Communication is Key

Take the straight path to get right to the point

Communication is obviously a key component not only in your yoga practice, but in every facet of life. One of the biggest dangers of not communicating to others is that grandiose and often tragic stories percolate in your mind, very often with little bearing in reality. Insight and intuition are one thing; the restless mind creating epic dramas involving other people who are probably not even remotely doing what you think they are is another case altogether.

This habit of not communicating is dangerous in the yoga studio, and something I deal with as an instructor. Recently a regular student of mine approached the manager at one of the clubs, stating that my class moves too quickly and is too challenging. What she did not add is that it is this way “to her.” It is actually one of my more popular classes, and the students that attend come precisely because it challenges them.

There are many layers that can be peeled away here. At first her comments made me stop and think, if the class is beyond your abilities at this time, why come twice a week every week? Mostly I found the response to be a matter of attitude. While admittedly there are very seasoned practitioners in that class, there are a few students who have never taken yoga before and yet come twice a week in the early morning specifically because they want to feel challenged. I teach a strong Vinyasa at an intermediate to advanced level, and for some students, this is what inspires them to return to the mat week after week.

Yet we end with the obvious: the student never actually approached me about the issue. This is where lack of communication causes breakdowns and misunderstandings. She approached the manager looking for variations, or things she could do to make her practice stronger. Considering that the manager is not a yoga instructor, she could offer no real advice except to approach me about these issues. This is, unfortunately, what a number of people do in their lives, skirting around the issue instead of taking the straight path to the point. Just like in massage, when the point is touched, the pressure is diffused, and the tension we’ve created in our minds dissolves on contact.

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