In general, I’m soft spoken. I’ve never been a loud and brassy broad. Teaching was challenging in the beginning. I had to learn how to project and how to be heard.
Today, when someone doesn’t follow direction in class, I’m confident that they hear me. But, I know that they’re not listening.
People don’t listen/follow direction for a variety of reasons.
- too mentally tired to try
- too physically tired to stay focused
- too much ego on the mat, wants to show off
- too much ego on the mat, won’t try something that’s too hard or challenging
- did I mention too much ego on the mat?
- doesn’t trust the teacher’s competence or ability to teach (aka-I know better syndrome)
It all happens in almost every class. None are good reasons, in my opinion.
In my second teacher training, with David Swenson, we had to teach the Ashtanga Primary series to one another and at the end, David was on the mat as a student for each of us. Yikes!
Recently, I’ve had Master Teachers drop in and attend my class as students. I have to admit, I squeak when that happens. You know the way you do when you see your favourite movie star at the airport. Or, Tom Waits at Canter’s Deli at 2am…but that’s another story.
What makes them Master Teachers and amazing yogis isn’t just the physical practice. It’s the absolute respect they give to the teacher. I trip over my own tongue, I mix up right and left…no problem. They are in the practice. They are listening to the teacher. No ego.
In design school, all of my teachers said, “know the rules before you break them”
That’s true in yoga too. A well trained Vinyasa teacher has a method to the madness. Listen, follow direction and then modify as needed. Be a master yogi.