I started teaching a class at a community center. Very different from teaching at yoga centers... Where do I begin. The class was very large, that I can deal with and am OK with. The more people I can share my love of yoga with the better. The room was loud. There was a squash game or jump roping or tennis or something going on in the room behind us. There was an aerobics class above and the pounding on the ceiling was scary. I am guessing a room next to or around the corner as the constant slam of a door that felt like ours was very apparent. All of these mild distractions are easy to deal with. I play music, I remind them to use the external distractions as a way to improve focus and of course ignore it.
The one thing I have not experienced before was people who talk the entire time. I have as a participant made the occasional comment, heard the occasional comment. A laugh, a giggle, a question, an excuse me, occasional noises. This was different! Two women at the back of the class had a conversation through the entire practice. They never took a break. I am a talker, I know that. Get me on the phone or in a room with my friends and I can talk. I do however know that there is a time and a place. I do not chatter constantly during yoga, meditation, church, plays, presentations that kind of thing. I can turn it off.
They started as soon as they walked in, probably before they walked in. I thought OK they will stop when the practice begins. NOPE! During the centering portion of the class, chat chat chat. During postures, chat chat chat. During integrations between postures, chat, chat, chat. Preparing for savasana and centering for this, chat chat chat. A bunch Chatty Cathy's. They were quiet for the relaxation/savasana portion, all seven minutes of it. I swear it must have been killing them. As soon as I said "bring awareness to your breath". It started again, chat chat chat. I said several times "let us enjoy the silent space". I don't think they heard me because they just kept talking. I swear I have never heard or seen anything like it.
I tried a few techniques to shut these women up but nothing worked. I was talking to other women at the end of class so I did not get to talk with them and come to some understanding. I know they are paying for this class, but so are the other 18 women. For some yoga is just another exercise class. However, for others it is meditative and spiritual and a certain amount of respect is required.
For next week during the centering and opening part of the practice I will prepare something to remind these women that it can be a spiritual practice for some. I am putting it out there to anyone who may be reading... do you have any suggestions to quiet the Chatty Cathy's???