Imagine this, you’re facilitating your Wednesday night hoop class and in comes an observer.
She’s drawn by the positive energy coming from the room and by the fun and flirtatious flow of hooping.
She starts to ooh and ahhh and offer what she thinks is affirmation and delight.
However, you register her commentary as outbursts and you can see that they are clearly disrupting the class synergy.
In addition, her energy is drawing attention away from your instruction – language and cues designed to promote safety while teaching moves and encouraging practice.
Or, how about this one….
There’s a practitioner in the room who is dismissing your directives and instructing others in her area to “do it this way”.
Naturally you assume that she genuinely wants to help, yet the timing of her shares are a distraction to you and the other attendees. Also, you may disagree with her directives as again, your instruction is rooted in promoting safety through a holistic understanding of hoop dance, anatomy and kinesiology (the study of movement).
How do you handle hecklers and back row teachers while being polite and keeping the container of your class? (and also not looking like a control freak)
Before I share insights from my 20+ years as a yoga teacher and group fitness educator, I want to thank the lovely Lori S. and Rebecca O. for presenting these scenarios in a recent Facebook request for questions / challenges hoop dance and yoga teachers have. If you would like to present your Q for an A, please email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Regarding Scenario One –
Positive Commentary from the Enthusiastic Observer
Graciously acknowledge your guest and her enthusiasm, then invite her to participate and join in on the fun.
If she continues to observe (ie ogle the class and not join in), place your practitioners in a pose/experience and then politely go over to the heckler, mute your mic and thank her for her positivity. Again, invite her to join in the class or the next session. You can say you would love for her to stay if she plans to participate.
This should do the trick.
Regarding Scenario Two -
Back Row Teacher
At the beginning of class, share the flow of the experience – warm-ups, on body/off body, freestyle movement, cool down, etc.
Inform of the style or modality of which you will be teaching. HoopYogini™ is a movement meditation that leads into a freestyle segment that we call Alchemy & Flow. At the beginning of each class or workshop, HoopYogini instructor educate practitioners on our unique modality, we express standards for creating challenge and maintaining safety, we also encourage students to request modifications as needed.
If you are offering a freestyle or skill share component in the class, say that this will be the time for offering other ways of instructing or teaching moves (otherwise, provided students feel safe and confident, encourage them to follow through with your language and directives).
If you have assistants (which I often do as I teach large groups), identify them to your practitioners and share that they will come around to offer guidance and troubleshoots. This automatically eliminates other people from offering unsolicited instruction.
At the beginning of class also invite practitioners to ask for modifications should they feel strain, limitations following through with your instructions.
Set parameters at the beginning of class for how the time will flow.
Always start with the positive and assume that everyone means well. From there and from your intention of safety and care, speak up with clear invitations and options (such as stay and play).
In the comment area below, please let me know how you deal with these scenarios. I know there’s more than one way to resolve a challenge and I trust your insight.
Thank you for sharing this blog with your community!
If you would like to upgrade your life and relationships and lead others into a dynamic movement meditation that’s fun and empowering, attend the next HoopYogini training immersion: September 21 – 24, 2014 in Santa Cruz, CA.
Registration is open – only three spaces available at the current tuition rate. Tuition increases to $1497 on August 10 or when those three spaces are full. Register Here.