Not my cup of “om”

Last week, I took a *bad* yoga class. The asterisks around “bad” exist because all group class experiences are subjective; one person’s train to soul freedom is someone else’s sad trombone. This yoga class was my sad trombone.

Our favorite yoga teacher moved to Korea so last week, I took a class with a different instructor.


(pic from Portland yoga adventures with Anne)

I couldn’t get into my groove for the entire class. Even though I wasn’t expecting the same class I was used to -I’m always excited to take classes from new instructors- it just wasn’t what I love from a hot power yoga class. Instead of moving quickly from one pose to the next, we held them. The transitions were different between poses. We didn’t do any arm balances. And the music… oh man, the music. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. (I basically laid in savasana twitching when a crooning, orchestral track came on. No zen for this girl.)

Yoga  1 of 1 4

I feel badly writing this because I don’t like to be a complainer, but I thought it was worth mentioning since it was on my mind. I heard a few people grumbling outside the studio afterwards, so it was good to know I wasn’t the only one who didn’t really love it.

One of the best things about yoga is that there are so many different types of practices and instructors, you’re bound to find an amazing one for you.Β I guess I’m back on my “yoga instructor soul mate” search. I already have a class planned at a new-to-me studio later this week!

So this post isn’t just about “wah I didn’t like a yoga class,” I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve done while teaching, that looking back, I don’t think participants would have loved.


-When I first started teaching aerobics at the base gym in Valdosta, we didn’t have an aerobics room. I taught Zumba, step and spin all in a racquetball studio. One time, the stereo broke, so I spent the rest of the class yelling and clapping. I’m sure a lot of people hated it, hahah.

-I’ve played Josh Groban for cool downs and Justin Bieber in spin class. (I still like the Biebs, not gonna lie.)

-When I first started teaching Zumba, I hardly faced my class. SO boring. I did it mostly because the racquetball room didn’t have mirrors and this way they could watch my feet, but I have no idea how I packed that racquetball studio. I like to see my instructor’s face for Zumba πŸ™‚

-An awful step class during one of the Pilot’s deployments. I hadn’t heard from him and was worried/distracted and forgot ALL of my choreography while I was teaching. It was a huge mess, and I had to give myself the “don’t cry” pep talk. Since then, I really had to learn how to block out things that were happening in my life and not let them affect my teaching.

Here are some of my major fitness instructor flubs and what I learned from them.

Zumba trot

While I’m still learning and trying to get better every day, it’s amazing how much you can improve with time and practice. New instructors: hang in there! Take and observe classes… and play music that energizes you <3

So, tell me friends: have you taken any awesome fitness classes lately? Any not-so-great?

Hope you’re having a wonderful Monday!



More: things that yoga taught me

Post Navigation:


  1. Fit Missy on July 8, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    At least your are honest =)

    I generally don’t take classes but I have been to a few good and bad ones.

  2. Vicki on July 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Yes! My Pure Barre class this morning was not for me. I don’t like the ab exercises where you sit up against the wall and pull your leg in. I feel like they just don’t do anything but remind me of my mama belly for 10 minutes. And the teacher is just kind of odd. I used to go to Pop Physique and loved that studio so much more!

  3. Julie on July 8, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Awesome post! I’ve found my ideal instructor for yoga but can’t afford her normally. She’s a special treat! I love hearing your flubs–it’s so awesome that you’re willing to admit it and share with us!

  4. Fiona @ Get Fit Fiona on July 8, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    I have a friend who’s a yoga instructor. She likes to take time before every class to focus and prepare herself for teaching. It makes sense – if you’re thinking about a million other things it’s hard to focus on what’s right in front of you.

    I took a yoga class last fall with an instructor that I really didn’t like. It made it tough to motivate myself to go, and I never felt like I got a great workout in.

  5. char eats greens on July 8, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    When I first got introduced to zumba it was when we lived out west (which was 3 years ago), so my first class ever was probably with the best instructor I’d ever have (but I didn’t know this at the start). So when we moved back home to my small hometown, it has just never been the same. Ya, some of the instructors were good, but they could not move like this other instructor. I’m sure you could change my mind though!!

    Other than that, I haven’t really had bad classes, or if I did, I would try to avoid them haha

  6. Paige @ Your Trainer Paige on July 8, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Ahhh one time I was teaching boot camp, and got the stations all messed up. I had way more participants than anticipated, and I had to ask one of the participants which station we were on! Total embarrassment, and ever since then I make sure to pay much closer attention.

  7. Brandy on July 8, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    I took a yoga class a few months ago where the instructor spend the entire class standing at the back, leaning against the wall with her arms crossed! And she owned the studio!

  8. Jenni on July 8, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    I’m a Certified Spinning Instructor, and am in the process of getting my personal training cert, my group fitness cert, and a fitness nutrition credential. I love reading your fitness tips and flubs! They’re great to know, and I find you so inspiring (in spite of the flubs)! Though I’m more interested in becoming a health coach with an emphasis on nutrition, fitness is still a major passion of mine, and I want to have all these certs so that I’m well-qualified if I ever want to become an instructor! Your blog is one of my favorites.

  9. courtstar @ starsystemz on July 8, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Love these tips! I hope to teach group classes in Thailand to keep me busy! Have a great week and good luck finding your soul yoga teacher xo Courtstar

  10. Tracy on July 8, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    This morning I took a Body Combat class with one of my favorite instructors who is pregnant. She let us know ahead of time that she would be having her ultrasound before class, so some of us decided to wear pink (she wanted a girl, she has 4 boys!!!). When she came on stage she had the biggest smile and was wearing pink as well! The whole class was amazing and happy!

    • Julie on July 9, 2013 at 4:45 pm

      Oh, I love this! πŸ™‚

    • Fitnessista on July 9, 2013 at 4:52 pm

      that is super cute!!

  11. Tracy on July 8, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    I just went and read your flubs…I LOVE it when the instructors sing and the music is cranked loud! πŸ™‚ I sing along too, but I don’t like to hear myself! So don’t worry if you want to belt out that chorus, I bet participants want to as well!!! πŸ™‚

  12. Andrea @ The Fit Scoop on July 8, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    Found your blog looking for personal experiences with exercising through pregnancy – love your blog!

    The awesome class I’ve taken lately is called Muscle Up (not sure if this is offered everywhere), but it kicks my booty every time. The not-so-great class I’ve taken lately is prenatal yoga (I’m 21 weeks pregnant). Did you ever take prenatal-specific yoga when you were pregnant? I’m finding it to be a bit of a snooze-fest (literally, we held savasana for 10+ minutes the last class!) so I may go back to regular classes where I just modify the poses.

  13. Melissa @My Peach Life on July 8, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    I have had to teach in a racket ball court also. The lighting was horrible and it echoed really bad. I know people had to hate it in there. I hate it when my mic dies and I spend the rest of the class screaming at people.

  14. Christina @ The Beautiful Balance on July 8, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    That’s awful! I fortunately have never taken a “bad” yoga class but have had a few instructors who were not my favorite. Music can make or break it!

  15. Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat on July 8, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    I’ve played the Biebs in my spin classes too! Sorry to hear about your less than impressive yoga adventure. I’ve had many like that and I think it makes me appreciate the really good instructors even more. Sometimes I think that as a spin instructor, I’m over-critical and need to go in with a more open mind, so that’s what I’ve been trying to do lately. It’s really really hard though when you leave the class wishing you’d spent the last hour doing something else! Good for you for sticking it out though. I hope you find your new yoga teacher soul mate soon!

  16. Kelly@KellyRunsforFood on July 8, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    My schedule conflicts with almost every single class at my gym, so I don’t get to take many. I did take a RIPPED class one time that was pretty fun, though!

  17. Lindsay on July 8, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    When I switched gyms I left behind my Zumba instructor “soul mate”. She has since moved so I can’t even go back to her! I continue to search for someone who is tough enough to make me sweat but love it anyway, plays great music, and changes things up a little from class to class.

  18. Jillienne@ChasingRaspberries on July 8, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    I had a similar experience with a “bad” spin instructor at week. This lady was filling in for the normal instructor, and I just could not get into the class! I guess this goes to show how much I take for granted with my regular routine.

  19. Kendal A on July 8, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    At the studio I practice yoga I find their is this one instructor I stay clear from her classes. When it is suppose to be a flow, we hold the positions and take too many instructed water breaks. I feel like we should decide when we want to take a water break instead of being instructed it. On the other hand, there is one girl who teaches yoga that I love. Her classes are only at 6am and I do not miss them when I know she is teaching.. she makes you sweat like crazy! Love it!

  20. Ali on July 8, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    When I was teaching kickboxing I had some people that loved my classes and always showed up on a regular basis, but then I’d get the odd person here and there that you could tell they just weren’t feeling it. I could usually tell part way through class and would try to find a different way to interact with them. And if all else failed at the end of class I’d thank them, tell them it was nice to meet them, and just casually mention there were 3 other instructors as well. As long as I wasn’t getting complaints from other members I just hoped it was a one-time thing and some people just don’t click!

  21. Jess on July 8, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    I have had so many flubs teaching! Makes you appreciate the good ones!

  22. Annette @ FitnessPerks on July 8, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    This is a great post/reflection–because it’s true–for some it might be a good class & for others not so much. buttttt usually if a few people are grumbling, the instructor needs to re-assess.

    As an instructor myself, I try hard to be open, inviting, and play a variety of music. I think it makes it fun! πŸ™‚ I also have a lot of energy, which people say they like. But I could never teach yoga! I’d be bouncing all over the place. Hah!

  23. Sarah @ Yogi in Action on July 8, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    I’ve definitely had yoga classes where I didn’t love the instructor. One class I thought was terrible, and on my way out heard two girls talking about how amazing the class had been. Clearly, one size does not fit all!

    I had an amazing yoga class this morning that grounded me, but still kicked my booty! Definite sweating occurred.

  24. caroline on July 8, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    I teach step aerobics still (among other things!) and have had more flubs than I can count! πŸ™‚ Luckily, they all help make you a better instructor in the long run.

  25. Nicole on July 8, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    I can relate especially to what you said about having to block out what is happening in your real life while teaching. I have been teaching (high school English, not fitness) for eight years, and there are still days that I need to remind myself to hit the off switch on my brain. Yoga has actually been one of the few things that has helped me to figure out how to do that, though it took me years to actually find a style of yoga that I liked.

  26. Jessica on July 8, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Holding poses longer is way harder than going fast πŸ™‚ both physically and mentally (from my perspective as a yoga teacher). Anyone can flail around from pose to pose, but the work is in the long holds. Just my two cents!

    • Fitnessista on July 8, 2013 at 8:28 pm

      I didn’t say it wasn’t hard haha. It was hard! But boring with lame music πŸ˜‰

      • Jessica on July 9, 2013 at 11:07 am

        I just notice she does that pose wrong all the time, that’s all.

        • Fitnessista on July 9, 2013 at 11:09 am

          all the time? you’ve practiced yoga with me?

          • Jessica on July 9, 2013 at 9:30 pm

            Uhh that other Jessica claiming you do the pose wrong is NOT me! Guess that’s what I get for having such a common name. Well anyway, other Jessica, you sound rude and Gina looks fine.

  27. Lauren @ Sassy Molassy on July 8, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    I’ve been doing mostly yogaglo classes because they’re convenient for early mornings at home. I also love that I can just do it for 20 min if that’s all I have time for. My favorite teacher is Tiffany K. She is awesome. Otherwise, I really love my typical power yoga teacher on Saturday’s who always has the perfect soundtracks and challenging (but not too challenging) flows.

    I feel like the wrong yoga teacher makes it really hard to enjoy the class. If I go to a cardio focused class (boot camp, spinning, step), I can usually get through it fine with an instructor I don’t love, but with yoga, I want to feel relaxed, but pushed and sometimes even the sound or tone of their voice can make the whole class feel not worth it for me.

  28. Mer on July 8, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    After a good yoga class, everything is better! Hope you’ll find a new class that you enjoy.

  29. Heather on July 8, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    My usual Chiseled instructor had a sub a few weeks ago who taught the class in her own format- she killed us and I loved every second of the workout as well as her teaching style. Now I just need to figure out how to speed up our morning routine around here so I can make it to her class regularly!

  30. Jean on July 8, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    I definitely know what you are talking about with “bad” yoga classes. Everyone has their favorite style and instructor but its pretty frustrating you are just not jiving with it.

  31. Sarah on July 8, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Not a fan of gym classes in general. Too much about them bugs…don’t even get me started.

    I enjoy getting my workouts in, outdoors. I recharge alone. Too much stimulus around me all day long. Last thing I want is more noise, people, & having to conform to a “class.” Just no thanks. Paddleboarding, rowing, surfing, running, waterskiing, hiking, all appeal to me personally. Different strokes for different folks.

  32. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on July 8, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    sometimes classes are just off…I know I have taken a “bad” yoga class before. The instructor was very critical and you couldn’t ever seem to do things right. I am all for correcting if I am doing a pose wrong but she was rude about it and would talk so loudly – she just wasn’t my cup of tea.

  33. Deanna on July 8, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    My worst experience was when the yoga class instructor encouraged the class to “tumble” back and forth after some pose. The girl behind me tumbled onto my mat and fell into me! The best classes are when you walk out on cloud 9 and you’re glowing!

  34. Kim @ BusyBod on July 8, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    I started out teaching Zumba facing the class… and everyone complained! They said they couldn’t follow along and I was so surprised, because I love having the instructor face me. When I start again in the fall, I think I’ll be on a stage, so I’m facing them then whether they like it or not (and hopefully they’ll be able to see me better to follow along). P.S. Super jealous of your gorgeous dancer pose! It’s one of my favs but doesn’t look as pretty when I do it πŸ™‚

    • Alicia on July 9, 2013 at 1:15 am

      When I first started taking Zumba I loved when the instructor did not face us, it was so much easier to learn. After a while I got used to the instructor running around the room and I just followed some of the people in the front who knew it much better than I. I think a stage would help a lot! Being able to see the instructor in the first place helps quite a bit. Good look with your class!

  35. Amanda on July 8, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    I will NEVER forget my first 5am spin class (and LAST 5am spin class!) where a) the instructor played multiple country songs (ick), b) we NEVER stood and c) we did multiple rounds of counting for cadence. I’m sorry, if I’m rolling outta bed at 4:15 am, I need a spin class with some pep, not some dude whining about heartache with the lights dimmed!

  36. anne on July 8, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    I so relate! I recently moved to a new city, and have been trying different yoga studios (including corepower yoga). I realized that hot yoga is not my thing after trying 2-3 different hot yoga studios -which seemed prevalent in my new neighborhood. I went right back to yogaworks, and it was like I found myself on the mat again. You’ve got to do what’s right for you, and finding the teacher that does it for you, is so key! Don’t settle :).

  37. Priya on July 8, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    i had this one yoga & pilates instructor at the Y (ironically, named Gina also!), and i LOVED her classes! i went thursday friday & saturday when i was free (so mainly summer), and didnt like anyone else at the Y. in May, she moved! πŸ™ i was so sad but i actually found a new instructor who just started for mondays πŸ˜€

  38. Kelli @ HungryHobby on July 8, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    I’ve been getting into your favorite …. ZUMBA!!! I’ve noticed that I like it the most when it incorporates a LOT of hip hop… the less and the less I like it. This is a total toss up with the instructors style… so sometimes I love it and can’t get enough of it and sometimes I think it’s just okay.

  39. Melissa on July 9, 2013 at 12:19 am

    Oh I can so relate to this. Last week I had a “sad trombone” Zumba experience πŸ™ I usually go on Thursday nights but with the 4th of July…I went to the Tuesday night class. It has either changed instructors since I last went on a Tuesday or there was a sub…but either way it was just SO BAD. The choreography was awful and choppy and I felt bad b/c I could really tell the instructor was trying. But there was no rhythm and b/c the choreo was so choppy it was hard to generate energy. I am kind of embarrassed to admit I left after 40 minutes but honestly, I could not stand the thought of wasting 20 more minutes in the class when I had other things to do. I am so NOT that person (I’ve suffered through “less than favorite” classes of all kinds) but this was not going to improve.

  40. Joelle (on a pink typewriter) on July 9, 2013 at 12:52 am

    I always think it’s so disappointing when I take a “bad” yoga or fitness class, because I feel like I wasted time I could have spent in a better way (better for me personally, I mean).

    I’m curious – how did you decide which certs to get for teaching group fitness classes? It’s something I’ve been toying with recently, but am not sure where to get started or if I really want to take that jump.

    • Fitnessista on July 9, 2013 at 1:19 am

      i called the gym where i wanted to work to see what certs they accepted. afaa seemed to be a popular group fitness certification, so that’s the one i got πŸ™‚

    • Cady on July 9, 2013 at 2:37 am

      Joelle-I was just about to comment with the same question because I am in the same situation…it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while now but it seems a little overwhelming to get in to.

  41. Pua on July 9, 2013 at 2:48 am

    One of the most memorable instructors I’ve had was NINE months pregnant and seriously teaching one of the hardest classes I’ve ever taken. It was kickboxing/sculpt that had me huffing and puffing… I couldn’t figure out how she had all that energy and strength! Better, though… she gave birth THAT night and was back only a few weeks later! Crazy! LOL πŸ™‚

  42. Jessica on July 9, 2013 at 2:52 am

    You should ask Love Veggies & Yoga if you’re doing that pose correctly. Your hips need to be square & facing the floor, you’re opening your right hip too much.

    • Katie on July 9, 2013 at 9:21 am

      You sound like someone with great social skills.

  43. Lucie on July 9, 2013 at 3:05 am

    Love your honesty! I admire you instructors, because I think it is amazing to stand in front of so many people, day by day, smiling, spreading a good mood and fulfilling all the expectations from the participants. I try not to judge instructors too much, but after taking so so many classes in my life you start to compare.
    I think it is awful if I can not understand the instructor especially when it is a class with a choreography. I am good at it, but I like it, when she/he is saying what the next step is.
    I once was in a class where the instructor was totally beyond the beat (I don’t know if this is the right expression, hope you understand what I mean :-)) – he just didn’t know how to count and it was SO confusing! πŸ™‚

  44. Kaycee St. Pierre on July 9, 2013 at 6:14 am

    I love any kind of group class, especially yoga, so anytime Im able to get some time to myself, I’m there! unfortunately having no family in the province to babysit and a husband at work full time it doesn’t happen very often. So, lately its been a few flows put together in the morning and at night, which I’m really starting to enjoy because I can choose my favorite poses and go with the *flow* ha!

  45. Katie on July 9, 2013 at 7:24 am

    I just took two amazing yoga classes with two awesome teachers. πŸ™‚ I always leave their classes blissed out of my mind.

    I also recently took a yoga class with a so-so teacher, and felt awkward flowing between poses, and listened to her talk about her life as we held poses for an ungodly amount of time. Needless to say, I did NOT feel blissed out of my mind after that class. πŸ˜‰

    • Katie on July 9, 2013 at 9:23 am

      I HATE when instructors talk about their lives nonstop and tell stories during a workout class! Maybe a little story at the beginning is okay, but not once we’re sweating and huffing and puffing (or stretching, in yoga). I know maybe that sounds mean, but I’m there to focus on my workout and listen to the music, not to be a therapist.

  46. Julie @ Coastal Runner Girl on July 9, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Great post! I had a horrible spin instructor that kept stopping the music so she could find a better CD! It was torture waiting for her to find the right songs! But thankfully I found a better spin instructor a couple weeks later πŸ˜€

  47. Brittany on July 9, 2013 at 8:08 am

    I have definitely been in the same position as you with yoga. I really find that finding the right match, instructor wise, makes all the difference. When I first started yoga I wanted nothing to do with slower classes that focused more on deep stretches. I wanted it to be fast and challenging, Power all the way! But I have found that through exploring different instructors I have been able to find love for a plethora of different yoga styles.

  48. Gisela on July 9, 2013 at 8:23 am

    I used to practice yoga but I am dealing with a neck/ shoulder injury so I decided to try ballet classes for the first time in my life and I love them!! The teachers have been great so far, my core has never been stronger and my hips are more flexible. πŸ™‚

  49. Karen @ Runner Girl Eats on July 9, 2013 at 9:09 am

    I have taken a spin class that had awful music. Like, ballads and instrumentals when I am supposed to be sprinting and jumping. I need fast and upbeat music to survive spin hell! I have also had instructors that have seemed bored or uninterested in being there which drives me crazy.

  50. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance on July 9, 2013 at 9:44 am

    I hate bad fitness classes. I totally get the each to his own yoga class. Some instructors have what you want and others don’t. I took a really, really bad Zumba class earlier this year. You can’t even call it Zumba. It didn’t follow the basic Zumba format, we did one move for like 32 counts and then did another move and hardly linked them together. The instructor smelled bad. It was awful.

    Since then I’ve taken so many great classes, especially some new cardio dance ones like 305 Fitness and DMF. I love a great dance class! πŸ™‚

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.