This last weekend, I attended Soul Pose in Seattle. It was held at the Exhibition Hall at the Seattle Center. I was intrigued as this was the first time I attended an event like this: yoga meets tutus, black lights, body paint and a big crowd. When we first signed up for Soul Pose, we did not know who the instructor was going to be for our session. But, I thought I would just go with the flow and see what happened…
My friend Teanna and I arrived early to look at the vendors, of which there were only a handful and to get our paint on. I decided since I already have so many tattoos that I didn’t need a lot of glow-in-the-dark paint, but I still managed to get it all over my clothes, my mat, my bag and my water bottle!
The setup and management of the event logistics were flawless. The ambiance was great, the crowd was excited, the music was fun and the freebies were pretty much as I imagined they would be (we got a free hand towel, bracelet, flashing bracelet, and a cheap yoga mat all with the Soul Pose yoga logo on them). Considering the price was only $29.99 plus tax, I think the swag lived up to my expectations. Since a dropin yoga class in generally $20, $30 was a decent price point for this event.
Our instructor turned out to be Michelle Thielen. I had not heard of her before, but here is her bio from the Soul Pose website:
INSTRUCTOR BIO – MICHELLE THIELEN
Meet Michelle, your happy yoga guide for the 8:30 AM and 11:30 AM Soul Pose Sessions.
– Practiced yoga for nearly 30 years
– Born and raised in Portland, OR
– Teaches yoga around the world
– Founder of the inclusive YogaFaith
– American Council of Exercise Instructor
Unfortunately, it only took about 5 min into the yoga practice before it seemed that everyone started to get very confused. Michelle’s cues were minimalistic, to the point where during Sun Salutations most people were in very different stages and constantly looking around trying to figure out what they were supposed to be doing. I remember at one point during the class, I was facing the direction I thought I should be (the back of my mat) just to see the people behind me were facing the front of their mats and the people beside me were facing the side wall. That pretty much summed up the rest of the practice. Chaos. So, I just started doing my own thing, as did Teanna. We tried a few times to stay in the flow, but Michelle switched from modified poses to very advanced poses that most attendees could not keep up with. Some people were frustrated, others started goofing off and nobody was really doing a serious practice (maybe that was the point?). I will leave out many of the other details, but during Savasana, Michelle basically tried to speak to so many things in life that it became distracting and I started to count the ceiling tiles…The only real positive I could find in her teaching style was her voice. Michelle has a pleasant voice and a sweet presence.
Now, I am just relaying my experiences. I certainly do not speak for anyone else in attendance. It is possible that I did not pick up on the people who found that Michelle’s style resonated with them. I really wavered on how to write this event up as I wanted to be truthful, without being a ‘bad yogi’ by writing negative things. However, truthfulness is an important aspect of a yoga lifestyle, so I decided to write the truth that I experienced that day. I have not reached out to the people I know who attended class with Kevin Ng later the same day, and I am curious what their experience was.
Would I go to another Soul Yoga? Yes. I am open to trying it again, hopefully next time I will have a more positive experience.
Have you been to Soul Pose in your town? What was your experience? Please comment below!