What if you threw a party and no one came? It’s like that at the beginning of any yoga class. The anticipation of not knowing who, if anyone, will turn up. After establishing a teaching style, and seeing that appreciated in growing numbers in classes, it is always a disappointment to have smaller class numbers. My 2-3 class on a Friday evening has moved that way recently. Class sizes are of the “new teacher with the 6:00am morning slot” kind of size.
There are few classes where you can go to learn arm balances, inversions and other advanced poses. These are usually reserved for workshops. But it’s practice, repetition, that one needs to make the poses “stick”. A workshop once every 6 months is probably not going to cut it. So my idea for the class was to sprinkle in, liberally, a variety of advanced poses and focus on one each week in a little more depth.
The class has always been smaller and more fluctuating, relative to my other classes. Recently, though it has tailed off. Tailed off to the point where leaving a meeting with my CEO early so that I can spend 3 hours on 101 driving practicing the 10 miles to the studio is not making a lot of sense to me. What is wrong? I have several theories, of course.
The “Absent teacher” theory
I have noticed that for all of my classes if I miss one, the next week numbers are down. Note to self, “don’t get teachers that are better than you to sub your classes” 🙂 This year I have missed a couple of Friday evenings in a row.
The “Bad time slot” theory“
I can’t find a baby-sitter”. “It’s too hard to get there at that time after work on Fridays” Escaping from work early, battling with rush hour traffic, organizing child care is hard. Alternatively I have also been told that a good teacher can fill any time slot.
The “I’ve got better things to do on Fridays” theory. “There is a concert on”. “I have to go to the city”. “The sharks are in a critical game”, “I have to wash my hair”. People have better things to do at the end of a long week than spend 90 minutes attempting to follow in the footsteps of Nadia Comaneci. I can buy this, well, with exception of the critical sharks game. 🙂
The “Class was for me” theory.
Maybe this class was all about what I wanted to teach rather than what people wanted to learn. Could be, it was definitely trying to be a step up from my 1-2 class, but I think I always geared it to the yogis who showed up. I teach four 1-2 classes a week so I was looking to this one to be a little different. So many people who came to the class tell me how much they enjoy it too. But I expounded a theory on that previously too.
The Classical Music Theory
There is only one classical radio channel in our area. The reason is basic economics of course. Let’s assume 10% of people listen to classical music. In a town with 2 radio stations starting a second classical one means sharing the 10% pie. That’s 5% of the potential audience, rather than the 45% by creating a channel that appears to the 90% of listeners. Following this theory, most Yogis would prefer a class of the classic poses, perhaps with the odd challenging pose thrown in. The vast majority of yogis aren’t looking for 90 minutes of Meditation, Breathing, Chanting, Drumming or, in the case of my class, balancing in a one handed back bend with their legs,in eagle position, touching their head.
What to do?
It doesn’t really matter which, if any of these theories is correct. Wendy, the studio owner, has been very supportive of me getting this class off the ground but it’s time to listen to Albert and Jack.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. – Albert Einstien.
Change before you have to. – Jack Welch
It is possible to approximate the size of a city by the number of piano tuners it can sustain. I wonder if the same is true for advanced yoga classes.
This Friday was my last 2-3 class. Thank you everyone who came and supported it. Keep up those inversions, and if you get stuck you know where to find me.