Often I tell teachers that I have a (formerly) broken arm when I take yoga classes. It's good that they know because I often modify poses, and I don't want them to think they're hurting me. So I get in this 10am class, and for the first time in a while, a teacher actually asked if we had any injuries he needed to know about. So piped up and said I had a (formerly) broken arm. And then came the 5 minute lecture (I may be exaggerating) about why maybe I shouldn't be doing Vinyasa, and maybe I should be doing another type of yoga, and maybe it was too much etc. etc. with a little, 'but I'm not a doctor' thrown in for good measure. Holy moly! I wonder if he expected me to leave?
Lesson 1 of being a yoga teacher: When you ask students if they have injuries, either ask them privately and then lecture -or not-, so the whole class doesn't hear OR Lesson 2: ask them in front of everyone and expect them to not tell you because they've previously had a teacher like Benoît. Now that you know not to tell him about your injuries, I can tell you about his class. I actually went to the class twice, because I wasn't sure I liked it the first time, and I'm still kind of unsure if I like it. I have 3 general criteria for returning to a yoga class: 1. It was awesomely sweaty 2. It taught me a ton of alignment / sequencing / poses variations or 3. I am a relaxed happy monkey after. These, of course, can be combined for extra points. It was a sweaty class! Two hours of vinyasa can surely make a girl sweaty, but I'm undecided about whether that makes up for the rest of it...
The first thing I noticed about Benoît is that he has a nervous energy. He does a bit of pacing, he talks quickly, he moves from one pose to another without allowing time to explore the pose, and his demeanor just feels harried, which means you move a lot, but it's not particularly relaxing, and one of his most used phrases is, 'ne forcez pas' or 'don't force it'. He rarely touches his students, which, admittedly, is hard to do when you're teaching a fast paced Vinyasa class, and I don't find that his alignment queues are very useful for my practice, but that could be because it's in French, and I've told you about my french proficiency here. And during Savasana of the first class, instead of holding the space for the students, he left the studio to do something or other. He is apparently funny, because many of the students laughed out loud during the last class. Thing is, either he was talking too fast for me to catch the joke, or, like many French jokes, I just didn't get it. Every time. Such a bummer.
The first hour of this particular class is quite good with nice flow and linking of poses, and variations that are interesting, even though we don't have much time to explore them, but the second hour of the last class felt like an ashtanga based (i.e. not super flowy) arm balancing and inversion workshop, which, as I previously stated, isn't very useful for me. I'm curious about his other classes, but I don't think I'll pay 20something euros to find out. However, if you're looking for a class where you can actually do some inversions and arm balances (which aren't much taught in all levels classes here in Paris) plus get super sweaty, and you've been practicing for a while so you know when to not do that extra Vinyasa, this class is a good Power Yoga class, even for West Coast standards.
Teacher: Benoît Le Gourriérec
Studio: Yoga Village
Class: Advanced Vinyasa
Feel Good Vibe: ★★★
Spiritual Lesson: No spiritual lesson. Just a few Ohm's and a lecture about my (formerly) broken arm.
Would I pay 20€ to take a class with him? I'll probably take another 15€ class, but probably not a 20€ class.