Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Dealing with lack of support, distractions in the classroom and encouraging diversity.

So I put out on the Internet to yoga teachers, students and yoga business folks to please share with me your biggest struggle and frustrations as well as what motivates you. A dear teacher friend sent me her answers. 
What was frustrating and a bit of a struggle came in two areas.

1. Feeling frustrated when people treat your work like a hobby or a luxury. 

As yoga teachers we know that most of us have gone to school for quite some time, worked and studied really hard to get to where we are and when we get out of school it's just the beginning. Then we have to figure out how to get students to our classes. Some people have had to make the choice to live a simpler life and give up some of life's extravagances in order to teach. We often run to and from job to job just to have enough clients. We sometimes open up our homes and invite people in to give back what has helped us. It is only natural that it would hurt when people make comments that it must be nice to "be able to just teach yoga". Ugh.. 

What I have found is that there will always be those who are either ignorant to what it takes to be good at our craft or maybe they are jealous or sometimes just down right nasty. Most of the time what I have found is it's best to try not to engage, it never is worth it anyway. I have found these things help. 

1. Rather than try to defend, be yourself, do your thing, and when you are with people who don't understand you try to talk about something else. I know this can sometimes be people we are close to and they ask about your life and you don't want to go there. It's also hard when you want people to be supportive and they think you are wasting time or money. Just keep doing you and try to not go down that road. We have to make ourselves happy and not live for other people. 

2. Find people you support you. Talk to other yoga students, teachers, and friends who get you. It's important to have this support so you don't feel alone. When you feel alone or lonely or wonder if you are wasting your time (been there) call your supporters. 

2. Struggles with people who disrupt class. 
Set the tone before class by getting the room the way you want it. Do you want a quieter style class, have soft music, low lights (maybe twinkle lights) and a calming atmosphere and speak in a quite calm voice. If you want a more upbeat class, have the lights at a comfortable level for the practice, or low is fine, however your beats per minute on the music or your play list  may need to be a bit more upbeat. If you want a calm class but the ability to feel like a person can ask questions then give permission language before and after class. Such as "If you have a question please raise your hand or simply ask me to come over".

1. Hand out a sheet with "What to expect or yoga etiquette to new students". They would appreciate it and it will save you some headaches, cover distractions like when it's okay to talk, coming in late, leaving early, body odor, phones etc.. A little planning saves a lot of headaches. 

2. One of my teachers always says "relax your lips" to those that feel they need to be chatty during class while others are trying to focus. This one always works. 

3. When nothing works have a gentle talk with the person and explain your issues as kindly as possible. Sometime they will understand and other times they won't and they won't come back but that may be best. 

3. Motivated to get a diverse group of people or a certain population to class. 
This teacher I was referring to was motivated because she reached out to size 14 and over women to get them to yoga. I need to ask her how she did that, so "L' if you are reading this please give me that info. I
f you want to attract a certain group of people here is what I suggest.

1. In your marketing material reflect pictures of the type of people you want to attract. If you want to reach out to curvy full figured women then put pictures of those type of women in class. 

2. If you want to offer classes that are not intimidating to beginners post pictures of all shapes and sizes doing common postures that are easily accessible to a wide group of people. 

3. People need to see people that look like them to some degree. If you are African American and you want to reach that population put pictures of yourself on the material and or other people of color doing yoga. Also find those populations and start offering those classes in places you will be able to easily reach those populations. 

Thank you "L" for your comments. I so appreciate them!

Love and Light,


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  2. I really loved this article, Yoga is one of the good medicine to lead healthy and happy life. Thanks for posting this article.

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  3. What you've said about others comments on your chosen profession is so helpful. As a writer, I can attest that my profession is often similarly treated as a luxury. So I commiserated with your "UGH!" How shortsighted. Your suggestions for moving forward through that kind of commentary are greatly appreciated!