Well, I give critiques all the time as a yoga teacher. When I was a new yoga teacher, I would give unsolicited advice to people that I saw online as well. Whew was that a stupid move. When I think about it, I would never just walk up to some random person in a gym and say, hey buddy, you’re doing it wrong! That advice never goes over very well.
Yes, I want people to be safe. Yes, I want them to function better in life. But if they are not asking you for help, then I don’t offer. In a yoga class, yeah I’m the teacher. I am supposed to instruct. But out on the street, I’m just any old Joe Blow who needs to mind his own business. Who am I to say something?
Yet I see people critique form all the time. The YouTube comments, Instagram advice, and Facebook critics are all ready to yap their gums. I’d say maybe 1 or 2% of the people will respond positively to advice when not asking people for it. The rest are going to tell you to take a hike.
The only place I say things is in places where I have a qualified voice to speak and a position of authority. When I was a yoga teacher for a local health club, the marketing person would ask me to provide a paragraph to describe a class or workshop I was teaching. Then, they would supply an image. The problem is, they don’t know yoga. A lot of clothing companies, especially back in the day, would place a model into a yogic pose when the model often didn’t do yoga. The alignment, drishti, hand placement, everything was wrong. If you look at Ardha Matsyendrasana on Instagram, nearly half of the yogis turn the wrong way (like in the picture above). Their warrior poses look awful. It just doesn’t work. So in this case, I’d say something.
To be honest, I don’t like having people tell me what to do either. I was in the Army for a long time and had enough of getting yelled at (even though I was a yeller myself as an Infantry Drill Instructor). But if you go to a yoga class or a CrossFit session, the teacher has the authority. You go there to get useful instruction. And that’s what I provide in those settings.
I was just listening to a podcast which spurred on these thoughts. They are super qualified to instruct people, but they don’t offer it when its not their place. Everyone should know their boundaries. Even when I take a yoga class, I don’t critique the yogi next to me unless it appears extremely unsafe. But I almost never see that so I don’t say anything. I’m just another yogi.
Stay in your own lane people!