Photo by Lucy Boynton
1) Exclude Counter-poses. Leave them wanting more. Most yoga classes are taught to create a sense of balance in the body. For every forward bend, there is usually a back bend. The student leaves feeling complete. However, you can dramatically increase your student count by only teaching counter-poses in alternating weeks. A student who leaves after 90 minutes of right side stretching is very likely to return in 7 days to balance it out with a good left side workout.
2) Coddle Them. Countless coddling tools are available to you as a yoga teacher. Remember, you are helping people to transform themselves into stronger, more flexible warriors. What better way to do this than to appeal to their needy side?
- Ask them what they want to learn. Of course they know what is best for them, especially if they aren’t regulars. It is good to give them an opportunity to practice avoidance.
- Say, “I’m sorry” frequently. It will make an insecure student feel equal if you appear pathetic. This can also be used to enhance Tip #5, below.
- Feed their parking meters while they are in Savasana (final resting position).
- Make cooing motherly sounds while constantly adjusting the student(s). This works best in conjunction with sensual Savasana adjustments. If you are dealing with a heterosexual student of the same gender as you, instead of cooing say, “Atta Boy!” or “Rosy The Riveter Would Be Proud!”
- Warn them a week in advance if you know your class will have a substitute teacher. That way, they develop a sense of dependency upon you, and feel like they’ve received exclusive insider info. This also will prevent the substitute teacher from having a full class or paycheck. You don’t want your helpful substitute to steal your students. After all, you are competitors in your field.
- Bring food for your students to snack on during class. Be creative. Don’t be afraid to think, “Flautas and lobster.”
3) Cater To Their Fears. This is like coddling, but the opposite. Say things to make them afraid of other wellness practices and spiritual teachers. Once they have a healthy psychosis or “stranger anxiety” toward your competition, they are yours. Example, “Okay everyone, inhale deeply, which you can do in my class because unlike other teachers at this studio, I’m teaching you how to inhale the safe way. Oh, and I don’t have air-born tuberculosis.”
4) Infer Sex. We all know that “Sex Sells”. That’s right, but do not imply sex, infer sex. Implying is creepy, and it is a slippery slope to becoming a Spiritual Gigolo. By inferring, you gain the benefits of implying without the risk of embarrassment. If someone says, “Thanks for the adjustment,” never say suggestively, “You’re welcome for the adjustment,” say instead, “Yeah, I’m sure you’d like to just grab my ass.” As you see, this puts him or her on the defensive but also puts sex in the air, which is perfect for learning yoga asana.
5) Cry. There is a whole world of potential students out there who are longing to heal and transform. They have lots of energy for this endeavor, but resist using it on themselves because, hey, transformation is not easy! So if you, as the teacher, cry constantly, you will be giving your needy student an outlet for his or her unused, nurturing energy. Allow yourself to be emotionally supported, and even fed or housed, by your students. Remember: By allowing someone to give to you, you are giving someone the gift of selflessness.
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