While teaching, I’ve noticed that every now and then the entire room seems to run out of gas at the same time, right in the middle of class. There’ll be a lull in the music, maybe a lull in the sequence and my cueing, and a silence takes over for a few seconds. The energy drops, it’s almost a physical feeling.
Most often my first reaction is to panic, it kind of feels like everyone has given up at the same time. Of course, as the teacher I think it’s all my fault, but that’s my thing. More likely, it’s a naturally occurring pause, “one of those things” that just happens.
My role as the teacher, then is to wash that feeling out of the room, and get everyone’s focus back into the class. How? The most simple tactic is to just keep plugging along. Keep the same tone, intensity and volume, and stick with the sequence – don’t let the lull invade my teaching voice / style / class plan. Often, that’s enough, and the energy is back :30 seconds later. Sometimes a break is a good idea: remember, no one ever complains about going into Child’s Pose.
I think a change in the volume of the music can help, but I’m not always near the volume button. Humor and/or making a non-yoga comment – the old “change the subject” trick – can be tricky but can work if done right. One of my favorite Chicago teachers, S., is so intense during class that when she does come “out of character” and crack wise or tell a quick personal story, it works so well to break everyone out of the “mood.”
Teachers, what’s your strategy when the energy drops?