Last night I taught prenatal class, and my one student seemed to enjoy the practice, but it got me thinking: sometimes I think it’s easier to teach a class of four or six students than a class of one. For my one student, was able to reuse most of the sequence I designed for last week’s class (since she wasn’t there last week, and I had yet another stomach bug this weekend, which limited my ability to plan), while also tailoring the class to her ability level (at 27 weeks, she was capable of more activity than someone farther along). The downside to a class of one, though, is that it just feels kind of awkward: all my attention focused on one person holding a pose. Yep, she’s still holding it. How does she feel in there? Does she feel like I’m staring at her? To divert myself from thinking too much (and also, I admit, to aid my teaching, since I’m still a little rusty), I practiced along with her, but the questions still remained.
For yoga students in general, I can think of a variety of reasons why it would be unwelcome to be the only student – certainly it would be uncomfortable for a nervous beginner! Plus, there’s just a different mindset to “attending a yoga class” versus “taking a private yoga lesson”. If I’ve left the house thinking I’ll be getting one thing, I kind of have to rework my mental image of the event when I find I’m getting the other, even if a private yoga lesson is technically more valuable.
As a student myself, there are times when I would be happy to be a class of one, and other times when I’d really just like to blend into the back of the room, thanks. I can remember once when F and I drove out to a yoga studio an hour from our house for some tourist yoga, and we and one other guy were the only students. On that day, I was delighted for the extra attention and the chance to really get to know a new teacher style at a new studio. I can also remember occasions where I was running late, not feeling well, or just not feeling like doing yoga, but forced myself out the door anyway. On a day like that, even though I almost always feel better by the end of class, I still wouldn’t want that only-student spotlight on myself.
As a yoga student, how do you feel when you’re the only student in the room? For any yoga teachers, how does it make you feel when you unexpectedly have to tailor your practice to a class of one?