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When Students Behave Badly, Part I

Before we get to the post, a quick, shameless plug for my upcoming trainings. You can join me live at my 500-Hour Yoga Teacher Training in 2020 in San Francisco or London. I also have three separate online teacher trainings, focusing on arm balances & inversions, sequencing, or anatomy.

Yoga Etiquette | Jason Crandell teaching | Jason Crandell Vinyasa Yoga Method

I love my students, I respect my students, and I fully appreciate the fact that I wouldn’t have a job without my students. And, dear reader, you feel the same: You love and respect your students, and you know that you wouldn’t have a job without them. In fact, I’m going to take this a step further and confess that I’m hugely affected by whether or not students come to class. When my students show up, I’m stoked. When they don’t, I’m bummed. Despite my efforts toward non-attachment, I’m a codependent.

So, yeah, we love our students and we’re here to support them. That’s a given. But, you know what? Sometimes our students get…weird. Class can get loose. And, it’s tough to know when to intervene. During my Advanced  500-Hour Yoga Teacher Trainings, questions about managing student behavior are near the top of everyone’s list.

See also When Students Behave Badly, Part II


First, I have to credit Elena from my online sequencing program for the above phrase. It’s classic. And, we all know exactly what she means. I could write for hours about this topic and we could all share some stories, but let me cut to the quick. The conundrum in this scenario is straightforward. On one hand, we want our students to listen to their bodies, respond to their own needs, and develop a personalized experience. On the other hand, it’s group class, there’s a sequence being taught, and it doesn’t take a ton disrupt the cohesiveness of the group. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s yoga and students should be able to focus on their own experiences. But, we’re human. We’re social creatures. When we’re packed into little rooms and John Doe is pressing into his 10th Handstand while everyone is trying to do Savasana, it’s wicked annoying.

Ideally, you will learn to allow for your students to have a personal experience while at the same time fostering group cohesiveness. This means you have to ask yourself a few questions: First, is the student who marches to the beat of their own drummer safe? Second, are the people around him or her safe? For example, is the student who pressed into Tripod Headstand from Wide-Legged Forward Bend in control? Or, does he look like he’s are going to break his neck, fall over, and take out a row of classmates? If the students appear to be genuinely unsafe, it’s important to step in and ask them to come out of the pose. Unfortunately, it’s surprisingly common for the student who’s decided to launch himself into a tough pose to be ill-equipped for the task.

The second question to ask yourself is whether or not the student doing their own thing is disturbing the group. Ask yourself, is the behavior truly disruptive to the group, or it is simply bugging you? This will help you answer the inner debate of whether to take control of the situation to protect the group experience or to let go and let it ride. If the behavior is disruptive, you need to address it as discreetly as you can. If you lack discretion, you may create even more disturbance for the group than was occurring in the first place.

The most common disturbance that I’ve had to manage over the years is when students are still doing active postures during Savasana. In these cases—and there’s been a lot of them over the past 20 years—I simply walk over to the student, tell them that I understand they want to keep moving, but it would be nice for the group of they could be still because they’re making more noise than they’re aware of.


OK, OK, OK, I understand that yoga feels good and it helps us let go of chronic tension. I understand that we’re all a little wound-up and there aren’t many places where we can let loose. But, unless you’re sitting in the back of my class polishing off a box of Whitman’s (which would earn its’ own category of behaving badly), I fully admit to getting rattled by the moans, groans, ooohs, and aaahhhs that sometimes unfold. And, I’m not the only one.

First, know that you’re probably more aware of this yoga etiquette issue than your students are. The same goes for students doing their own thing. You’re overseeing the entire group, while they’re doing their practice. This means that you’re going to be more sensitive to the group as a whole, while each student is going to be more tuned into what’s going on in their own world. So, most students aren’t going to notice the small moans and groans. In fact, who cares about the small moans and groans? They’re going to occur—and, they’re probably a good sign that class is working.

But if someone is doing her best imitation of Monica Seles in the back of the room, everyone is going to be affected. There are occasions where the oooohhhs, ahhhhhs, and mmmmms are so intense that it’s just too much to handle. If it’s getting out of hand I’ve got three recommendations: Keep class moving, keep your instructions flowing, and talk to any serial offenders after class. Moaning kicks in more fervently when class slows down and the teacher gets quiet. It’s as if the cosmos needs to fill any quiet void with a reminder that we’re still human and yoga feels good. Of course, you shouldn’t derail your class, but I can think of several classes over the years that I kept things motoring longer than I planned because every quiet moment was answered by a distressing amount of vocal applause.

Again, if you genuinely believe that it’s disruptive to the group, you should talk to the person about it after class. This may seem un-yogic and exclusionary, but I don’t see it that way. People who conduct groups have the right to address disruptive behavior and provide clear boundaries. I’ve probably addressed five students over the years. It’s uncomfortable, but in my estimation it’s been necessary. I’ve simply said to the student that I’m happy that they’re savoring the practice and getting out some of the demons, but could they please be a little quieter and minimize their moaning. It’s a tough call, but sometimes teaching yoga presents you with challenges. On the other hand, if you don’t mind the sounds and you don’t think they’re a problem for the group, you’re more than welcome to let it ride.

Students doing their own thing and making class sound like they’re sampling a 12-course dinner at The French Laundry aren’t the only idiosyncratic student behaviors that students exhibit. Make sure to check Part II of Students Behaving Badly next week, when we look at the exciting task of managing “Savasana, No Thanks!” “Shirtless, Sweaty and Proximate” and “Shower, Soap, Deodorant? Nope, I’d Rather Not!” If you have thoughts — or good stories shared in good spirit, without names — feel free to post them in the comments section below.


  1. Once had a student who had indulged a little too much in an early afternoon glass of tipple or two – it was an interesting scenario. Safe to say she didn’t get to stay too long – put everyone in child’s pose and quietly asked her to leave for her own safety and those around her!

  2. Omg…… The excessive moaning!!!!! I just experienced this last weekend. I was spending the class reminding myself to control my reaction, thoughts and if I am honest I had to control my urge to laugh at the moaning. I try and be respectful of the individual experience but the excessive moaning is a disruption. However I just practiced my yoga considered it another distraction and an opportunity to train myself to not allow it to disrupt my peace!

    1. But maybe I was jealous of the amen after each pose! Yes I found it annoying but respected her need to do so because asking her to stop was not an option. Honestly moaning is better than talking . This is me feeling bad about not liking and accepting excessive moaning. please forgive me! Lol

  3. Awwww! Yesssss, the moans and the other sounds that escape from the neighboring yogi that I didn’t know a human could make…. For me the disturbance took me back to grade school. I am referring to situations when there’s definitely someone doing something odd and all the kids huddle together and giggle. So, sorry Jason but it took me back to my giggling days. The groans and moans were annoying but after day 2 they became very funny. I appreciate the sound advise and look forward to “part II.”
    Namaste 🙂

  4. You failed to mention loud burping and farting! 😮 The fact that someone can do that freely with no embarrassment or “excuse me’s” is beyond my understanding. I just know who to stay away from.

  5. Great post, Jason. How have you handled folks talking to each other during class? I have had it happen more than a couple of times (friends practicing next to each other who chat on and off for the class). While I don’t want folks to feel they have to be silent during my classes, I find the “talking while the teacher is talking” thing very disrespectful and it throws my focus way off. Thoughts? Thank you!

    1. I’m not a teacher, but as a student who has had the unfortunate luck of being next to chatty kathies and kevins (more males, in my experience), it is so very very distracting. Yes, I’m supposed to concentrate on my own yoga. Minding my own business will free me from unecessary suffering. I should take it as a challenge, a test, to strengthen my yoga mind. Etc. Etc. But that is also why I go to class. Because I’m NOT at that level of zen and mind strength.
      Funny thing is, I was much more annoyed at the teacher for doing nothing rather than the rude fellow students. I think when a teacher is leading a class, he/she is responsible for the whole class. Allowing such distraction which affects the students around them is simply irresponsible (due to inexperience, laziness, plain cluelessness, lack of skill – soft skill, bedside skill, etc.)

      So if you’re a teacher and you’re hesitant to ask students to cease needless chats, please know that when you do work up the nerve/courage/willingness/skill set to do so, you have the mental support and (probably silent) thanks of your other students.

    2. I’ve totally had this experience as well! It’s so uncomfortable, because we aren’t grade school teachers — so we don’t want to (and shouldn’t have to!) talk to our students like misbehaving children disrupting class!

      It’s certainly flattering that the students have developed such a strong bond and sense of community just from attending the same class regularly for years; I am deeply grateful that they feel comfortable, companionable and connected in my class. However, it’s also super awkward to intervene, as teaching adults to be respectful in a room full of adults is most definitely *not* what I’m there to teach. I have personally found that a good-natured joke has the best results in dealing with this. When all else fails, I have found that going over an adjusting one of the talkers always stops the behavior.

      1. Agreed! Keep a sense of humor : “am I going to have to separate you twoooo “. Also I have cued obviously chatting students to “soften and still the jaw, and close the lips”… They quickly get the yogaspeak for “zip it”!
        Great article, looking forward to part 2

      2. I am a pitta vata! I can get a bit Kali Durga when students chat. I have a vibe from the beginning of class that Is chocolate chipotle…. Chatting causes me to yell out “Shut your cake hole and get in the pose!” They Love it! They Laugh! We move on…so tough love works. If they still chat I threaten to separate them.

    3. Just had that this morning. I think it was mom and daughter and the mom didn’t understand what to do. I let a lot of it pass but keep saying if you don’t know what to do stop and watch and I kept going over to her mat to help. It wouldn’t have been a huge issue if the daughter wasn’t so loud.

    4. Yes a very common problem, my solution when teaching is to usually walk over to the offending students and start giving them alignment cues or asking if they need a variation of the current pose. Because if they are talking they are probably not paying attention to the pose or even really trying.

  6. Thanks for this, Jason. I have to share that yoga class often makes me cry and I struggle to control this reaction because I know that it makes others uncomfortable. Because of this reaction, I have focused more on my home practice and stopped taking classes until I can figure out the triggers and manage better. Maybe you can comment on the crying student as well as the moaning student.


    1. Jennifer – Anyone who has practiced for awhile knows that crying is a release, and I have always viewed it as a beautiful gift. I see it as a blessing, and I think most others would too. A student of mine once said to me, “Thank you for letting me come to class and cry on my mat for the past three years. I had a lot of healing to do and you made it okay for me to do it in class.” I feel that mostly what I do as a teacher is create the safe place for people to be who they are without any judgment or fear. Having said that, good manners are to be employed in class as they are everywhere else. Namaste – Leigh Anne

    2. I personally have never minded students crying in class, though I’ve only ever had tears in/after savasana and the closing dharma talk. Tears are natural when practicing yoga; unless you are openly weeping, wailing and snotting, I generally find crying to be completely inoffensive. Moaning is largely under the student’s control; crying is more involuntary, and more acceptable, I think.

      1. I’ve been a crier too.
        Love it.
        Clearest sense of letting go.
        I do it silently but oncr at a studio I teach all the teachers came and did breath work, balled, screamed and flooded the mat in a safe space and it helped others let go too.

        As a regular proper pranayama practitioner at first I was a bit dubious about breath work, but it’s a really interesting really similar to those earlier yoga sessions before teaching

  7. I think the worst scenario for disruption (and there are many!) was that a guy kept breaking wind. Now, I know…it happens to everyone once or twice but my goodness, this was every move we did for an hour. Even when we wernt moving he was doing it. People were trying desperately not to laugh.
    The hardest part though was he is a regular and it never happened before or since. I just didn’t know what to say or do as I started to find it hard not to laugh myself. Couldn’t believe one person could be filled with that much air!!!
    He did apologise after!
    Another one is that a lady fell asleep during relaxation and woke loudly with a jump exclaiming ‘oh I could really do with some toast before going to work!’ She dis it on more than one occasion.
    There are many more scenarios as I’m sure with anyone who teaches. Just a couple of the ones that make me laugh to think of now.

    1. Hahahaha Vernette. Your stories made me cry with laughter!!! I also have some serial farters. Out of nowhere and with no sound the room fills with a horrible stench. As I teach from my home studio the room is not very large so everyone can smell it. My husband joins in on all my classes and after class when I laugh about it he just doesn’t get the humour! I would probably find it soo hard not to laugh if someone awoke from savasana wanting toast!! Lol

  8. A couple recently joined to my class, both are new, but the wife class spends “teaching” her husband and correcting his posture, it’s a bit annoying for others at the room, but especially for him, I was thinking of placing them in different places, but do not know how, I’m afraid they’ll take it the wrong way, any suggestions?

    1. Maybe you could teach a class centred on “New perspectives” – in the beginning you could ask every student to look for a new place in the room and discretely separate the couple…

    2. Separate them! One or other may even prefer it – by being afraid they’ll take it the wrong way, sounds like you’re projecting something of your own on to them. You don’t know how they’ll react. How you say it depends on you. I might go with OK you two, I’m separating you this week – time to fly solo! If it sits well with you, say you want her to focus on her own practice today. Discretely, of course, while people are still getting out their mats.

    3. I have this experience from time to time. I usually walk over after she has just offered her umpteenth correction and tell him is doing great. Then I look at her and tell her that he is doing great. He usually gives me a look of relief and she gets the point.

  9. I’ve got one who can’t unplug! She will text while in Down Dog! Phone at the top of the mat and her just texting away with one hand.

    1. Ridiculous. Just ban phones in class. They are banned in all the studios I’ve been in. Before you start the class give a few general directions and include phones along with them, so she doesn’t feel singled out. Especially works if class is busy and you want people to stagger their mats. EG, Before we start please remove your watches and any distracting jewellery, turn your phones off and place them at the side of the room, then lie down on your mat and check you have room to stretch out your arms without poking your neighbour in the ear. You could walk round as people do this, helping them get comfy and passing over blocks etc, and as you pass her if she still has the phone, discretely say ‘phones off in class please’ – if she’s already lying down you could even say Shall I put it over on the windowsill for you? If she still brings it next time, put a NO MOBILE PHONES sign up in the room, by the door or the mats where everyone will see it.

  10. I have a regular student that is a moaner and it bothers me. To reference Jason, I’ve stepped out of my zone for a second and noticed that it didn’t seem to bother my other students and got over myself. As for texting or having a phone at all I will not hesitate to mention that it’s everyone’s personal experience and that’s very distracting and disrespectful. I’ve never had a student not immediately turn the phone off after that. Great article!

    1. One of the first times, that I heard a student make audible sounds….I got curious. I asked her how that felt? She told me about her Somatic training which encouraged natural authentic sounds. After listening to her, I felt more curious and invited everyone to make some kind of sound. For example: like a whew, or a low moan ..or a siren
      ( ie. a basic vocal warm up ), then only A- E- I-O-U vowel sounds. I invited loud, long, soft, long and short, then I invited more sounds like …bees buzzing, horses whining, the sound of a noisy librarian – shhhhh…then shifting into cannon breath, breath of fire, then a calming slow soft breath…the Ujjayi Breath: without any outward sound. This a great place to teach – the Chakra sounds – Lam, Vam, Ram, Yam, Ham, Sham, Om – AUM.
      It turned out that the student had a practice of vocalizing and her Masters in somatics….my felt sense was ….she was not misbehaving…she was feeling safe and allowed herself to practice her breath pattern with her additional understanding of sound making.
      I didn’t feel that I needed to be over bearing and tell her she was wrong….or try to control her…I leaned in….and got curious.
      My favorite way to being class is with “wind eliminating pose” which can be a very helpful pose to assist the student…you just need a good fan or open wide windows to assure the next pose won’e be gagging anyone.
      RE: Phones and personal belongings in the room – I ask myself and the students to consider the pure space that we intend to create…it is free, open, sacred space like a Dojo. Perhaps, we could offer a handout before class or ask the registration desk to give a short outline of what is expected when one comes into your class.
      My bAD…during another teacher’s class – I witnessed some one walk in with their shoes on!! YIKES….I almost jumped out of my skin….I try to remain calm and….let the teacher handle it.

  11. What do you do if you are teaching a small group (of about 5-7 people) and one is leaving the room to get something to drink and others follow?

  12. I quit a class because this guy was breathing so loud I thought he was having an orgasm. When I talked to the instructor about him she said he was taught to breath like that in weight lifting and she can’t get him to stop. It grossed me out.

    Passing gas is something that happens due to what we eat. I always feel sorry for the person and wish others wouldn’t giggle. Karma will get them.

    1. I agree. Flatulence could be a sign that your microbes are busy keeping you healthy. Unless someone pushed it out then flatulence gets a pass from me.

  13. My yoga group is very small; my biggest problem is the older gentleman who is a bit hard of hearing and keeps talking during class. My other students don’t seem to mind it, and as a tribal organization elders get a lot of leeway. I’m not uncomfortable shushing him (he’s my stepfather)but he keeps forgetting!

  14. I feel like I’ve found my tribe (I’m not a teacher though)!!!! So excited! Every time I’ve commented about how annoying it is as a student to have someone start moaning loudly or doing their own thing I’ve gotten lectured about not being accepting enough to understand that the person is “honoring their authentic selves”. It’s annoying & being “enlightened” doesn’t make it OK for someone to be rude. Worst ever was this couple who made out on their mats in front of me during hot yoga. The man touched my mat & moved it back several spaces because she had placed her mat next to mine & he wanted to be by her. He then did his own thing (i.e we’re all in warrior 1 facing the mirror & he’s staring at me in wild-thing) & proceeded to groan loudly all throughout class. It was honestly revolting. How did they not mind the sweat dripping down their faces while smacking lips????

  15. Great topic and well written, thank you. What about the student who refuses to use props? I am not talking just about the person who needs but won’t use a block for side angle pose or something similar. What if you are guiding them into a restorative pose and the student refuses bolster blanket block and/or belt, they are just sitting there while everyone else is following the instructions. Or if I am guiding shoulder openers that require a belt and student just moves arms up and down w/out belt… Wiierd and so uncomfortable for teacher as well as the other students. Hard to address it during class w/out possibly alienating the student and totally disrupting flow but not addressing seems like ignoring the elephant in the living room.

  16. Once a student started snoring in Savasana.. And a chap at the back of the class sat up and started loudly exclaiming, “hey you, shut up, stop that!” He settled back down again but I was so shocked I just didn’t know how to respond. He was fairly new, and I think he just stopped showing up after that

  17. Great article , Jason. Heartening to know we all get this. I’ was rendered virtually speechless recently when a new lady (had attended 3 classes) jumped out of her own trikonasana with a ‘tut’ , adjusted the elevated arm of a totally unrelated newcomer next to her and then dived back into her own triangle pose, all within the 5 breaths. I don’t think the adjusted lady realised it wasn’t me – I was adjusting another student across the room but I saw it all. It seemed almost comical if it wasn’t so annoying – but for many reasons I can’t have this and had to speak to this lady about focussing on her own practice…

  18. Thanks for this blog ! I struggle with some of these scenarios, especially in environments where people add a yoga class to an already busy schedule: people walking away in savasana mumbling “I don’t have time for this!”; answering their phone or texting while in trikonasana; practicing their own eagle flow or pilates 100s while I’m teaching sun salutations…. I usually try to treat people with respect and assume they are mature adults. In my training we had a somatic experiencing workshop and talked about the fact that some people come in class with emotional wounds, that something may trigger a certain behaviour. So I try to be sensitive around what I address in a group setting. But quite frankly, I think some people are plain rude. In one of the places, I asked the management if they would post yoga etiquette rules on the door (arrive no later than 15 minutes from start of class, stay for the duration of the hour if possible, no cell phones etc.)…This solved some of the disturbing behavior 🙂

  19. So true ! thanks for this article and advice ! I have to admit, I struggled with some of these behaviors, especially in environments where people add a yoga class to an already busy schedule: leaving during savasana mumbling ” I don’t have time for this !”; doing their own dancing eagle flow or pilates 100s while I’m teaching sun salutations; answering their cell phones (or texting) while in trikonasana. I usually try to treat people with respect and assume we are all mature adults in a group setting. As part of training we also had a workshop on somatic experiencing, so I am extremely careful of what I address in the group setting. I understand that we should be sensitive around public shaming; or that people come to class with emotional wounds – so something that we offer in class may trigger a certain behavior. However, I also think that some people are plain rude. In one of the places I asked management to post about 10 “yoga etiquette” points on the door (do not arrive more than 15 minutes late, stay for the duration of the hour if possible, silence your cell phones etc. ). This actually solved a lot of the problems for me :).

  20. I’ve had both moaners and texters in class….the moaners I just let it go, as for the texters I find that in the intro to class if I speak to the fact that we all need this time to “unplug for at least this one hour” it usually keeps those with that tendency at bay—not always.
    I once had a student say to me “I don’t need your spiritual shit!!” When all I was speaking to was loving kindness.
    I always have to remind myself that it is not about me and that I am here to serve…but that one stung I must admit.

    Namaste yogis! And thanks Jason….

  21. Although Jason’s article is about disruptive students, how about an article about when teachers behave badly? For example: teachers who favor one or more students in a class and, as a result, spend the majority of their time helping these students with corrections and advice, while ignoring others. Not really fair, or professional.

  22. I find it is the other instructors in the class who are the worst at doing their own thing! One time, I was instructing one movement and the other instructor was doing something completely different and half of the class started following her. I just made a joke out of it, but I felt a little frustrated 🙂

  23. Hi Jason and all of you. Thsnk you for sharong. It is fun and helpful. For a while I had a man who would come in short silky night gowns and opaque tights. I was a new teacher and felt I needed to be open minded but each class he got riskier and soon his tights were transparent and he wore no underwear! After his 4th class with us, several students approached me and told me I needed to do something about him. I sent him an email asking him for a chat in person. He responded that his back hurt and he would no longer be joining us. I assume he knew I was going to put an end to his behavior. Later several students who had stopped coming confessed it was because they had been too uncomfortable with our “pantyhose man” I now know I would nip that behavior in the bud immediately but as a newbie teacher it was confusing.

    1. When it has happened when I teach it does become disruptive because the students in the vicinity of the person stop what they are doing and say ooh ash so I look at them and as them why are they cirque de soleiling they laugh and then continue their practice honestly sometimes I get annoyed if they are repeat offenders and I just say to then that is not the lesson. Please join us in the Lesson because you are changing the energy in. the room

  24. I was hoping you might address students who come to class with a friend and then chat and giggle together throughout. That hasn’t happened to me a ton, but when it did, I had no idea how to handle it. I’m new to teaching and I teach the community class where people with relatively little to no yoga experience might come try out a class. I want to simultaneously create space for the yogis while being inclusive with the newbies. Any suggestions?

    1. My experience is to help everyone in the class to focus on their breath. I start class the same as the ending – perhaps using a bolster under the knees, with a blanket over the torso and an eye pillow on the eyes..or a towel, or a tissue…or a t-shirt…this helps us to establish the aim of the class – to be intimate = into + me + I + see. Closing the eyes as the Kundalini Yogis do is not just a management tool it is an essential yoga practice.

  25. Thanks! I’m glad I’m not the only one who is rattled by this stuff. I had a student (who used to be a yoga teacher) and was basically also a higher up where I teach. She would often go off script from what I was teaching. Wouldn’t have bothered me too much but her alignment was off too and I didn’t want the newbies to get confused. I have a lot of them. Then a couple times she was on her iPhone during the entire savasana. I tried to detach because I figured I was the only one who noticed but another student did complain to me. Luckily the offender stopped coming. Must have decided my class wasn’t difficult enough and I am ok with that.

    1. I had a fellow teacher do this to me. Literally the most disrespectful behavior I have experienced in a class. It was a beginners class and from the start she did her own thing the whole entire time. Think Birds of Paradise while we were working on modifications for Uttanasana. Headstands while we were working on dog pose. So rude. I wasn’t happy at all and went to the manager.

  26. “But, unless you’re sitting in the back of my class polishing off a box of Whitman’s (which would earn its’ own category of behaving badly)..” LOL!!!! I might let the Whitman eating slide. 🙂

    I have had all of this and more. I am always shocked at the level of bad behavior in a yoga class. I think it’s the age of give people want they want so they come back. So students do whatever they want because if you don’t let them they will move on to the next studio with a Groupon.

    I had one lady who had wrist issues come to class and from the moment I started class she couldn’t stop moving. Started them in constructive rest and she was doing ab work. Had them come to cat/cow and she was doing full sun salutes (with little body awareness.) Half way through class from the back of the room she starts yelling at me while I am talking to the class. I got the rest of them in downdog and walked over to her. I asked her if she was okay. She said “I am not warmed up for this! Can I leave.” And she stormed out. Who acts like that in any situation?

    Come to find out she behaves like that with other instructors who don’t flow the whole class. I think in this situation the studio should tell her that behavior isn’t welcome and she has to have a certain level or respect for teachers. I don’t think have yet.

  27. Really helpful and reassuring that this happens to all yoga teachers.

    Would love to get your take on students complaining about the cost of classes, especially having the pay for a term. Sometimes people complain in front of the group. I find this one most difficult, probably because I feel like it’s questioning my value.

  28. will be in the bay area last week of july until mid august…..do you have a studio I can attend….staying in the moraga/Lafayette area….thanks

  29. Thanks Jason for sharing your thoughts. It helps to be reminded of the questions to consider when a student does their own thing. I’ve been a student in crowded classes where the teacher did not tell the student to come out of forearm stand. The student fell into me. Luckily I didn’t get injured. I noticed that when I’m taking class and the teacher has control of the class even if it’s crowded, I feel safe.

  30. I recently cued bridge and offered an optional wheel to those who had a previous wheel practice. Two seconds later I see 2 students side to side, one of them pushing with slippery hands and feet, the other one was attempting a longer wheel than physically possible and was also on the verge of hurting himself. How do you manage situations like these where students take the optional variations that they should workshop at length, with the risk of hurting themselves?

  31. Sweating men not wearing shirts are never OK to me, especially in tightly packed studios. I really have a problem with their sweat droplets landing on other students’ bodies and mats.

  32. Thanks for this Jason! Insightful and honest, as always! You know, some teachers actually have that habit of moaning, groaning and sighing during class, enjoying their own sequence so much, and it annoys me as much as some teachers’ tendency to constantly swallow the “a” at the end of the postures’ sanskrit names. I guess when you’re an auditive person, this is particularly true! 😉

  33. Thank you Jason!! And also thank you all of you for sharing your experiences! It’s very useful to know how to deal kindly with those situations
    Something has been happening in my classes and I don’t know how to deal with it. I’ve been teaching a few private classes lately to a student new to yoga and the thing is that he does whatever he wants. He doesn’t follow my instructions and my corrections. For instance, he “cup” and close his hands in a weird way in down dog instead of having them flat on the mat spreading his fingers. He does this in almost every pose. I kindly instruct him to get out of the pose and start again with a good foundation, explaininh him the importante of the hands and a good foundation, but he tells me that he wants to do it this way, and he has his own version of every pose and won’t let me correct him! He is not injured and doesn’t feel any pain. I don’t know what to do, really, I feel very challenged and I don’t know how to deal with this. He does whatever he wants and it seems impossible to keep him from doing it, I feel useless as a teacher every time I’m with him in class. Also, when I teach him a yogic breathing, nothing fancy just long and deep breathing,he says that he can’t breathe this way because he starts feeling congested, so again he breathe the way he wants. Really, I don’t know what to do, nothing seems to work. I truly need your advice!

      1. Thank you Jason. I’ve been thinking about what you said, and I will try to relax and let him do his thing. Maybe I have a tendency to have everything under control, and you are right, we can’t control everything, we can’t control our students experiences. Thank you for your advice!

    1. Hi Sarah, keep in mind some people may have mental disorders particularly those on autism/asperger spectrum? I have worked with these folks and they often need things to be THEIR way. It’s perplexing but I just let it go. Yoga ultimately is about calming the mind so if this is what they need and are not wanting to learn proper technique, I’ve done all I can do.

  34. I’ve been teaching for about six months, and had my first instance of students doing their own thaaaaang this weekend. It really rattled me. I’ve spent the weekend seeking guidance for how to handle the issue in the future, and this article definitely helped.

    1. It happens to the best of us, Allyson! Don’t let it rattle you. Or, if it does, just unrattle yourself and get back out there.

  35. I loved this blog on students behaving badly! I have been teaching for a long time and have had plenty of students doing their own thang but one that kind of throws me is the loud exhale through the mouth. I have always taught breathing in and out through the nose and lately I have have had students that have been to other classes that are taught to breathe out through the mouth loudly and my regular students are very confused by this plus it is really distracting. I don’t realize they are going to do this until we get into a more challenging pose. I usually start out class by saying to breathe in and out through the nose. I am also wondering if this is a new thing because I have never experienced it before.

  36. Thank you for clarifying this! I cherish my yoga practice and studios I goto to practice yoga but for the last month we have had a lot of moaners join the studio. It is so distracting and I could not fathom during my practice how to get my focus when every second someone sounded like they were about to orgasm. So, finally, I asked one of my instructors about it and why people are doing this all of a sudden. I explained it was distracting and making it hard for me to focus. I explained I could focus during yoga through all sorts of noises including construction but that someone excessively orgasmialy moaning just was not something I could focus through. My instructor told me it was something I needed to get used to but what I had hoped is that they would kindly ask people to focus on breathing and not moaning at the start of classes. It really has affected my practice. Classes I normally attended I’ve started to avoid because of newcomer moaners. It makes me want to practice at home for the first time ever just to avoid the distraction. And it makes the time on my Matt not the rewarding experience it was when I am battling with feeling irritated and trying to focus verse just hearing the sound of ocean breathing around me and focusing on my yoga postures. Or getting into my zone with the yoga postures. All i can say is thank you for acknowledging that an instructor should say something either at the beginning of class or address a moaner after class. But I think reminding people in a kind way to not moan prior to the class is very important so it does not affect an entire group during the class.thanks! I hope things improve or I will be shopping around for another studio to practice at.

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