So school is back in session, and as happens every year, this means a sudden influx of fresh young faces coming into our studios for the first time. Some of them will have practiced at studios in the cities where they’re from, but a lot of them are complete beginners. It can be frustrating sometimes to have easily a third of the class be made up of first-timers, but with a little extra care, the experience can be much smoother for everyone. Herewith, a field guide to helping our yoga frosh feel at home:
DO: Remember that newcomers to Montreal may be unilingual, and please be patient if the teacher repeats an instruction in the language they understand. We don’t want anyone getting injured in the room, especially in their first class.
DO: Politely and gently remind them of the Big Three policies if it’s called for (no talking in the yoga room, all shoes stay at the door, and only plain water in the yoga room). Do it with a friendly smile and they’ll thank you for saving them from the embarrassment of a huge faux pas.
DO: Lead by example. Respect the Big Three policies yourself, especially if you’ve acquired some bad habits over the summer. Follow the dialogue to the letter during class so that they can literally follow the example you are setting. Keep it tidy in the locker room. In general, behave the way you’d like to see others behave.
DO: Talk to them in the lobby and ask them about themselves. We’ve got a great little community at our studios, let’s show that off.
DON’T: Be shy. If you see that there are a lot of first-timers in a class, move yourself up to the front so they have someone with an established practice to follow.
DON’T: Laugh at them unless you see them laughing at themselves (and even then, what are you doing looking at them? Eyes on yourself, buddy).