It is an honor and privilege to guide you through your practice each day you’re in my class. Teachers do not exist without students. It is through you that I am able to refine my craft. My hope is that every time you leave the studio you feel fulfilled, in a different mindset than you entered and empowered with more knowledge about yourself and your practice.
I’m writing this letter as a guide to help you be the best student you can be so that you will get the most out of your time in the hot room. I know that, when I began practicing hot yoga, I wanted to be the “best” student (I’m competitive–I admit it) and, in my view, the “best” students were the ones who could do the entire class, full expression
of every posture, without even drinking water, and (it seemed to me then) more. I now realize that none of those attributes got them better results or more benefits and that, by trying to emulate them, I wasn’t listening to my teacher or growing my practice. So
how can you be a good student?
Be open. A good student is open to learning, to trying things differently, to seeing a new perspective and to every teacher they encounter. You chose to walk into the studio and take class with a group, from a teacher, so I assume that you want to be part of a community, learning from a live teacher instead of at home, following a DVD, running your own program. My hope is that you are arrive like an empty vessel, ready to receive whatever this class today offers you.
Being truly open means that you are also willing to un-learn what you think you know about yoga (how Tree pose looks, for example) and try it the way it is being taught to you here and now. Try not to get attached to a certain teacher or dismiss a new teacher because you’ve been practicing longer than they have
been teaching. We want you to be committed to your practice, not an individual. Every teacher has something to teach you, if you let them. (This is one of the reasons Sunstone Yoga doesn’t publish its
Being open also means that you have released your preconceptions of what you can and cannot do physically and are ready to explore what your body can do today. I promise that I never want you to feel pain in a posture, so if I ask you to do something, please listen carefully to my words and then execute to the best of your ability. I will understand if you don’t look like your 20-year old neighbor. If you want to discuss my cues or your decisions, we can chat after class.
Be courteous. A good student realizes they are part of a learning community and wants their fellow students to enjoy their experience as well. In any class, large or small, the group’s attitude can have a major impact on your experience. To that end, be aware that your actions (and frustrations) affect everyone. Arrive before the posted class time and stay in the hot room for the entire class. Entering class late or leaving before class is over is disruptive and disrespectful to others who like you, have taken time out of their
busy day to attend.
During class, focus on yourself in the mirror, be as still as possible between postures, concentrate on your breathing. Stay home if you are sick or if allergies affect you to the point that you would disturb other students (scattering tissues next to your mat is sharing germs, not sharing your love of yoga). Child’s Pose and Savasana are always appropriate. If you’re feeling dizzy, over-worked or a little emotional, just go into one of them.
Be yourself. Being a good student has nothing to do with how you look while practicing or to what extent you can do every posture. It has to do with your attitude: how open you are to learning each time you enter class and how kind and grateful you are to those around you and ultimately yourself. As your practice develops, over time you will also become your own teacher, increasing your awareness and self-love, and learning to surrender to things outside of your control. It is our hope that the classes we offer at Sunstone Yoga provide an environment where you can connect with and cultivate your very best self.