I’ve started taking yoga twice a week. I’ve done yoga off and on for 40+ years, not consistently, and it’s been a while since I was in a class. And let’s face it, I’m old and creaky. Which is one of the reasons I want to get back into yoga.
The instructor is a young guy–I’m guessing around 25-- and very earthy and crunchy-granola, which is absolutely fine with me. Example: Thursday it was 28 degrees here and he parked his car, walked across the street, and let us students into the studio, and *he wasn’t wearing any shoes. *I asked him, “Why aren’t you wearing shoes?” (in a tone that was purely curious and did not contain-- I promise-- any note of reprimand or WTF?) and he shrugged and said with a flower-child sort of expression that I haven’t seen since the '60s, “Don’t need 'em.”
But I digress. The class is small, in a very cool, arty, slightly shabby downtown loft, and I really like the way he teaches it. It’s slow, stretchy, there’s a fair amount of breath work, we hold poses a long time, and he ends with a guided meditation, which I like.
I’m old enough to be the parent or grandparent of all the dozen or so students (I’m 65). But you know what? I couldn’t even do some of the poses when I was their age. Aside: I detest the Sun Salutation with… well… with the passion of a thousand suns. And I felt that way about it when I was 24 years old.
This is the crux of my question: when I’m slow getting into a pose, or having trouble with left and right (a problem I’ve had since toddlerhood, caused, according to my research, by the fact that I never crawled, but just stood up and walked one day), he comes over and very gently helps me. But that’s very distracting to me. I’d rather just take my time and get there when I get there. I don’t feel competitive with anyone and I’m fine with being the Old Lady in class. He’ll bring me blocks or blankets and shove them very nicely under various parts of my anatomy. Or he’ll say, “Just do this (and demonstrate) instead of the pose.” I’d rather he didn’t. It breaks my concentration. I know when to use a block, and I’m reallyreally familiar with the poses, even if I can’t reproduce them.
I know he wants to help and thinks he IS helping. He probably imagines that I want help, which might be what I imagined when I was his age and saw someone much older than me appearing to struggle with something. I’m actually NOT struggling, just taking it slow. I know yoga has benefits at all levels of skill and proficiency. I’m counting on that.
He is a very nice guy and it was when he substituted at another studio where the yoga is much more athletic (and I didn’t want that), that I followed him to this studio. I want a slow, meditative, non-interactive experience, where I can focus on what I can do at the pace I can do it.
Please suggest actual sentences I can use to tell him this. Usually I’m not so kid-glove with people. In fact, can be downright blunt in some situations. But for some reason, I feel like I want to be very diplomatic and I don’t want to hurt his feelings. Like him, I can also be “too helpful,” and when people reject my well-intentioned help, I can get my feelings hurt big-time, even as I understand and accept exactly where they’re coming from.
And yeah, I’m prolly overthinking. But that’s what I do.