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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Let that be a lesson to ya.

Once a week I teach an early-morning Yoga class. Due to recent snow, I made sure to get up half an hour earlier than usual so I could clear my car and drive as slowly as necessary to get to the gym. The roads were actually great so I had more than enough time to get ready and head out.

I'm required to get to the gym 15 minutes prior to the class start time so I can set up and welcome participants. On this particular snowy morning, no one had arrived at the start time, so the fitness attendant and I watched the clock until the requisite time had passed and we could cancel.

Ten minutes finally ticked by so we started to pack up the sound equipment and extra mats. I joked that as soon as I got both snow boots on and laced, someone would waltz in and expect to start some Yoga.

Which is exactly what happened.

The participant thought we were kidding when the attendant and I explained classes cannot be taught to just one person due to safety protocol. The participant said she'd made the effort to come, so she really wanted me to teach the class regardless. I told her I couldn't do it, and also told her I'd made an effort to show up as well, so it's a bummer for me to turn around and go home too.

What I really wanted to tell her was I made an effort to show up on time. There's nothing more exhausting than getting up at 5am for nothing.

I'm always surprised at how late some people show up for a class. They skip warm ups and jump right into the Yoga practice with seemingly no awareness of their body and its needs for a safe workout. When I expressed this frustration to the fitness attendant, she suggested I start shutting the door once class begins. They're automatically locked, and that should send a message to participants that we need to start on time to allow ourselves adequate warm up, work out, and cool down.

What would you do if you showed up late for a class and found yourself locked out? Would you learn to come on time, or would you just be pissed? The policy at one of my gyms is to prohibit attendance if class is more than five minutes underway, which seems more than reasonable to me. But I fear people won't learn anything about time management; they'll just bang on the door until someone lets them in (which would be even more distracting than someone coming in late).

I'm just not sure what to do...


  1. Hum... I see the frusturation. When I was attending a regular yoga class sometimes I ran late, it just couldn't be helped. But if I was more than 5 min. late I just bagged it. There's nothing worse than walking into a dark yoga room where everyone is in mid-stance staring at you like you're a big jerk, lol. You could always just close the door and put a sign up that says the class is in session, please do not disturb. People will eventually get the message but I would also expect your numbers to drop at first as well.

  2. i'de be pissed. I am a very on time person - usually early. But, I am mad when I take the time to get somewhere and people don't give me a break. I do feel dumb coming into a class late and try to avoid it - but sometimes you didn't expect that ice to be on your windshield or you didn't expect that train to take 5 minutes to pass - i would say unless the class is packed who cares if people come in late - at least they come - there's nothing at the gym to replace what you teach liv - yoga's not so much fun by yourself surrounded by people lifting weights/running on cardio machines. give em a break.

  3. I say that if you find it too disruptive/unsafe for people to come in more than 5 minutes late, close those doors! As the teacher, you're expected to care for ALL of your participants, not just the late ones: will it ruin the flow of class to have people stomping around and setting up while everyone else is warming up? Will you have to pay special attention to the late-comers to make sure they don't inadvertently pull an (un-warmed-up) muscle? Probably yes to both.

    I'm all about giving people a break, but they need to be respectful of their classmates, themselves and YOU.

  4. ooooh. i think it depends ENTIRELY on the person. sure, unforseen things happen and you might show up late every once in awhile. But do they do it all the time? Do they EXPECT you to wait for them or stop class so they can get situated? Is she a major b? All legit questions. Of course, you have to treat everyone the same, probably, so my ideas probably won't help much.


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