Every couple of weeks someone says something to me that sounds like, “I can’t even imagine what you have to deal with while teaching yoga. It must be hard dealing with so many different people.” I always find this comment interesting. The thing is one person isn’t so much different from the next. Yes, everyone has their own issues and yes, I have to be open what these issues might be, but I by no means find this difficult or a hardship I have to bear.
Everyone’s doing the best they can at any given moment. This is based on their own personal perceptions, beliefs, and the situations that might have shown up in that individual’s life. When you really believe that, it’s easy to forgive and forget. To just let it go and move on.
But often I hear from students before and after class and it makes me realize that their perception of what a yoga teacher thinks in reaction to their comments and actions throughout their practice is usually completely different than what they may perceive. So I thought this week I’d give you a glimpse into what most teachers think when a student offers one of these popular comments before or after class.
“I just had the worst class. I’m so sorry.” What are you sorry for? You just did one of the hardest things in the world. You survived a class that was difficult for you. You did not quit, but kept plugging along even though things were not perfect. You accepted where you were, learned how to breathe through it, and came out the other end better for it. You are a super hero.
“I’ve done yoga before.” Have you done this type of yoga before? No matter what kind of yoga you regularly practice there are many different styles of yoga. If you are going to a new studio please take the time to listen to whatever the instructor has to say to you before class begins. The studio might have certain things they need to tell you to ensure that you have the best experience possible with your practice that day. Give them a chance and be open to anything they may have to tell you.
“That man/woman next to me was breathing too loud, not moving with everyone else, smelled, made too much noise, did not have correct form, etc….” Yes, but they have nothing to do with your practice. Sometimes the biggest challenge in a yoga class is the people that surround us. They provide us with a distraction that can be way harder to battle than the water bottle or hand towel. When you have someone near you that is starting to irritate you, you need to focus even harder on your own practice. This is part of the yoga. You will find that the less attention you pay to your neighbors, the less people outside of the class will get under skin.
“It was not hot enough/it was too hot.” It is what you make it. I am incredibly spoiled at the studios I teach at and don’t have to worry about the heat as it’s regulated by a computer. It is always 105 degrees, 40% humidity…unless something goes wrong. This happens once in a strange while. But if you don’t feel like it’s hot enough it’s time to really hone in on your form, or your breathing. If you feel like it’s too hot, it’s time to pay attention to your breath, your heart rate, and take care of yourself. Taking a break is not the end of the world. It’s an act of compassion for your self.
“I have this injury or I’ve been suffering from this illness.” Cool! You came here to heal. And you are aware of what some of your limitations might be at this time. You are taking responsibility for your own health, which is an extremely powerful step for anyone. When you practice yoga you start to become aware of your own body in a way you might not have experienced in the past. You will know before anyone else when things are starting to heal or if there is some sort of imbalance that needs to be worked on. There is nothing more powerful than the mind, body, and spirit connection at work.
“I can’t do such and such posture because of A, B, and C.” Yes, but can you try? Can you do even a little bit of it? If not, no worries. It will come in time. But always see if you can do even the tiniest bit of it. You might not be able to do Toe Stand today, but if you just do the first step (looking at the floor 4 feet in front of you) you have set an intention in the body and already started the beginnings of achieving the posture. Much can be gained from just giving it try.
All in all, your yoga teacher wants only the best for you. We know how yoga can completely transform your life and that’s why we decided to make sharing it with others part of our life’s work. Trust that we’ve got your back, are ready to listen, and will work with you to help develop a strong, well-rounded practice. Do your best always and you are on your way to developing unlimited potential in every area of your life.
Love the blog? You will love the book! Follow my yoga journey and the accomplishments of five of my students, as well as, recount some of the most popular blog posts in my first book: Views from the Podium: The Life & Times of a Hot Yogi.