Let's just say I'm collecting war stories...war stories about, uh, difficult students. Perhaps the biggest challenge of teaching yoga is not demonstrating Bakasana or keeping your sequences fresh, but maintaining harmony in the class room.
Inevitably, a group of people in a yoga class will have some conflicts, whether philosophical, personal, or physical. One person wears too much perfume, another not enough deodorant. One person wants to breath noisily and sigh heavily during difficult poses and another needs a quiet practice space. Some one modifies their poses appropriately when they have an injury, some body else forces themselves forwards in Paschimottanasana with a humped upper back and cringe on her face. People show up late and distract everyone during the opening Ohms, other people clump out of class loudly during Savasana.
What's a sweet, little yoga teacher to do? You don't want to introduce a feeling of persecution by embarrassing any one, but you owe it to your other students to discourage disruptive behavior. You don't want a smelly studio. Students should be able to make the class work for them, but no one wants to watch a smug yogi showing off when the teaching is trying to demonstrate a new pose.
The one bright point in all of this is that these problem students can often reveal biases that you, as a teacher, are holding. Why does a certain behavior bother you so much? It can be a disconcerting realization, but it's a good exercise in self-awareness. Doesn't kill ya, so it makes you stronger, right?
So, my dear yogis, share. How have you dealt with troublemakers? How have you dealt with yourself? Please feel free to register as Anonymous if it makes you more comfortable to discuss. It think it is good for all of us to compare notes, and if you want to be discrete, that's cool.