Posted 2010-10-24 9:42 AM (#125692) Subject: Help? :-)
I apologize in advance for the LENGTH of all this:
I live in a SMALL town with no yoga studios- the closest to us is about 40 miles away and most people just aren't willing to drive there.
I have been certified and teaching Ashtanga Yoga for about 19 months and currently teach 10-12 classes weekly between the two big gyms here in town. Each gym takes the yoga program very seriously and I have several EXCELLENT yogis- I love it because it doesn't feel like "gym yoga"- they are serious practitioners.
That being said- each gym manager has recently approached me in "heading up" their programs. It's not an official position- just something they know I am passionate about and needed help as they are not well versed in yoga.
Gym 1- It is the younger gym- the clientele is younger and it is a more high energy place. The manager is a very young girl and she lets me take ideas and run with them. When I was initially hired, I was offered a great rate because their memberships had dropped dramatically due to losing their two yoga teachers. In the meantime (about 3 months prior to my arrival in town) they were letting their subs teach regularly. I am the only person there with an actual yoga certification- the only one of 5 yoga teachers that has had an formal yoga training.
Upon arrival, the manager has let me do the following: live demos during peak hours in front of a HUGE banner that says "GOT YOGA?" to increase interest of the members. I have started offering small workshops two times a month that have increased my personal class numbers from 4 to 12 in the past month. I recently suggested a private class for just employees- front desk and personal trainers and any "aerobics" instructors. This way they have at least taken one class so they can answer member questions. However, I am not sure if I should do a traditional Primary Series or modified Primary Series class here or if I should do a Rocket class... or a beginner... or just a class like I would normally teach. Only 1 of these 17 employees has ever even taken any yoga class!! After this class, the head personal trainer and myself are co-leading a workshop so we can explain how the training will help my students in their practice and he can explain how yoga will help his members he trains. We are having a hard time getting our lesson planned out. I am also a licensed massage therapist with plenty of anatomy knowledge in addition to my training as a YT and he has a PHD in health and wellness studies so we have a LOT of info to provide... but HOW?
Gym 2: This is the "older" gym.... it is more established and has far more amenities. It's the laid back gym. Immediately upon being asked to "vamp up" the yoga program, I changed some class names to reflect what they actually are and I changed up the descriptions to sound more user friendly rather than esoteric. The manager has talked with me in confidence about wanting to let two teachers go as members have not been satisfied with their classes. She also asked me observe or take some of their classes to let her know if it is something that could be worked on or if it is just a matter of their lack of expertise in yoga. I did- and that is when I changed the names of their classes to "Good Morning Stretch" rather than Basic Yoga- the woman did NOT ONE actual yoga asana other than child's pose- it was ridiculous and yet because it is the prime morning time slot, she has 15 people in her class- but they are unhappy. After talking with the gym manager, she said she is ready to let them both go but not until she finds out if this new gal in town (also an RYT- yay!!) will take the job offer. Here is my primary dilemma there- this manager knows I would love to take more classes and she has provided me with guest comment card copies and email copies of over TWENTY members asking for me to have a later morning class (my classes are currently at 6:30am). Yet she is planning to hire this other girl and give HER those classes?! WHY? I am very non-confrontational and do NOT know how to approach this with the manager. Suggestions??
AGAIN- IT WAS LONG AND I AM SORRY BUT IT IS A LOT TO EXPLAIN AND I HAVE NOBODY ELSE I CAN REALLY ASK FOR ADVICE FROM!
Posted 2010-10-24 1:47 PM (#125699 - in reply to #125692) Subject: RE: Help? :-)
carrieberry - 2010-10-24 6:42 AM
We are having a hard time getting our lesson planned out. I am also a licensed massage therapist with plenty of anatomy knowledge in addition to my training as a YT and he has a PHD in health and wellness studies so we have a LOT of info to provide... but HOW?
Gym 2: Yet she is planning to hire this other girl and give HER those classes?! WHY? I am very non-confrontational and do NOT know how to approach this with the manager. Suggestions??
First question. Personally, I do not plan my regular classes. Until I see which particular bodies are there, I cannot plan for what those bodies need or for what they can or should do. I also do not know the particular emotional, energetic, stressed/relaxed mood or whatever those bodies will have. I do, however, have a basic flow for all classes that I follow and certain types of poses that precede others and certain types of poses that follow others. (Too big a topic for specifics in this post) My general outline is: breath work and gentle stretching. Building body heat and deeper stretching. Standing strength poses. Balancing poses (standing and arm balances). On the floor: Back strengthening. Abs strengthening. Deep stretching - forward, back bends and twists. Cooling down and relaxing poses. Breathing. Deep relaxation. I would share this sort of stuff with the fellow teachers.
As far as all the information that you have to provide, I would just look at it as a large warehouse of information that you have at your disposal to share in small bits when it is specifically appropriate. Too much talking draws the student's attention away from their body and not more into it. My personal experience is that a single sentence at the right time makes more difference than whole volumes.
For your fellow fitness teachers, teach a normal (average) class and then talk about it. If they haven't felt it, they probably will not know what you are talking about. During the class, tell them which choices there are, which you made and why. Make sure to share which poses are especially good for which problems and which are especially good for which sports. After class, include things like explaining how weight training is fine, but shortens muscles and diminishes range of motion and yoga stretches those muscles and increases range of motion and diminishes sports injuries. Explain how and why shortened or tight hamstrings put pressure on the lower back and lead to back injury. Explain the physical effects of the sympathetic and para-sympathetic nervous systems and how relaxation is so important to health and well-being etc etc etc If they understand anatomy, you do not need to explain it. If they do not, a single class will not do any good. If they are engaged, they will ask a lot of questions, so I would concentrate on engaging them. You already know the answers, you just need the questions.
Second question. You ask why. Only the manager knows why. Ask her. Or better yet, take her to lunch (you pay!) and discuss her ideas about the future for the gym and what her ideas about your role in that future are. Ask her what her plan for yoga is and what she wants from you. This is the time to mention what your vision for yoga at this gym is and what role you want to play. This is two levels of management working together to achieve a common goal, rather than confrontation. It will more likely lead to a happy conclusion than your being quiet and resentful or your confronting her.
Posted 2010-10-24 2:42 PM (#125700 - in reply to #125692) Subject: Re: Help? :-)
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer this! I really appreciate your input and I am glad someone could get me back on track!
Posted 2010-10-24 8:55 PM (#125707 - in reply to #125692) Subject: Re: Help? :-)
I've read the entire post, and you are correct, it is lengthy.
My apologies as I am very slow on the uptake. Could you help me by refining the questions into only a handful of sentences? That way I hope to actually "get" the question and perhaps respond more directly.
Posted 2010-10-25 6:37 AM (#125711 - in reply to #125692) Subject: Re: Help? :-)
Absolutely, Purna! I think when I wrote it I was really stressed out about the whole thing. SORRY!
1- At a youthful, high energy gym with a strong Ashtanga following: What reccommendations do you have for conducting a workshop/seminar to members? It will be led by myself and the head personal trainer. The intended goal of the workshop is to educate the personal training clients on how yoga will benefit their training and educate the yogis on how some training can benefit their yoga practice.
2- Same gym. Offering a private class to employees only because none have taken a yoga class and most want to answer member questions better. Should I do a slow, beginner style class (it's what they all are) or teach my normal Ashtanga style even though I think they will be overwhelmed. Not sure the best class to teach so they will speak well of my classes to members.
3- Gym 2 manager has shown me multiple member comment cards and emails totalling 20 people that ask for me to offer more yoga classes at different morning time slots. I currently teach 6:30am classes three days a week there and many people just can't be there so early (people with kids). After the manager asked me to help out with vamping up their yoga program and I have- and I have increased the numbers- she used my input to let go two yoga teachers. Rather than offering me even one more class (to take over after they are let go) she is planning to hire a new instructor- that has never taught yoga before. How do I talk to her about this? I am very non-confrontational and not good at standing up for myself.
Posted 2010-10-25 9:53 AM (#125721 - in reply to #125692) Subject: Re: Help? :-)
Please don't be too stressed out. Use what you learn in Yoga in daily life to help mantain calm and harmony during stressful times.
1- Show the personal training clients how yoga can help them simply by getting them to do a typical personal training activity (like sit ups or press ups or whatever they like to do). Teach appropiate yoga that will help them with the typical activity. Then do the typical activity again so they can feel the improvement.
2- Give them something with a 'wow' factor. So they can tell people how amazing yoga can be.
3-The new instructor who has not taught yoga before- You were once a yoga teacher who has never taught yoga before too. She may become a far better teacher than any teachers here or could be the worst thing to happen to the centre.
Gym manager may be able to offer the new instructor less money than you? This often happens in the world of gyms. Did you suggest that you do the other classes? Why not hire a room and do it yourself? Then you don't have to deal with gym politics. Also doing it yourself will help you and how you develop in several areas.
Posted 2010-10-25 12:33 PM (#125724 - in reply to #125721) Subject: Re: Help? :-)
If you are stressed, that is what is. That is your current reality and it is best to acknowledge it and accept it.
Stress is neither good or bad. It is a natural and necessary part of existence. It is the catalyst to growth. The problem that most people have is not stress, but holding on to it. Stress happens, but it needs to be resolved, just like dissonance (harmonic stress) in music. The point of yoga is to resolve stress, not avoid it.
Never engaging your sympathetic nervous system is just as bad as keeping it engaged all the time. Stress and relaxation are two sides of the same coin and both equally important. They need to be kept in balance. Unfortunately, our modern world, in getting rid of the lions and tigers and bears that eat us and the starvation the kills us etc etc has also disrupted the healthy balance between stress and relaxation and many people, due to the constant overload of inputs and stimulation, have stress all the time without the necessary relaxation.
Did you ever notice how good savasana feels at the end of a class where you have really worked (stressed) your mind and muscles? If you have no stress, you have no release. If you do not work, you cannot really enjoy leisure.
Posted 2010-10-25 8:27 PM (#125738 - in reply to #125692) Subject: Re: Help? :-)
No need to get too stressed out about it Jimg. LOL
Posted 2010-10-27 1:32 AM (#125777 - in reply to #125692) Subject: Re: Help? :-)
So in number one you have a split group which makes this more challenging. So I think the question here is how will you keep both groups engaged simultaneously? As you're introducing yoga basics half the room will be dulled as they already get this. And vice-versa with the trainer. When she/he is presenting there will be strength folks yawning. This one I don't have suggestions for. It would be far tidier to have one mission and a unified audience.
Number two: I prefer the training staff to come in and sample regular class sessions. However if they are set on a private class (more power to them) then teach tot he level of the practitioner. Yoga is sweet, nurturing, transformational. To me that is a better testimonial than "she really kicked my butt, wow, I thought it was easy". And yet, if you are seasoned, you can find ways to challenge every person in the room, WITHOUT overwhelming them. Students of yoga should never be overwhelmed (on purpose, premeditatedly, or with intent/forethought) though obviously this does happen (to all of us).
Number three: This to me has two (at least) yogic principles at play. The first is cause and effect (or karma). You made some choices to do some things when asked and it seems either had expectations or did not fully clarify the relationship. And this happens to all of us. So having not gotten this very, very clear from the get-go the only responsible party is you. And that's often a tough meal to swallow. It will be far easier to address this with the manager when YOU are calm and accepting of the current outcome (or possible outcomes). As long as your emotions are tied up in this, as long as you feel entitled, ripped off, overlooked, denied, unappreciated it will have enough friction to make it...uncozy.
You've now learned about your current environment from this and about how you might like to be more thorough in the beginning to outline expectations and nuances (I'm surmising here). That has great value and lets not overlook that value even though it may not have been the manager's intention to "help" you in this way. And that manager may have no idea whatsoever that you wanted more classes. Most people wander through their daily life in a haze. So if you feel that you have more growth to realize by having a chat then you do by processing and accepting this on your own, then by all means go have a chat. But assume the manager has not even the slightest inkling what's happened and threat that person as any yoga teacher would:-)
Posted 2010-10-28 12:00 AM (#125795 - in reply to #125692) Subject: Re: Help? :-)
i've done a similar workshop with a personal trainer, and i just kept it simple. what is the message--how yoga benefits your training; how training benefits your yoga. You talk about yoga; he talks about training. you don't need anatomy, health, and other topics. It's a simple workshop. When doing yoga postures, you focus on how that will facilitate certain training moves. when doing some training moves (say, with small free weights), talk about how that facilitates a yoga pose.
for the class for employees, i would do a workshop that had layers. first layer, a beginners class for them to 'try' yoga. second layer, a q/a about yoga--the questions they commonly get (might want them to prep this before hand, each person bringing two questions), and what the best answers are. third layer, bring in some experienced students and OFFER the employees to join a more traditional class that you teach (if it's not all levels). they can observe OR take the class, so they can get a feel for what it really is, beyond what they experienced. So, if a member asks "what is it like?" they won't say "really basic," when it's an astanga primary class. KWIM?
if you want the job, i would suggest that you tell the manager that you would like it. suggest alternative classes for the other teacher to teach, or give up a less desirable job that you have (eg, if you teach a 7:30 pm, even if it's 10-12 people, give that to the new teacher).
part of the picture for the manager is not wanting one yoga teacher on site. I learned from one of my managers--when i wanted more classes--she said "but what if you're hit by a bus? we wouldn't have any subs, and we'd be out X number of classes." it was a horrible way of putting it, but she is right. by having multiple people with similar talents and skills, should you need to take leave for a bit (for any reason), there's another qualified person there to cover for you. And, vice-versa--you can cover for this person.
if the people aren't happy with the new teacher, you can make arrangements with management to switch things around. otherwise, either go for it or let it go, but dont' stew over it.
Posted 2010-10-29 3:46 PM (#125838 - in reply to #125795) Subject: Re: Help? :-)
Hi zoebird. Nice to see that you are still alive down there!
Posted 2010-10-31 12:07 AM (#125860 - in reply to #125838) Subject: Re: Help? :-)
dude, it has been interesting. all of my law school training has been coming in mega-handy AND we are finally getting it all sorted. we have 12 awesome people joining us, and more to come! all are meditators. it rocks.
live is good. summer is coming. and my kid is TALL. he's only two, but people think he's three. he also speaks in sentences. it blows my mind.