Reining in Friendly Chatter - Yoga Journal

Reining in Friendly Chatter

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Read Desirée Rumbaugh's reply:

Dear Maura,

The good news is that part of the reason these students show up regularly to your class is that they like your teaching and enjoy seeing and spending this time with each other. The challenge is to keep the atmosphere light and fun for them while maintaining the status of teacher. There is a way to involve students and allow them to participate with each other without allowing the social chatter to overtake the yogic experience. By including a few partner exercises, you can give them a chance to connect physically and verbally in a way that is appropriate.

If there are only a few who insist on participating in social chatter during your class, you might have to have a polite conversation with them after class, explaining that it would be more beneficial for them if they would direct that energy into the practice instead of dissipating it by talking. You might also tactfully let them know that it makes it difficult for some of the other students to concentrate and focus when the chatter is going on during the class.

Perhaps you could tell these social students that you would like to enlist their help in establishing a quiet, peaceful atmosphere during the class because some of the other students have complained that it's too loud and they can't hear the instruction. It's always best to enroll people in keeping order rather than to giving the impression that they are the ones at fault.

Desirée Rumbaugh teaches from the experiences of more than two decades of practice. She was one of the first students to study with John Friend, and one of the first to be certified in his Anusara method of yoga. As a full-time teacher, Desirée travels the world offering workshops, which are innovative and transformative, challenging and compassionate. She has a well-earned reputation for deepening the most new to the most seasoned practices, through humor balanced with a quest for authenticity. September 2007 marked the release of her first DVD entitled Yoga to the Rescue, which is specially designed for those who have avoided yoga because of a lack of flexibility, low fitness level or chronic pain. Her newest DVD entitled Yoga to the Rescue for Back Pain was released in January 2008 with wide acclaim. For more information, please visit