Teaching Hatha Yoga: The Vocal Problem Student

Teaching Hatha Yoga: The Vocal Problem Student

By Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

When teaching Yoga classes you encounter a number of rewards, but from time to time you may also find your leadership skills challenged. No matter how many students you have taught in the past, you may run into a new and challenging situation.

Most Yoga studios, ashrams, and health clubs, have policies, which are based on common sense, but every once in a while you wonder if any other Yoga teacher has been where you are, at that moment. Let’s look at a couple situations, which you might find informative or comical.

What to do with the overly vocal student? You should have a policy in place for silence as the class begins, but there is always a “gray area” here. Some instructors do not allow questions during class time – period, end of story.

This solves the problem of excessive noise, but it creates a new problem. What if a student is pregnant, you do not know, and she is afraid to ask a specific question about her safety? When considering student safety, questions should always be addressed.

The completely silent student does benefit from silence, and newfound awareness, during Yoga practice. Yet, questions allow more than one student to benefit from your answers, so it might be best to establish a policy, where questions must be specifically related to safety in the Yoga practice session. Then invite them to ask other Yoga questions before or after the class session.

What to do with the complaining student? This student might cry out, “I hate Warrior III.” There are nicknames for such people, but you have move the lesson plan forward. You could ignore a vocal outburst, but the negativity has spread throughout the classroom. You could lecture, and bore, the rest of your students, with a reminder of your class policies.

However, Cesar Millan (The Dog Whisperer) has an effective method for bringing focus and discipline back into a dog’s mind. The moment a dog behaves badly, he makes a sound, which is something like, “Chhh” or “Shhh.” Children often hear similar sounds from parents, who want them to be silent.

Now, your student is not your dog or your child, but you cannot allow complaining to continue uninterrupted. A short cue to be silent is enough to disrupt the negative patterns in that person’s mind.

You can always talk to this student after class, but understand that a complaining personality will be able to justify his or her vocal outbursts. It should be understood, that this person has been complaining since birth.

The point to make is: “Silence is golden during Yoga class,” unless a student has a question, specifically related to his or her safety, during the Yoga practice session.

© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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