“I was going to come to your class but....”

“I was going to come to your class but....”

One of the most common things I hear on a weekly (sometimes daily) basis in my office at Back Bay Yoga Studio is “I was going to come to your class, but I just need to move today”. Upon hearing this usually just shrug it off, but there must be a split second where the person “needing to move” must catch the truly confused look on my face. To this day I don’t really know what people mean by this, but I have a few ideas.

practice lab.

practice lab.

In my first post, I posited that the job of a yoga teacher is to teach people how to practice on their own. I have long wondered whether public classes are the best way for people experience agency in a yoga practice. In smaller classes when one is first learning asana, the 20:1 student teacher ratio may be very appropriate, especially to establish a solid grounding in basic somatic awareness and familiarity with the fundamentals of yoga asana. However, at a certain point we need to learn how to take ownership of our own practice. No matter how skilled the teacher, they still can't get inside of your body and figure out exactly what’s going on- let alone decipher the dynamic psychological and layered nature of your practice. An alternate solution is to exclusively teach people 1-on-1. This would be an amazing plan, if it weren't cost prohibitive for 90 percent of practitioners.

The power of NOT touching your students.

The power of NOT touching your students.

A few weeks ago a student came into the office with an urgent question. She had overheard me explaining to another teacher why I don’t tend to give manual assists in class. Being a new teacher herself, she wanted some further clarification on this point. Quite honestly, she is not the first person to approach me regarding this topic, and I have grappled with this for quite a while. I will also wholeheartedly admit that I am never fully satisfied with my answer to this query because while I have been the recipient of truly fantastic, sensitive and even healing manual assists; I have also endured assists that have been incredibly injurious, careless, and harmful. The worst of these incidences was a full chiropractic facet adjustment on my cervical spine in the middle of a yoga class, which a few days later left me with severely limited range of motion in my neck.

What are we practicing? What are we teaching?

What are we practicing? What are we teaching?

A few weeks ago a student came into the office with an urgent question. She had overheard me explaining to another teacher why I don’t tend to give manual assists in class. Being a new teacher herself, she wanted some further clarification on this point. Quite honestly, she is not the first person to approach me regarding this topic, and I have grappled with this for quite a while. I will also wholeheartedly admit that I am never fully satisfied with my answer to this query because while I have been the recipient of truly fantastic, sensitive and even healing manual assists; I have also endured assists that have been incredibly injurious, careless, and harmful. The worst of these incidences was a full chiropractic facet adjustment on my cervical spine in the middle of a yoga class, which a few days later left me with severely limited range of motion in my neck.