Teaching Yoga: Five Reasons Students Stop Coming to Yoga Class

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Teaching Yoga: Five Reasons Students Stop Coming to Yoga Class

yoga classBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Every Yoga teacher has experienced it: a new student comes to practice, and he or she seems to do well. They never ask a question or for clarification, but after a practice, they disappear. What happened?

Five reasons why students stop coming to class, and what teachers can do about it:

1) The class is comprised of mixed levels, and the student finds the practice either too easy or too difficult.

Ideally, Yoga training is about challenging oneself and perfecting one’s own practice; realistically, students enjoy practice with others of a similar level. The challenge for an instructor is offering quality to every student, even if they have diverse needs. Some of the ways to help include acknowledging the nature of a mixed level class is making a statement, such as, “We have some people here today who have been practicing for quite some time, and others who are new to the practice. I’ll demonstrate the full asana first, and a modification afterwards; please work at your own level,” can go a long way toward making all practitioners feel accepted. If the class is large, consider scheduling a beginner and an advanced class, rather than mixed level.

2) The student felt that the class was too expensive.

Make sure that a variety of payment options are available, if at all possible. Multi-class punch cards, student discounts, and a community class are all ways that Yoga schools and teachers can make classes accessible. As a practitioner advances, he or she is more likely to see higher cost classes as an investment, and be willing to pay full price.

3) The Yoga class was uncomfortable.

Be certain that the space you will be teaching in is clean, quiet, and reasonably cool. If the class is full, take the initiative in asking students to re-arrange mats to accommodate everyone. Many people feel uncomfortable asking others to move their mats and appreciate the Yoga instructor stepping in to help. Alternatively, the atmosphere may not have been as nurturing as hoped. Did many students arrive late or get up and leave during Savasana? Consider speaking privately to “repeat offenders,” who do not respect the length of the class.

4) The style of Yoga was not what they expected.

Be sure class descriptions and starting times are clear and up-to-date, to the extent you are able, with the studio or website. Indicate whether it will be a gentler Hatha Yoga or a vigorous Ashtanga practice, and consider including the information in your introduction at the beginning of class.

5) The class has diversity issues.

In a class full of middle-aged, or older, Yoga students, a college student may not feel comfortable. Practitioners with disabilities may not want to “stand out” during practice, and students who are heavier may feel as if they are under scrutiny for their weight. If you, as a Yoga instructor, truly believe that Yoga is for everyone, be sure that your attitude reflects acceptance of those who differ in age, race, gender, or size. While you do not control who attends the class, you set the tone for the group, and should be certain that it is welcoming to all.

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