Things I Hear in Class

A week or so ago I was taking a morning Bikram class.  We were doing the third part of awkward series. I had pushed my knees/thighs together and lowered down. The instructor gave some additional directions – without naming names. I don’t recall what she said. All I know is I did a quick scan in the mirror and determined what she said applied to me, and I made the adjustment.

When the posture was over I got some praise for doing this. Apparently she was speaking directly to me and was about to say my name when I just made the correction. She said it is important for us to always be listening and thinking about the dialogue/directions and how they apply to us even when we are not being named. Well, I appreciate the praise. I would also like to offer up some examples of how I approach listening in a typical Bikram class.  I’ll give examples of things instructors typically say, and I’ll show you the secret to what I do. It’s so easy, and it makes class so much more enjoyable!

What Instructors Say  & What I Hear

Leigh, you need to raise your arms up higher  = Leigh, you need to raise your arms up higher

Lock your knee  = Lock your knee, Leigh

Beautiful posture =Beautiful posture, Leigh

Excellent triangle Jennifer = Excellent triangle, Leigh

Beautiful standing bow John = Beautiful standing bow, Leigh

Why is everyone sitting down? = Only Leigh has worked hard enough to take a break

Everyone, that was amazing work.  = That was amazing work everyone, but mostly Leigh.

See how that works? I just assume everything applies to me times a thousand. Ok – I got a little silly but the idea is really true. If an instructor is talking I assume it’s meant for me. Sometimes it blantantly is not meant for me, but those instances seem to be rare. I accept all criticism, and I accept all praise. What that means for me is my postures get better (because I accept all criticism), and I am happy (because I send all praise through a special filter that makes it apply only to me).

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kerryalina
    Apr 10, 2012 @ 08:06:29

    Love this! I do exactly the same thing. Except that sometimes, when I’m doing something I’m especially proud of, I’ll keep looking at the instructor, like “Did you see that? How about now? HEY LOOK AT ME I AM DOING SOMETHING AWESOME OVER HERE!!!”


  2. kerryalina
    Apr 10, 2012 @ 08:07:03

    If they don’t say anything, I console myself with the thought that if they complimented ALL my fabulous postures, there wouldn’t be enough time to teach everyone else.


  3. leighahall
    Apr 10, 2012 @ 12:48:31

    I am with you on that! Sometimes I bang out a great posture, and I want someone to notice. 🙂


  4. Kat
    Apr 11, 2012 @ 20:08:05

    This is so true. I’m a newbie instructor myself and have just started learning how to make corrections. The best advice I got to start out with was say a correction to the whole class, “everybody point your toes more, right leg higher” etc. With personal corrections “Leigh, left hip down more” even if Leigh isn’t listening or is not ready to hear it someone else will hear it and correct themselves. Definitely stay present, even if your not hearing your name, everything in this class is worth listening to. (in my case, I might not have learned your name yet & won’t ever address anyone as ‘Miss Pink or Blue Towel,’ it’s first names only or address the whole class. Keep up the good work!


    • Kat
      Apr 11, 2012 @ 20:10:32

      Just to add, the comment about looking at the instructor made me smile. I get really unnerved when people look at me when I teach, “why are you looking at me, I’m not doing anything but talking, look at yourself in the mirror!” Now I know they might be looking for some reassurance or praise! Thank you 🙂


      • kerryalina
        Apr 12, 2012 @ 07:18:54

        Well… mostly it’s for reassurance and praise, but sometimes I’m just hoping that if I look pathetic enough, the teacher will be overcome with remorse for heating the room to A MILLION DEGREES and will open the door to let some cool air in. Eye contact seems to help with this.

        Either way though, nothing to be unnerved about 😀


        • Kat
          Apr 12, 2012 @ 21:09:51

          Oh that is lovely Kerrylina re the eye contact in exchange for air!!! I do get that too, or the hand flapping in front of face or pointing at the vents. Once someone actually yelled out loud “we need air!” Unfortunately we can not let students dictate the class conditions, yes sometimes the do need air when they ask for it but I don’t make a habit of giving in, not right away anyway, I’m not that evil. (after all I am a student too, I totally understand we need to breath!)


    • leighahall
      Apr 12, 2012 @ 18:53:55

      Kat, I like your point about making a whole class comment. It is true that there are things we are not ready to hear. I am amazed when I “hear” something new in the dialogue for the first time! It means I was ready for it. That’s always a fun time because it let’s me know I’m growing. Also, I think it’s great that as an instructor you recognize we’re all doing our best and not hearing you doesn’t necessarily mean we aren’t listening – we just can’t fully hear you yet. I think you get my drift! 🙂


      • Kat
        Apr 12, 2012 @ 21:03:36

        Just last night I made a personal correction by name & didn’t get a response, you are so right that person wasn’t ready for the next step even though I thought they were. Biggest lesson of teaching never assume anything, even your star students have off days. Oh isn’t it great to hear new things, even the tiniest two words can make a HUGE difference. Despite ‘knowing the dialogue’ I hear new things all the time from the variety of teachers we get through the studios. I love this yoga!! 🙂


  5. leighahall
    Apr 13, 2012 @ 06:24:50

    I went to class yesterday morning having tried out a new breakfast. It didn’t work so well for me, and I was a bit off. You never know what’s going on with someone!


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