yoga teacher trainingBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Part of a Yoga teacher training course should be devoted to handling student objections to safety. As teachers, we want the best experience for all students. However, there are a few self-absorbed people, who could care less about the safety or well being of others.

Guidelines for Yoga classes are for the safety of all students. Many Yoga schools have a website or handout for new students, which contain policies or guidelines. Once in a blue moon, a new student objects to rules that exist for the welfare of all the students.

In reality, admission to your classes is within your control. If a potential student refuses to sign an informed consent form or has objections to safety and order, you have the right to refuse him or her admission to your classes. Let’s review three of the most common guidelines and why they should be enforced.

“Please arrive a few minutes before class; if this is your first visit, please arrive 15 minutes ahead of class, so we may check you in and acquaint you with the space.”

It is surprising to see the number of experienced students, who try to bend this rule, and often they come from other local schools. If a novice student visits your school, calls, or inquires by Email, you should make them aware of this policy. From a liability standpoint, this is an accident waiting to happen.

How can you know if a student has a pre-existing condition, if he or she is late to the initial visit? What if this student is pregnant, has high blood pressure, or another pre-existing condition? Are you willing to gamble on his or her health for a walk-in fee?

This is the reason why Yoga studios started to lock their doors, when class begins. In addition to this, we promise to give our students relief from conditions outside of our studio walls. How can students be in the moment, when everyone arrives late?

“There are to be no shoes on the studio floor. Please leave them outside the studio door.”

This is, for the most part, a cosmetic rule. If students are allowed to wear shoes, and the studio has wooden floors, the floors will be sanded by rock salt, rocks, dirt, and sand, within a year. Additionally, do you know where those shoes have been before they land on your studio floor?

I do know of a case where a machinist carried metal shavings from his boots onto the rug in a Yoga studio. It is harder to get metal shavings out of a rug than it is to vacuum dirt. Although they look decorative, metal shavings can also cut the skin of your students.

“Be conscious of your neighbor on the next mat.”

Generally speaking, most students are very courteous toward their fellow students. Arm swings are commonly part of a Hatha Yoga class warm up. During this time, students should stagger their formation, so that they do not hit each other. Yoga teachers should state the obvious for the sake of those students who need to hear a safety precaution again.

In Yoga classes of any style, courtesy, respect, compassion, and safety are priorities. If we do not set guidelines, a few students will step forward and test us. Ultimately, Yoga teachers will be held responsible for any perceived negligence in our classes.

© Copyright 2011 – Paul Jerard / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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