As teachers it is our job to support and guide our students while also creating a safe space for them to practice. Have you ever felt unsafe or not seen by your teacher? I think most people are going to yoga classes because they seek connection to something greater than them self.
We never know what people are going through so we must be prepared to see our students and make them feel comfortable.
I walked into a studio for the first time and I was thinking that I would be acknowledged by the teacher. I was new to the area and I was seeking connection with others. I was going through a transition in my life and I was looking for a place that I would feel supported. I had been doing yoga for 10 years and I had moved away from my favorite teachers. I was hoping to find a new teacher that could help guide me along the path.
I walked into the studio and I checked into the class, got myself settled and made my way into the practice space.
As I was walking in, I noticed the teacher. I said hello and spoke up. I told her I was new to the area and I was excited to take her class. I noticed she wasn’t looking at me in the eyes. I saw her looking at my pants. I wasn’t sure why. I didn’t think my pants mattered, but I must’ve missed something. After all they were on properly and there wasn’t anything unusual about them. I bought them at Target. So what, they were $19.99
I took the class, breathed my way through the power vinyasa class and broke a sweat. My mat was covered with sweat and during savasana I laid there and felt my body cool down. My eyes were open and I noticed the teacher was handing out wet lavender cloths. I noticed her put one by everyone’s head.
I saw her walk by me and I felt her feet near mine.
I looked over to see if she left me a towel, but she didn’t. I was confused and a little bit emotional that she’d overlooked me.
As we said are Namaste, rolled up the sweaty mats and made are way out to the lobby, I noticed extra wet towels laying in a bucket.
I walked up to the bucket, grabbed a towel and walked by the teacher. She noticed me with the towel and gave me a petty smirk.
I thought to myself ‘what was that all about?’
My sense was that she intentionally skipped me.
I felt like an insecure middle school girl.
I felt like she was acting like the mean girl who wanted to give the new girl in town a hard time.
I was confused.
‘This is yoga?’ I thought.
Then I remembered that everyone approaches the practice differently.
I left the studio and still felt so confused.
Was I overthinking?
But I felt her stare at my pants from Target and I felt her skip over me in savasana.
What was this all about?
Still confused, I let it go.
I found out later that she was a competitive person and she was known for making others feel small.
How could this be Yoga?
I struggled with going back to that studio. I wanted to find a place where I would feel welcomed. A place I could connect with others and be seen for who I am.
Have you ever experienced this kind of discomfort in a class?
As a teacher, I feel it’s my responsibility to make my students feel comfortable. I feel it’s my job to nurture the space so that everyone is included and everyone feels safe.
Although everyone approaches Yoga differently, we are all searching for some kind of connection. After all Yoga means to ‘unite.’