I am currently enrolled in a community yoga class held at a local senior center in my neighborhood. Without the prestige of a formal yoga studio, I expected a few quirks – having to set the tables and chairs back up following the session in the classroom where the class is held, hearing the bell choir practice two classrooms down in the middle of corpse pose, and lots of giggly, chatty, yoga newbies. The one thing I didn’t expect, however, is to have a teacher who loves to stop what she’s instructing, tell a 10-minute story about some random event in her life, and then forget where she was in the class. She also constantly chats with her veteran students throughout the middle of the class, leaving the rest of us sitting there waiting for instruction. My concern is that I came for a challenging and effective yoga class, not to socialize and hear stories. I’ve heard comments from other students raising the same concerns, and so I’m wondering what the proper etiquette is to help the situation? Should I just continue the class, nod and smile at her stories, and not sign up for another session? Or should I say something to the instructor? The problem is that I’m definitely not a confrontational person, so would much rather just keep my mouth shut, grin and bear it! – A
Dear Grin and Bear It –
Blargh, sounds very frustrating! What to do…fight or flight? We have to deal with lots of uncomfortable things in yoga: a difficult pose, bubbling emotions, a noisy environment, that bean burrito from lunch. If we acted on each and every discomfort, well, it wouldn’t be yoga. However, what you’re experiencing doesn’t sound much like yoga either, or at least what you thought you signed up for. To the teacher’s defense, perhaps she feels her storytelling adds to the practice somehow, giving students a little yoga time out. Is the community class offered for free? If the teacher is volunteering her time then you probably ought to just stick with the program and listen to her retelling of the time she was produce shopping with cousin Earl and noticed how lovely the prickly pears were that day and oh how they didn’t reminded her of life’s sweet imperfections, and that Earl, usually a spendthrift, really wanted to buy one even though they were out of season and way overpriced and ended up with two Granny Smiths instead. Life is full of surprises!
Or, scoot your boot.
The veterans seem to dig it, which only encourages her to continue unwittingly while the rest of the students sit in a hrmph. If there are indeed other cohorts whispering dissent maybe you and that bunch could branch off and sprout a new yoga group. From seeds we grow! However, if you and fellow listeners are paying a pretty penny for yoga class and getting more than an earful of chit chat then something must be said. To avoid a full on attack, one option is to approach the vets with your gripes, and if they’re of the compromising sort perhaps the student body as a whole can gently request less talk, more yoga. If that doesn’t work, or you’re still not up for confrontation altogether then you’d be best suited to take your down dog for a walk. We could go on, but…
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