I'm Teacher, Not a Caterer

Sometimes I have so much to say or share that I end up not saying anything because I'm not sure where to start. So, here's what I'll offer today. It's about my teaching.

I don't cater to students, though I do always try to be in service to students.

When I look out at the classroom, I see the folks who have in some way connected to my classes, whether it's the storytelling, the alignment focus, the homey vibe, the other students in the community. I see the students who are specifically connected to what I have to offer. 

I don't try to win over a potential student by changing my teaching to suit them or by adding things that feel inauthentic to me.  You want it hotter? I can point you in the direction of 30 classes at this exact same time that will give you that. Want me to spend less time on philosophy, meditation, and pranayama so you can do more "vinyasas?" I'm not your gal. Don't want to learn about alignment? Again, there are plenty of classes out there for you, but I will not let you hurt yourself on my watch.

One of the many problems of the yoga industry is that many people are confused and think that yoga teachers are in the "service industry" and that the customer is always right. We aren't and they aren't.  Creating the problem is that yoga instructors often feel they have to cater to students because we get paid by the student (in general), which means if I cater to you, you might like me, and come back and then I'll make enough money from you on that day to buy a kombucha and if I cater to enough people, I might even be able to pay my rent.  When teachers pander to students, the students then don't see yoga as an education process and the teacher as, well, a teacher.  So, they then expect to have their expectations of what they want in a class met by any class they attend.  

The way I see it, there are more than enough yoga classes in the world that will meet the wants and needs of those who want it hotter, faster, less spiritual, whatever. Way more of those than there is of me.  Those are the students who have a hard time finding what they want.  If people come to my class, it's because there's something in it they didn't find elsewhere. If I cater to potential students, I actually am disrespecting the students who are coming for what it is that I uniquely add to the mix.  We've created a community together over 13 years. I no longer am the sole magnet for my classes, my students magnetize the students. 

So, if you stumble into my class, I am going to welcome you wholeheartedly. I am going to be excited that my community may have discovered a new friend. I'll introduce you to the folks on the mat near you. I am going to give my utmost and best to serve you, to teach you and to offer something that may be valuable not only on your mat, but in your life.  And also, if I'm not the right fit for you, ask me and I will tell you where and with who you might find the right fit...

but I will not cater to you.

Archived YOGA BOHEMIAN blog posts (2007-2014)