up again and I finally made it out to one. The instructors were super friendly, chatting with everyone beforehand and encouraging people to stay afterward to grab drinks with them. I was really looking forward to the class itself…but then it turned out to be not my style. At all. I like it when instructors really talk you through the sequence and give pointers on poses that may be unfamiliar/tricky. But we moved from pose to pose so quickly in this class that I felt like there was no time to set myself up in the proper form each time—let alone get specific instruction and guidance from the teachers. Also, I felt like the worst yogi in the room by far. (I know you’re not supposed to compare yourself to other people in the room, and I’m generally pretty good about this—but it’s no fun when you just feel like you’re out of your element and everyone else is in a different league than you.)

So you’d probably assume that I didn’t go back, right? Well, I did. I’m a strong believer in giving new fitness classes a couple of tries since it’s usually hard to tell how much you’ll like it right away. But a funny thing happened after I came back a couple more times. First, my feelings about the instructors’ style of yoga didn’t change. Second, I started to feel obligated to keep coming because the instructors were so sweet and enthusiastic. They remembered my name every time I came back and told me not to worry if I was ever running late because of work—that they’d save a mat for me. I know it’s crazy, but I felt guilty for even thinking about not coming back. These classes had essentially turned into pity workouts.

It wasn’t until I got a reminder e-mail about an upcoming class—and noticed how much it filled me with dread—that I realized I needed to decide whether the benefit I got from talking to these nice instructors outweighed the stress that dragging myself to a class that wasn’t a good fit for me was causing. While I do think there are obvious benefits to liking the people teaching your fitness class (or liking the people with whom you’re attending a class), I chose not to continue going to this particular yoga class. It’s funny, though, that I would feel so compelled to keep going in the first place.

Has anything like this ever happened to you? If so, how did you handle it? I’d love to hear about it!


photo: courtesy of localfitness.com.au

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