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Don't you ever have complaints?


I have complaints and I take them very seriously. On 2 levels, actually, because I feel like I have to justify my profession as a yoga teacher and therapist. The therapist part is still so new in many countries that when I try to contact osteopaths, physiotherapists or doctors to talk to them, they don't take me seriously because "I'm only one of the yoga people" and therefore I have nothing to bring to the table, if you ask them.

Sometimes I even feel as if I have to do my job MORE than 100% - because this certification isn't validated as a therapeutic tool in todays world. As if I - and all other yoga therapists - don't count because we "haven't been around long enough" for people to get the full picture. So I have to do my job extremely well to make sure that my reputation is unstained.

And, not only do I carry responsibility for my own practice, I carry it for the people I teach, the people they'll tell, and on top of that........ ALL THE PRACTITIONERS OF YOGA! So believe me when I say I really, really want to do my best.

So a 100% positive feedback on google and facebook and mouth-to-mouth is always the best. And I agree, it's nice to see that your reviews are really good and that you have a "high score" when someone checks you out!

...... but I do not learn from it!

I learn - as everyone else - from mistakes. From things I didn't see, or a comment I didn't hear, or even a tone of voice I didn't pick up on!

Yesterday I was getting ready for my new class this autumn and I starting sending messages and letting people know that the class will continue. And my co-worker told me that she'd spoken to someone that was really unhappy and certainly wouldn't come back to my class. I was astounded - firstly I didn't remember her by name, and then because she had had a back injury after my class, and when she told me I hadn't paid attention to her, and she felt as if I didn't take her seriously.

I was so embarrassed about it all - the not remembering her, the way she had felt neglected, the way I found out - I didn't hear it from her, but form a third person - and I wanted to talk to her myself, so I called her and said I was really sorry about the way this had played out, gave her an opportunity to have a private class with me, if interested.

My apology had no response. That is ok! But the problem is that as I didn't know about this injury. By not hearing her, I've risked making yoga "the bad boy" in her story about her injury and chances are that that will never change! Maybe she'll never attend a yoga class again "because the last time I tried it I got an injury!", and I'm really sad about that.

It's never nice to have a complaint because it means that you haven't done your job properly! And when I don't do my job, I risk turning someone of the yoga practice - and that's sad because it really is good for so many ailments! Just because he/she doesn't like the yoga I teach doesn't mean that ALL the yoga is sh*t! Then better find a teacher that fits you better!

"So, what did you learn from this?", you ask? Well, I've learnt that I have to be present and attentive in and after class to even the smallest of hints from my people. Also, I need to remember to tell people about the best teacher they have - their body - so they remember that!

I still advocate that finding your perfect teacher has nothing to do with the type of yoga you do. It has something to do with who your teacher is! Is there a resonance between you? Do you feel safe? Do you feel seen in a group class? Do you feel better afterwards? Do you feel in-tune with the person leading you through a set of asanas where chances are you will move out of your comfort zone - if it's a yes, then you've found Your Teacher and anything is possible.

All this being said.... the best teacher as I've said, to whom you MUST listen, is your body. Not even the most skilled yoga teacher knows what's going on in your body, where your potentials are and where you need to take care - only YOU know that. Maybe your awareness around your body could be better? Don't worry, you can do yoga for that!!

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