How to be a ROCK STAR student

There is a plethora of articles on what makes a good yoga teacher but the reality is it’s not just the instructor that can be bad. YOU could be a yoga teacher’s worst nightmare.

You come in late. You noisily roll out your mat. Your audible sigh practically echoes in the room. You showboat during class. You don’t listen to any coaching and worse yet you stoically stare at the teacher the entire session without cracking a smile.

So let’s talk about it… HOW TO BE A GOOD STUDENT:

  1. Lay off  the perfume but definitely layer on the deodorant.
  2. Walk in with an open mind that is ready to focus and work.
  3. Do I really need to tell you to silence your phone? Okay, well, SILENCE YOUR PHONE!
  4. Let the teacher know if you are new to the class, injured or recovering from an injury.
  5. Do your best to follow instructions and ask questions, if appropriate.
  6. Try not to move ahead of the teacher. Poses are held for a reason and no one likes a show-off.
  7. If the teacher says something funny, go ahead and laugh. It’s okay.
  8. Respect your fellow students – don’t lay your mat too closely to someone or block her view of the teacher.
  9. If you’re late to class or have to leave early, be as quiet as possible so as not to disrupt others.
  10. Provide feedback. (Really! We’d love to know how we could improve!)

Teachers are fueled by the energy from students. So any positive energy you can share not only improves your experience but helps the class as a whole. Remember, we are still human beings who want to make sure you’re also enjoying yourself so give us a break and smile back. It won’t kill you.

Your teacher is giving you everything he’s got. Are you giving back?

All work and no yoga makes for a bad combination

Lonely yoga matCONFESSION: I’m a yoga teacher who doesn’t do yoga.

It’s criminal. And I’m feeling haggard, stressed and like a complete fraud.

I teach yoga because I love it and I strongly believe in its restorative power… You’ve heard me go on and on about it. But these days, along with my full-time job, I teach two evening classes during the week and two more classes every other weekend. I also run, spin and occasionally weightlift… All of this while maintaining this blog, hanging out with friends, spending quality time with the hubs and giving myself some down time. And I need PLENTY of down time.

So where does my personal yoga practice fit into all of this? I don’t know. But something has to give…

But what? I love my students and I love teaching but it’s just not the same as being a student and allowing myself to be fully immersed. And writing? Well, I’ve always wanted to write and now I finally get to! Did I mention that I like to read and I have so many books I’ll die before I can read them all?

But ultimately, can I really be an effective yoga teacher without taking yoga myself?

The answer is no.

So what do you do when the life you’ve worked so hard to create turns on you and starts beating the crap out of you?

Photo via Flickr (Creative Commons) by mosabua.

How to meet the gym of your dreams

I once walked into a Bally’s in Washington, DC to check it out… I was subjected to a high pressure sales pitch then was insulted by the sales person when I didn’t cave in. Suffice it to say that I will never join a Bally’s and neither will anyone willing to listen.

But it begs the question, how do you decide which gym to join?

Factor #1: Convenience.

The more convenient the location of the gym the more likely you’ll go. Is parking available? Is it easy to get to? Do the gym hours work with your schedule?

Factor #2: Facilities

The equipment doesn’t have to be brand spanking new but they should be in good condition. Look for machines you might use. Visit the gym at a time when you would normally go. Is it crowded? Is there a wait to use the machines? Don’t forget to look at the locker room and make sure it’s clean and well-kept. Do they have other services that you’re interested in? Maybe a tanning salon, personal training, massage services, or a daycare?

Factor #3: Group Fitness

Do they offer a wide variety of group fitness classes? On your tour, take a few moments to observe a class. Is the instructor good? Do the students look like they’re enjoying themselves?

Factor #4: Ambience

Does the gym have a good energy about it or is it a barren wasteland with only a few surly-looking members hanging about? Is the staff friendly?

But what about price, you ask? That all depends on what you’re willing to pay and the kind of services you’re looking for. Some gyms have swimming pools and tennis courts. If you’re not going to use it, don’t pay for it.

By all means, take advantage of their free membership passes and get an even better feel of the place by actually using it. But please don’t sign any contracts without reading it! Some legal considerations at least in the state of Maryland can be found here. Your state government website should have some information for you.

Going to the gym can be a real drag and often requires a lot of motivation (even bribery) so having a gym that you enjoy will make a huge difference.

Good luck!

And as always, if you love your local gym, leave your recommendation in the comments. Hopefully we can partner up some people with the gym of their dreams.

Photo via Flickr (Creative Commons) by Sanchom.