I have been teaching yoga for over 10 years and recently, it has been my privilege to work with new teachers as they learn how to guide classes. As instructors, we have an amazing job working with wonderful people. But every so often someone walks in the door (seemingly voluntarily) who doesn’t seem to want to be there at all. There is debate as to how to treat a disruptive, unresponsive or downright negative student in class. Some teachers take the “my way or the highway” approach, while others either ignore the offender or resort to “do whatever you want to do” language. When this power struggle happens, it is important for the instructor to know where they stand so today, I want to share my thoughts about teaching with fellow instructors and offer a few tips on etiquette to all the students out there. The Down Right Difficult Student For Teachers: New age-iness would tell us that when a difficult student comes into your class room, they have been sent to teach you to look within. Are you expecting too much of your students, too little? Are you teaching the level and style that is actually advertised in that time slot? These are valid things to investigate to be sure. However it would be fairly narcissistic to assume that everyone who wandered into a drop-in class with a bad attitude was there with something to teach you. Some people are just not that nice or socially appropriate…plain and simple. I have been teaching for enough time now, that when someone is out-and-out rude or disrespectful, I either ask them to leave my class or don't give them the time of day. Sadly, the people who have the more disruptive ego trips during class have usually been practicing yoga asana for at least a few years and therefore, think they know what yoga really is. Here is the thing, any real Yogi knows not to take their own garbage out on another human being (especially staff or teachers at a studio who have devoted their life and livelihood to sharing the practice with others). Tips for Students: Remember, ninety percent of instructors are standing at the front of the room to guide you through a practice designed to make you feel better. You may not love every moment of every class or appreciate every style out there, but if you are able to be open (even just a little bit) there is probably some gem you can pick up.