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Learning When to Shut Up

Have you ever noticed that yoga teachers really LOVE it when students ask them questions they know an answer for? I haven't quite figured out if we just get questions we don't have answers for so often that we get a little too excited when we actually have a response that might be useful to someone or if it's just an ego thing, but I've been in way too many classes where teachers have just gone on and on (and on) answering one student's question while everyone else sat silently, staring at their toes.

"Oh! You have SI issues! Allow me to tell you (and everyone else waiting for class to begin) EVERYTHING i know about the SI Joint! ... You see, I was reading my anatomy book last week when my SI joint flared up and I found out that sometimes it has to do with a tight psoas. Then I talked to my physical therapist about it .... Let's have you march in place for a minute, so I can show you (and, again, everyone else in the room) what I know."

At this point, all of the other students are waiting politely and genuinely trying to get something out of the demonstration (even though it has nothing to do with them at all), and the poor student who asked the question wants to crawl under a rock. I know this because I ask a lot of questions.

Sometimes the lessons you learn from other teachers aren't particularly positive. Sometimes you learn what NOT to do. As a teacher, I intend to answer only the question that was asked of me, and in a succinct fashion. There is such a thing as too much information.

What things have you learned NOT to do from your teachers?

P.S. Here's an article from Yoga Journal's My Yoga Mentor email newsletter about incorporating silence into your teaching. Silence as a Teaching Tool (http://www.yogajournal.com/for_teachers/2433)

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Comments

Erica,
Right on! As a yoga teacher myself I dig the practice(it is a practice to do this) of teaching using less words ... joint/hip/neck/meds/injuries/comments and personal stories are not of benefit to a group of students mid-class and my intention teaching is to take it inward. The breath will teach them. Solid instruction, definitely but the spaces of silence between a teachers words create space for the student to experience the pose.
Best,

Emily

Hi Erica,

Thanks for the nice articles. Being a yoga teacher myself, I haven't given a thought from this perspective as you have nicely explained in your article. Good food for the thought.

With Best Regards
Barbara

Interesting Post. I have yet to encounter a Yoga teacher who have not advised me on not doing something. Initially I had lot of issues with syncing breath with the exercise and this is the most important thing to remember.

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
Sarah
http://www.thetreadmillguide.com

Hey Erica, can you recommend a good PVC free yoga mat?
Thanks :)

Hopefully you are referring to new teachers. However, with some people the answer is always way too long. You could also be that.

"What things have you learned NOT to do from your teachers?"

I've been in too many classes where the teacher thinks yoga is a performance art, so as a teacher, I've learned NOT to perform for my students just to try to impress them.

I discern a right or wrong way of instructing from you. Which is fine naturally. However I have recently discovered that there is no right and wrong there is diff. but I know what you mean about people rambling on and on it happens all to often hu...

I also know what it means to discover an SI joint for the first time in body because of the way its just now being described i am able to relate to my own pain in my body and learn from that as well...a class practice would be then to meditate inward...gaze fixed inward...these are the teachings.

please relax the tension you hold in your structure and your postures from expectation.

meditation is not emphasized enough in the world of franchise yoga.

blessings of ganesha
ohhhmmmm shanna nam ganesha.

namaste,
kundalinicandy

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