Sometimes when teaching a student a pose, one on one, they just won’t get it. If you’re in the middle of a class, and it’s not the kind of adjustment where you want to stop the class and workshop it, it’s best to give the student encouragement and move on, even though your desire might be to try to have them “get it right” or “do it the way I just showed you.”
The other day I had a student that was doing some kind of up-dog / cobra hybrid. Now, I don’t know if this is a huge problem or not, but the stickler in me thought I should at least show him the difference between the two. It was during opening sun salutations, so I figured I had some time while everyone else cooled their heels in down dog. I quickly explained the difference between the two poses, got down and dirty on the floor to do it with him (and this floor was *dirty*), and he goes right ahead and does the hybrid again. Twice.
Now comes the battle between the perfectionist (which many yoga teachers seem to be) and the practicalist (is that even a word?). I had to move on with class, there were twelve other students waiting to do the yoga. This will happen quite often. Tell a student to slide his left foot back a few inches and nothing moves; tell a student to turn her palm toward the wall behind her, and she just stares at you; tell a student to tuck his left hip under and the hip sticks out even more. Wherever the communication breakdown is, the perfectionist has to realize that this happens, and let go.
Here’s the solution: compliment the student, move on, and hope for the best. Maybe something will shift before the student’s next class or some time down the road. Karma and junk.
“Yeah, that’s it! Looks great!” and move on. It’s good to remember that part of teaching is that not everyone will get it. You can lead a fish to water …