Article by Eve Sengkeo
As yoga teachers, regardless of how much effort we put into teaching, there is no guarantee that every student will resonate with our teaching style.
At some point in our teaching career, we’ll run into some sort of resistance. The negative feedback may not be directly verbalized to us but a student may choose to discontinue taking our class.
Receiving negative feedback can be hurtful even if it’s constructive for our professional growth.
Not too long ago, I had received an email from the fitness coordinator at a hospital where I teach prenatal yoga.
She passed along a comment emailed to her from a student.
Although it was not specific as to what it was that the student did not like about my class, it was my first ever negative feedback.
The comment was simply that my class was not fit for women who were expecting.
The fitness coordinator caveated the message with the fact that the hospital knew I was a solid yoga instructor and did not need to worry about the comment.
They simply just wanted to follow through and let the student know that they passed the message along.
I thanked the fitness coordinator for being the messenger and asked if there was anything specific mentioned by the student so that I could be more mindful during the next class.
She said the comment was general and there was no further specifics.
I was surprised not because it was my first negative feedback, but it was so unexpected. Every group of prenatal yoga class that I taught has asked me if I would be open to teaching private lessons.
After each class, there is always one student telling me she feels so much better….be it her hips are less tight, her lower back feels better or she feels more relaxed.
I’ve also had students follow me to other yoga studios and gyms just to take my classes. Thus, it was such a shock to receive anything contrary to what I was used to hearing.
My thoughts raced to varying extremes.
Should I stop teaching prenatal students? Was I unfit to even teach yoga? Am I going to get sue?
I questioned all the positive feedback I ever received in my yoga classes.
I wondered who the student was. Was it the lady who kept getting up to drink water?
Then I replayed the entire class sequence in my mind and wondered what went wrong.
There could be a lot of reasons why the student relayed her thoughts to the fitness coordinator. After all, it was a one-line general statement.
Perhaps she did not feel particular poses were safe. Or maybe she felt the class was too difficult. Perhaps she wanted a full refund and needed to make a strong argument.
Who knows because there was no specific issue that was brought up.
It was probably for the best that I didn’t know which student it was. I didn’t even know if she stopped coming to the class as my class size was fairly large and not all students were able to be consistent with coming to classes each week.
Thus, I continued to teach the following prenatal class to the best of my ability. I chose not to focus and hold on to that one comment.
I was definitely more mindful but did not alter my teaching style just to try to make sure each student liked me. I knew that was not in my control.
Interestingly enough, I received more positive feedback after each class.
There were so many lessons learned on resiliency from this brief experience.
If you ever cross this bridge, remember that not everyone is going to resonate with you. And that’s a good thing!
How boring would life be if everyone saw eye to eye with us. There would be fewer opportunities to expand on the personal and professional level.
As a collective conscious, we need differences in opinions in order to learn from one another and grow.
After all, life is about the journey, not the destination. They key is to manage your perception. See, every challenging experience has a silver lining. It’s just up to you to use it to grow.
So rather than reacting to a negative feedback, see if there is an opportunity for growth. If there really is not, then practice the law of detachment. There is no use in taking on negative feedback personally.
So get better at detaching from situations that do not serve your highest good.
Eve Sengkeo, RYT is a prenatal and Hatha yoga teacher. Her passion is helping busy women achieve holistic wellness through yoga and energy healing. You can read all about her setbacks, comebacks, and all the lessons learned in between on her website SilverLinedDays.com. Welcome to connect with her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/