Addressing Distraction: Humility & Boundaries

  • When a student is potentially distracting other students, ask yourself mindful questions to determine whether and how to intervene.
  • When intervention is called for, do so with respect, empathy and clarity.
  • Protect the quiet of Savasana by ending class on time and requesting beforehand that those who need to leave early, leave before Savasana begins.

Considering Potential Distractions

If there is a student who is potentially disturbing other students, Jason Crandell offers some advice here, including:

  • The primary question to ask yourself is whether a student appears to be practicing safely, both for himself and those around him. A student going up into handstand on his own who doesn’t appear in control, for instance, is endangering other students. If safety is a question, then it’s important to ask the student to come out of the pose.
  • The next question you may wish to reflect on is just how disturbing the student actually is to others. Note that most students are likely focused on their personal practice and may be less aware of other student distractions than you are.
  • If you think the student is disturbing others, you may wish to discreetly address it. Crandell notes, “If you lack discretion, you may create even more disturbance for the group than was occurring in the first place.” In some cases, you may wish to speak with the student after class

Responding With Empathy

You may consider having some one-on- one time with them following the class so you can address their specific behavior. Addressing this privately helps them avoid any embarrassment from calling them out in front of their peers, while acknowledging the issue at hand. Alternatively, you can ask questions and get to know them better personally. This may give you insight into why they’re acting they way they do, and help you figure out a more unique way of handling them. Just remember, be as non-judgmental as possible. You don’t want anyone to feel as though they are unwelcome, rather that there are certain standards of behavior that must be upheld… Your disruptive student may not be aware of the rules or etiquette of the yoga class, so explaining these clearly and coherently is a good way to avoid accidental disruptions. – Jules Barber

Protecting the Silence of Savasana

Jason Crandell does a lovely service with this excellent reminder:

As teachers, there’s almost no way to guarantee that someone doesn’t occasionally bail half-way through Savasana. And, hey, maybe someone just remembered that they’re needed on a conference call or whatever. We’re all human and this is going to happen. But, there are two things you can do to minimize these incidents. First of all, end your… classes on time!!! Don’t expect that everyone in your class can go over by 5 minutes or more because you took too long to get to your peak pose!… The second thing you can do is make periodic announcements in your class that you’ll be ending on time, that you’d prefer students to stay for Savasana, but if anyone needs to leave early, do so before Savasana begins or when class is over. – Jason Crandell