I was recently challenged to do a 90s themed playlist for yoga at one of my studios for an entire week. Personally I was thrilled at the opportunity to change up the music... but upon teaching I think most of the students felt otherwise. One student did give me direct feedback on the change up and music and she shared that while she enjoyed the tunes, it was rather distracting for her yoga practice.
In my own yoga practice, I can listen to almost anything but honestly prefer any of the music to be almost silent if not, completely silent. There are a few genres that would bring great mental friction during my practice like metal music with vocals, upbeat bluegrass, and rap with loud drum kits.
My classes featuring the 90s music were.... weird. The room felt off, my teaching felt a little out of alignment, and overall the experience was rather distracted. I liked that this studio put effort into creating a fun and loving environment but I think it was at the expense of their students experience in all yoga cases. I feel that participation in the themed music should have been optional for instructors.
In my opinion, themed yoga classes can be really fun... but I think they should be reserved for special events only. Regular yoga programming should feature music that the instructor and students prefer for their zen experience. Musically themed classes are offered best in a workshop or series format. For example, this summer I will be teaching a series of musically themed classes - Mac Miller, Drake, Amy Winehouse, The Beatles, Odesza, Norah Jones, and John Mayer are amongst the artists I will be featuring as soundscapes for my themed yoga experiences.
Setting Up The Scene: A Warm (85 degrees) yoga room at a gym, some props provided (blocks, mat, strap) not enough for more than 10 students to be fully equipped, membership less than $75 unlimited per month.
Policy In Place: No late entries. Door cannot lock, so if someone comes in late you have to pause your class and kindly explain to them in front of the whole class that they can't come in late, and that they must leave. Then resume the class like that whole scene didn't happen, and proceed, now minus a minute or two in class - which is only 60 minutes.
This is a general yoga class - some come to stretch, some come to relax, some come because they want a power core workout.... meaning I utilize every second of my time with these students offering efficient and adaptive instruction, as well as variations for the student who can't half forward fold with a flat back and the students who are exploring arm balances and deep bends & twists. This leads into my last post topic - why all yogis should take private yoga lessons, or delve into a daily self yoga practice, or even going to more than one yoga class a week would be a great start.
I recently taught a class and had the opportunity to wait outside the room where my students check in to an electronic sign in system. I saw a lady coming but knew she wouldn't make it in time to scan and check into the class. It doesn't allow you to be even one second late. I apologized, explained the policy and had to enforce that she not join my class. I was saddened by this, but since it's not my studio I have to follow policy for matters of corporate consistency. She asked if she could at least let her husband, who was already in the class, know that she was leaving.
About 7 minutes into class a late student enters the class. I was teaching from the front of the room at that point and had to stop, and go explain to him that he can't come into warm room classes late. He explained to me that the guy at the front desk checked him in and said it was okay to attend the class tardy, and that this gentleman at the front desk had already taken his attendance ticket. Did I mention that I had just used 90 seconds of my time to remind the students present of the tardy policy? I felt at that point that I had to let him stay, the front desk usually has a manager present, and they are above me in the chain of policy and command.
I felt embarrassed, but chose to get on with class and be present for the other students that did show up on time. We had a good class otherwise. I happened to be subbing this one and hadn't practiced with any of these students before. Now I think, what a great first impression... I can only hope they were able to forget and indulge in their own practice just as I did with my teaching time.
After class as I always do, I encouraged the students to approach me with any questions or comments, and invited them to my regular scheduled class if they wanted to practice with me again. The husband of the wife asked me about what happened.... and I am so glad he did. I was able to apologize and explain what had happened. I told him is wasn't fair and that I would be talking to management to see what happened. Turns out they "were in the process of changing the check in policy to allow students to be 5 minutes late".
Maybe I missed an email? Maybe I didn't? (I checked... no email communication of this policy was sent)
I have now found inspiration to send all work related communication to a single email address that has nothing else in its inbox.
Sadly, I haven't seen this couple in class since this instance a month or so ago.