Listening with New Ears

Recently, I have noticed that out of habit, I sometimes find myself not listening to each word when someone I know speaks on a topic that is familiar. I find myself filling in the blanks with my own directions and often it is not until much later that I realize I have not processed the conversation or lesson thoroughly. The same is evident with my yoga students. They have heard me telling them to focus on their breath, to expand their ribcages, to relax their shoulders, etc, and often really do not HEAR me any more.

This has become more evident to me since my last blog on the psoas. I have been getting comments from students about it, and from others who also read it, saying how this was wonderful “new” information. Yet, in every class, I always stress the importance of these muscles, describe where they are and what they do. But, obviously the words are floating above some students while they are focusing elsewhere.

I once had a long-time student who, while I was away on vacation, finally went to another teacher’s yoga class (which I always encourage!) He reported back to me that this particular teacher was so informative, focusing on the hamstrings. That was somewhat surprising to me because I also always do hamstring stretches in every class and always comment on how important these big muscles are to posture, and so on. So, it made me realize that after hearing me say this for 10 years, or so, he no longer really was hearing some of what I was saying any more.

What I am finally realizing is that after many years of being in my classes, the students have heard me talk and now often tune me out? YIKES! So, what does this mean? Should I review my teaching style? Should I try harder to make myself heard or understood? OR, do these students just need to move on to another teacher?

So, to other yoga teachers, I think we need to make sure our students are absorbing what we are saying. Try to vary routines, phrasing, and create situations where you can see exactly what your students are absorbing! To students, it is important to shake it up a bit. Do not get too complacent with one teacher. You need to get rejuvenated and re-inspired and sometime other classes are what is best. And, you just might learn that you prefer the original class after all, but when/if you return, you might just listen with new ears.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me at