I had an interesting experience recently that I need to share with my yoga blog world. Perhaps some of you have experienced this and I’m wondering how you and your class handled it.
I lead a Power Vinyasa session in the Rocket Series tradition as created by Larry Shultz of It’s Yoga, San Francisco, once a month on Saturday. It is the follow-through on a workshop that the studio has hosted twice now and the students really enjoyed, myself included.
The usual suspects gathered on Saturday and we had one guest attend. As we began with our suyra namakar A’s and B’s, we all immediately noticed this practitioner was much more advanced in the practice than we are. Amazingly advanced. This practitioner was noodle-like in their poses, solid in their inversions, and seemed to almost levitate as the moved between each.
I’ve always felt that a person attending one of my classes should feel free to modify the pose to fit their body, to take a vinyasa if their body asks for it, or to do a variation on a pose, but I was rather floored when this practitioner did forearm balances during vinyasa’s, twisty-bendy things during other asana and I’m not entirely certain, but I think every single pose we moved through they did something different. It was nearly all I could do to keep my concentration on the session and to move the rest of the class forward. I know the class was covertly rubber necking when they could. Some admitted later they were just flat out watching.
I had the opportunity to talk to the practitioner after class and they were pleased with the session and thanked me for not pestering them about not doing vinyasa’s and sun sals because they don’t care for them. I admit I was greatly perplexed because they really didn’t do the session per say, they just did their own thing…the whole class. I’d like to add here, that I have had advanced practitioners before, but they’ve always followed the session and quietly slid in the subtle advanced poses. I’ve never had someone go so completely free-form on me.
So, dear practitioners and teachers, have you had this happen to you? Have you ever had such an incredibly advanced student attend one of your sessions and do something different the whole class? How do you accommodate the advanced practitioner? I can’t say ‘student’, because when they are working at that level, I’m only providing a framework for a session. I look forward to your thoughts and comments.