Teaching Yoga

Confessions of a yoga teacher: When nobody shows

It’s a really hard thing to put yourself out there… and nobody shows or you get turned down or everybody bails. It sucks. This applies to everything in life, right? Throwing a party or hosting an event or asking someone out. As much as we try to believe, “If you build it, they will come,” sometimes, nobody comes. You’ve planned. You’ve prepped. You got there early to set up. You gather the courage to be seen and to be vulnerable. And then, nothing.

I’ve had my fair share of empty classes. It’s lonely and sad and painful to show up. I try to come into everything with zero expectations – or at least managed expectations – but I’ll be the first to admit that my feelings are a little hurt. I start to feel like I’m not enough or what I’m offering isn’t of value.

Perhaps someone wanted to come, but their kid got sick or a meeting/other obligation popped up or the location/day/time doesn’t work with their schedule. I get that. I’ve definitely bailed on things, and as a parent, my bail rate is much higher than I’d like. I can’t take any of that personally, which is much easier to say than to put in practice.

What can I do when no one shows?

I can start planning for my next class or a new series/workshop. A little sequencing. A little playlist tinkering. I take myself through my own sequence. I brainstorm other ways to market my class. I brainstorm different audiences that may be more willing to commit or to show up. I analyze my cost of time and effort vs. potential attendance. And sometimes, I have to decide whether this class is worth keeping and where else I can focus my efforts.

Quitting altogether isn’t an option. If every time I were rejected in life and I gave up, I would have nothing. No new experiences. No motivation for overcoming. No compassion. I’d sit on my butt and just feel sorry for myself. Instead, perhaps this is life’s way of challenging me, knowing that I’ll have many no-shows and many failures on the long path toward realizing something new and amazing.

PSA: Tomorrow, Daylight Savings Time ends. Change your clocks BACK an hour. I’m teaching at noon Sunday, so hopefully no one misses the class due to DST!

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