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Teaching Hatha Yoga: Establishing Guidelines for Student Conduct

Paul M. Jerard Jr.
Aug 17, 2007
Once you have decided to become a Yoga teacher, you begin to see behavior in the Yoga class differently. You are no longer a Yoga student, but a Yoga teacher who is trying to cover the class lesson plan, within a specific time frame.

Most Yoga teachers work with adults, so I will not cover children's issues or "Kids Yoga Rules." Even though you expect adults to use "common sense," you should establish Yoga studio guidelines or rules of conduct. What you consider to be common sense might be an "awakening" for a few Yoga students.

Most floor surfaces for Yoga are kept clean. There are a variety of surfaces to choose from, but most Yoga teachers do not want shoes on the studio floor. During winter, in northern climates, snow and ice can track all the way onto the Yoga studio floor.

That is, just one reason, why Yoga studios have a sign that states: "Please leave your shoes outside the Yoga studio door." The best one I ever saw was a guy who left a trail of metal splinters from his work boots in the Yoga studio rug. Just picture the clean up, and we were pulling splinters out of that rug for weeks.

"Cell phones are to be turned off. If this is not possible, you will be unable to participate in the Yoga class." Does that seem a bit harsh?

There's nothing like teaching a meditation session and having the "March of the Imperial Guard" ring off in your Yoga class. If Yoga students cannot separate themselves from the phone, they should set it to vibrate without noise.

Most Yoga teachers realize a few people are "on call," but they cannot be allowed to disrupt what the majority of Yoga students seek. Most Yoga students come to your classes to find a "piece of tranquility." They want to get away from cell phones, multi-tasking, deadlines, and a hectic work day.

"Keep your body clean. It bothers all of us, if we have to remind a student of this." This is a tough but necessary guideline. Even though you might use common sense, someone eventually will enter the Yoga studio, and your nostrils will never forget the experience.

How long can you, or your Yoga students, take the punishment? Your students do not have to stay in your Yoga class, and you may end up teaching the source of the problem - alone.

Related to this rule is: "Please do not wear strong perfumes or colognes to Yoga class." Most of us love to put on perfume or cologne. However, too much, or the wrong type, might smell like insecticide to everyone else. This reaction can cause headaches, nausea, and some Yoga students may leave as a result.

These were just a few examples of why you should implement guidelines for your Yoga classes. It is true that a small number of people have created the precedents, but rules and guidelines should be designed to protect the vast majority of Yoga students.

Copyright 2007 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
About the Author
Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995.

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