Popular Teachers' Corner

5 Things I Can’t Tell You…Because I’m Your Yoga Teacher

If you really want to believe that your yoga teacher is a 100% calm, almost angelic being who thrives on kale and hummus, stop reading.

I’m here to tell you that although I seem cool and collected as we flow, I’m actually just a bag full of emotions. Not even like a Glad Bag that stretches and conceals all the stinky trash that comes my way. No. I’m more like that cheap garbage bag that can only filled about halfway before a little hole opens up and odorous slime oozes out. If filled to the brim, I may just burst open. A ticking time bomb.

Okay, so I am a very happy person. I find joy in even the most mundane activities and it really does take an army to knock my spirits down. Even still, it happens. I’m not just your yoga teacher. I’m human.

My husband and I often giggle to ourselves whenever a student of mine says, “Meg is always so calm! Zach, it must be nice to be married to such a zen yoga teacher.” Listen, friends, I have a myriad of emotions and “zen” is not one my dear husband would use to classify me. He would describe me as exuberant, maybe even obnoxious, but not zen.

Since now you know that I have actual human emotions, let me tell you a couple things that really fill my dollar store trash bag. Before we get started, here’s one more secret to keep in mind – somewhere deep within every yoga teacher, you will find a boisterous AMEN as they read this list. Here are some things that as your yoga teacher, I’m not supposed to tell you:

Come to class early

Being late to class is not only disrespectful, it’s also very distracting to the other yogis. We may have just started, but when you open the door and flip your mat onto the studio floor that “SLAP” of rubber onto wood is the worst. Arrive at the studio AT LEAST 2 minutes before class is scheduled to get signed in and set up. Better yet, show up 5 minutes early and give yourself some time to really arrive in the space.

Don’t blow out the candles or incense

I understand. Some people really don’t like the smell of incense. I respect that, but please do not get up during class to blow it out. It is so distracting and can be really confusing to the other yogis, especially new students. That’s another great reason to get to the studio early. I’m there setting up the studio and preparing for class about 45 minutes early, which includes lighting candles and incense. If the incense or candles make you uncomfortable please let me know! I will be sure to blow them out before class begins.

Don’t chat during class (ESPECIALLY during savasana)

Yoga is often a time for people to escape, to come into their bodies and experience a peacefulness that the world does not allow. Constant chatter during class breaks the atmosphere and disrupts the sense of separation from the world. Savasana is the seal. It’s the bentonite that locks in that blissful feeling. If you have an issue with the music’s volume, please tell me after class. I have carefully considered the volume. If the song aids the intension, I will turn it up so you can really hear the words and allow the song to vibrate within you.  Please don’t yell over the music or even whisper during savasana. Whatever you have to say can wait for another 5 minutes.

Be creative, but please follow at least some of my flow

For every hour of class, I spent 2 hours planning. One thing I really love is watching my students put a little of themselves into the flow. Everyone has their own transitions and variations. But please, don’t just do your own flow throughout class. Why would you pay to come in and completely ignore the yoga teacher? That’s like going to the dentist and eating taffy while he tries to floss your teeth.

Don’t ask me to recommend other local yoga studios

Would you walk into an orthopedic office and ask the doctor to recommend another orthopedic in the area? That’s the easiest way to tell your yoga teacher, “I like yoga, but I don’t like you.” I kind of feel this way when students ask me for online recommendations, too. Not to practice with in addition to coming into the studio. No, to replace their studio practice. Google is a pretty powerful thing. It’s okay to find a new yoga teacher if I am not the right fit for you! Please just do your replacement search someway other that asking the person you are trying to get away from.

What else would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!

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  1. Pála Margrét

    Pála Margrét

    May 10, 2017 at 11:27 am

    I agree to some parts here but not all. However, I see your point with all of them. I actually sometimes say to my students that even though they come to my class, they do not need to do what I say. I suffered from fibromyalgia and one thing that got me out of it was to show up to yoga class, EVEN though sometimes I didn´t follow any of what the teacher was doing. Sometimes half the class would be Savasana, I would hold pigeon when the other students where doing Half moon pose. But simply showing up was what I needed and slowly I started doing more and more. So of course, I understand your point of view, but I always encourage my students to listen to their bodies first and my teaching second. Thank you for this – and I strongly agree with your showing up on time and savasana comments!! 🙂

  2. Amanda Sides

    Amanda Sides

    May 10, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    I think this can be called “Things I CAN and MUST Tell You Precisely Because I’m Your Yoga Teacher.” 🙂 Expecting them to be on time or early is important…though it shouldn’t actually NEED to be said, I think it’s our duty to say it if someone continually comes in late. Though I would rather have them arrive late than not at all, as long as they enter quietly and respectfully. As for candles and incense, I never use them because some people are really sensitive to them. The exception might be an unscented tea light. I have no problem with people opting out of one or two poses…like Pála, I tell my students to listen to their bodies first. However, I expect them to follow along or do something similar. Tree instead of eagle is fine with me, modified sun salutations instead of the full ones are fine with me, resting is fine with me. But in general, the student should be moving along with us. Even if a student isn’t doing the same poses, it’s easy to tell if they’re “with” you or if they’re doing their own thing. I’ve never actually had a problem with this in a yoga class, but once during a kickboxing class I had someone show up who was wanting a specific branded kickboxing experience, and she started doing moves from that class while I was teaching something else. I was the sub that day, so I just rolled my eyes (on the inside) and let it go. A colleague of mine, though, once had to tell someone to put the weights away in the middle of her step aerobics class! 🙂

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    Erich M

    May 11, 2017 at 4:51 am

    Right before class once, I was settling into child pose. Three people are standing right above me having a loud conversation, while one is standing ON my mat. Who WAS a teacher. But once class gets going , it’s nice to know I can delete that from my brain, and start flowing.

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