Sunday, May 13, 2012

Reply from teacher to student

Treat me like an adult; I made a decision to give up my valuable time to come here today for whatever reason. Give me the benefit of the doubt that I am going to do my best. You can remind me of that but don't nag me.

Then act like one – try getting into the room on time for a change! I am reminding you all the time because you forget all the time! Some people think this is positive encouragement. Get a thicker skin.

Give me enough heat and humidity to support my practice, but don't make it another challenge for me to overcome. It is not necessary. Teaching the hottest class does not make you the best teacher. Every studio is different, and it may need some work on your part to manage the hot room properly.

I thought this was HOT yoga, or am I wrong? Stop whining. It's always too hot for someone, too cold for someone else, everybody's whining all the time. Forget about the heat already and just do the yoga. Teaching this stuff is not easy – you can't expect me to keep my eye on the heat all the time. Really...

Leave your ego at home. This practice is about me, not about you. I want you to lead the class and help me do the best I can today. Show me the same respect that I show you. We are partners in this dance for ninety minutes and we each have have our roles; if I didn't turn up then you wouldn't have a class to teach.

I lead; you follow. Let's get that established first. There is a hierarchy here in case you didn't spot that on the way in: me, teacher; you, student. And if you don't turn up here, then don't worry, I'll go somewhere else and teach.

You don't have to talk all the time; silence can be powerful. Little gaps in the dialogue are okay; I'm not going to fall asleep or stop paying attention just because I cannot hear your voice for a few seconds. But when you speak, then do so with confidence and with clarity so that I can understand what you want me to do.

The dialog is there for a reason: it's to stop your mind from drifting off to some other place, like the shopping list, the movie you saw last night or whatever. I'm doing you a huge favor by keeping up this string of noise so nothing else gets into your head. Sometimes I get a sore throat from all this speaking, but I have to keep going, and how often do I get credit for that? Think about that.

Understand that my body needs a short break between every posture, not only during the floor series. I need just a little time to get my breath back and to be still. Appreciate the difference between a physical limitation and a bad habit; I may need a little extra time to move into the next posture. This is not being lazy; it is taking care of my aging body.

Oh, give me a break: you are just not working hard enough. Just forget about what you think you need and learn to follow directions. You have to accept that I know better than you do in this regard. Do the posture when I tell you do the posture and stop complaining.

Be consistent, especially in the rhythm of the class. I don't care if you teach a slow practice or a fast practice, but just make it consistent. Give me the right time in each posture; don't make me stay there, working hard, just because you have more stuff to say. There is always another side or another set or another class for you to say them.

Let me remind you that I am the one on the podium. I've got the headset, not you. I paid big bucks for this and I get to choose how much time I feel like giving you on any day in any posture. Come out of a posture early and I will call you out big time; causing embarrassment is one of my major teaching tools.

Recognize me as an individual. I don't expect you to remember my name, although it's nice when you do. Make sure that I leave the studio having felt that my presence there has been acknowledged: some eye-contact is good or a few words of encouragement now and again, especially when I am having a bad day. You don't know what else is going on in my life – I might need a little lift and you might be the right person to do just that.

Why? I'm here to teach you yoga, not make a new friend. I can't afford the time to read and memorize the check-in list before each class. I get paid precious little for this as it is, and that would take more time out of my busy schedule. And by the way, I'm really not interested in what else is going on in your life. Leave that at the door and just bring your body in and pay attention. I'm a yoga teacher, not your therapist. I really don't care what your name is; you're just a body to me. If you want me to call you out in every posture, then go ahead and remind me of your name just before class begins, and then see if that gives you the little lift you need.

Be yourself and let your personality shine through; don't try to be somebody else. I see and listen to a lot of teachers all using the same words, more or less; don't be a part of a white noise. A little humility goes a long way.

See my answer above. Give me a call when YOU get a teaching certificate. Enough said.

Please teach – don't just recite. Teaching needs observation, so look at me. Teaching needs listening, so listen to me. My voice may be silent but my body is shouting at you. You tell me that each class is different, but that should apply to you too. If I have taken three of your classes and I can practically recite your speech word for word already, then maybe it's time for something to change to keep your class fresh and interesting.

In case you haven't noticed, there is a dialog here. I'm here to give you the dialog that I spent nine crazy weeks learning. I've got it; now you get it. I have to earn a living doing this stuff, so I have a pitch. I may be teaching three or more classes a day, so get over it.

Trust me and then maybe I will trust you. Because if I can trust you to take care of me, then I can relax, let my body do its thing and have a good class.

I think I've already dealt with this. And between us girls, I'm not too interested in whether you have a good class or not. You're here and you paid; enough said again.

Remind me to breathe. If I don't breathe properly then I won't be able to do anything. But I need some time to breathe so make sure that I have that time.

Okay, here's the reminder: keep breathing! You're good at breathing – you do it all the time, so keep doing it. Fine.

Encourage me to do my best. But do that with compassion. I may not be used to the overwhelming stimulation of the hot room and the yoga practice: so much heat, so many words, so much sweat, so many people standing so close to me with so little on. English may not be my first language and it may be hard for me to just understand what you are asking me to do. This experience may be totally alien to my culture and my upbringing. But I am here and I am trying. If I am not doing it right, then there is probably a good reason.

Did you read my answer about working hard or not? Don't think about it, just do what I tell you. That’s it. Oh, and when you go to the DMV or the Giant, do you complain about not getting the information in your native Latvian or Portuguese? No, you're damn right. This is America, so straighten up and get your sorry ass to an English class.

Show me the right way with compassion, a kind heart and a loving spirit. Being a yoga teacher is a vocation and not just a job. Every time that you step into that room you have a huge responsibility to all of us in there. You can help me change my life; that's a pretty big deal in my view.

Oh, I like this one. You want me to chant and hit a few bells too while I'm at it? This is not feel-good yoga – that's down the street. We feed you pain in here. If you want to pay good money to come in and lie down and nap for an hour, then you're in the wrong place. And another thing: I'm not responsible for fixing your messed up life and I certainly don't want to hear about it. After all, as you can see from my answers, I have enough problems without having to hear about yours all the time.

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