Untold Challenges of Teaching Yoga: The silence in the room
So many people get certified as Yoga teachers, and they plan on teaching. Unfortunately, few survive the inner storms of the first few classes.
Yoga teachers design their sessions for each class. It is a creative process. Like all creative processes, you need to put a piece of yourself into it. Your creation reveals fragments of you, sometimes more than you plan it to do. Presenting your creation is a very genuine way of self-expression. It allows you to shine out the parts of you that cannot be diluted into words. At the same time, presenting your creation is very scary because you leave yourself open and wait for your audience’s reactions.
In yoga class, your audience is your students. The best reaction they can give to an excellent class is an in-depth focus where they do not give you any signs of appreciation.
Sometimes you will see teachers desperately trying to get a reaction from their students. They keep making jokes or talking about themselves throughout the class. Sometimes the silence of their audience is so unbearable that they cannot stop talking at all, even in Savasana. Sometimes you will see them touching their students not to adjust but to make a connection.
If you make yourself okay with the silence and the absence of reaction, you begin enjoying it. In time you realize that the silence is full of connection and responses. Even though the yoga teacher does not practice, they become attuned to subtle vibrations and nuances as they teach.
Tying to guess if people are enjoying a class by looking at their faces is misleading. You will have students smiling at you the whole level, and they will never show up again. You will have students with an expression of a bored or annoyed person, and they will get addicted to your classes. The right signs are in the way the students are breathing, vibrating, and coming out of Savasana or meditation. Look for luminous peace and calm in their eyes.
All being said, you also need to know that not everyone will enjoy your classes. Sometimes you will teach ana fantastic class, and the person who profoundly needs that kind of practice will hate it. Remember that it is not a general habit of us human beings to do what is right for us. If someone hates your class, it shows that you have touched them. And that is good.
There will also be times where you will teach an excellent class, and your students will love it, but they will never show up again. That case does not say anything about your teaching skills. People have different reasons behind their choices independent of the quality of things they do.
The last scenario is where you fail to teach a beautiful class. I have trained a lot of yoga teachers. There was one common thing. They all thought their teaching was way worse than how it actually was. We are so used to motivate ourselves with criticism. That somewhat helps us to be successful but also makes us miserable. Everybody makes mistakes. We grow by learning from our mistakes. So as I say to all my students, make mistakes and learn from them. Accept that you are human. Hold the space with positive energy throughout the class. In the end, you will remember your mistakes, but your students will only remember how they enjoyed the practice.
If you have further questions of have things to share about this topic, please comment below.