I was already emotionally raw.
I had just completed an amazing workshop in Chicago with Molly Boeder-Harris of The Breathe Network on Trauma-Informed Yoga. I'm already an instructor of Trauma-Informed Yoga, and this workshop added so much to toolbox! I felt like I was in a safe space with like-minded people who genuinely cared about survivors of trauma, specifically survivors of sexual violence. I got teary-eyed at one point when we all shared our names and background, and so many of us identified as survivors. My own experiences of sexual violence were drudged up, but they didn't upset me as much as they could have, because I was with this group of people who really understood. I left elated, and more assured than ever that I'm doing what I'm meant to do.
I get back to Madison and go to the typical Sunday night Slow Flow yoga class that I had been going to for a while. None of the yoga studios in Madison suit me, but this one was slightly less shitty than some of the others. I went to the class not knowing a sub was teaching it, and that's when shit started to hit the fan.
The teacher, whom I'm sure is a very nice person, began teaching, what I would refer to as a Power Flow class. Now, look--I'm all for Power Flow classes, WHEN I'M IN THE MINDSET OF IT. I picked to go to this particular class, BECAUSE it was labeled "Slow Flow." A Slow Flow class does not start off with three sets of sit-ups. A Slow Flow class does not incorporate as many chaturanga push-ups as you can possibly do.
I rarely go to Power Flow classes these days, because I don't feel that they serve me as well--physically, spiritually, or mentally. I love flowing, but I love doing so slowly and at my own pace--not aerobically.
As of late, I have specifically picked more restorative classes and Slow Flow classes, because most of the individuals who teach these classes seem to already be utilizing elements of Trauma-Informed Yoga. There seems to be less (if any) commanding language in these classes (ex. "Move your feet to the top of your mat" becomes "If it feels good..." or "I invite you...").
I didn't feel safe or at ease in the yoga class I recent attended with this particular instructor. I wanted to leave, but felt I couldn't. I felt trapped. And that's an awful feeling.
After the class, I expressed my anger on my personal Facebook page about this class and instructor (without naming her), and someone who teaches at this particular studio--who I was Facebook friends with (not anymore!)--took a screenshot of my post and showed it to the manager of the studio. The manager then emailed me to say how upset they were by this, and that the particular instructor I criticized is "a wonderful human being and one of our most beloved teachers both on and off the mat."
So, not only was my trust and privacy betrayed (very few of my Facebook statuses are public), but the manager of this yoga studio didn't even care to address the feedback I had given regarding this instructor.
I have since terminated my membership with that studio.
I feel very upset for any other survivors of sexual violence who may be triggered, like I was, in a yoga class at this particular studio. And I will, from now on, never take a yoga class from someone who is substituting (unless I know them) ever again.