By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
How can teachers lead classes effectively? Behavior toward neighboring Yoga schools, teachers, and their students, should be cordial. Like the old saying goes, “If you do not have anything good to say, do not say anything at all.” When we speak of other Yoga instructors, or former teachers, in a hostile manner, what do we teach our students?
Unfortunately, Yoga teachers are human and behavior is not always optimum. Show respect toward neighboring ashrams by letting the director, master teacher, or guru, know about your events – in the form of a letter or invitation. Do not post your events on their doors, on their cars, and on telephone poles nearby their ashram.
Do not encourage your students to tear down advertisements of other local ashrams in the markets and local coffee shops. Harmonious coexistence with local Yoga studios and ashrams is healthy. When Yoga students are encouraged to become sectarian, or elitist, they are being strayed away from the true meaning of Yoga. Always remember Yoga means “unity.”
Avoid moving your studio next door, above, below, or across the street from another teacher. The world is a very big place. There is no need for us to behave like rivaling businesses. If that were acceptable, Yoga would be just a business, but our true mission is to help others.
Try your best to maintain good relations with former teachers and their students. Sometimes, there are complications in the student / teacher relationship, but try to be as friendly as possible.
Relationships with your students should be balanced and kept intact. Yoga instructors should avoid using their position for leverage or special favors. If you are having feelings beyond the usual teacher / student relationship, you should seek qualified advice, do some “soul searching,” or withdraw yourself from the situation.
The Yoga studio is not a romantic playground, or part of a dating service, for teachers. As a teacher, your relationship is founded upon the trust of your students. You also want to avoid “fueling” any distractions from practice.
Lastly, you want to encourage your more advanced students to become independent creators of their own practice. It is nice to be needed, but your Yoga students will grow if they are allowed to be innovators. You can always show them the safest methods to keep them on the right track, but you do not want your advanced students to feel dependent on your existence.
To draw a small comparison: A pair of adult eagles takes wonderful care of their chick, but someday, that chick will grow to be as large as its parents. The solution is to encourage their offspring to fly and become independent. You know, none of us will be around forever, so encourage your students to keep the practice evolving.
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