How Constructive Feedback Is Transformational Gold
With the state of culture these days, it’s a bit of a hustle to stay present.
It really helps me to ground and take time in stillness for a few moments before I start my day. If I don’t set an intention, or connect to my body first thing in the morning, I tend to fly off into the abyss of what am I doing wrong? How come I’ve only come this far? What fires do I have to put out now? I should be so much farther along…
It’s a tangent…
Not to mention the negative tizzy that’s to follow from being hyperaware of everything I’m doing wrong…
The truth is, we’re hard-wired to avoid danger and if need be, to abort all missions. To get through this and actually accomplish whatever it is, is to maintain confidence and awareness, and to encourage positive feedback loops in the brain.
In a setting where you’re teaching yoga, feedback can send you into all types of negative feedback loops, no matter how grounded you are. In a job where you tear your heart wide open in hopes to get others to do the same, can you go that extra layer deeper into the realm of loving feedback?
Here are some ways to love and respond to feedback as an instructor and honor it for the transformational goldmine that it truly is.
- Understand how your brain works.
Research indicates that it’s super intimidating and upsetting for the receiver of feedback no matter what, to receive feedback about work. In the book, Your Brain At Work, Brian Rock mentions that performance goes down in corporate settings for six days during yearly reviews. Productivity drops for three days prior to yearly reviews and for three days following yearly reviews, as if to create a corporate recovery period.
- We’re actually not hyperaware of our own mistakes.
Listening to what others say is gold, and must be applied to your teaching asap! In a class setting, students are not inclined or required to tell you the truth about your class, simply because you asked.
A student at the yoga studio or studio member won’t know exactly what you mean if you ask for feedback at the end of class, or they might get thrown off by the question. It kind of ruins their experience and comes off as insecurity if asked in a variable tone of voice, anyway, which is overall ineffective.
Teaching in settings where feedback is required for you to be able to teach is important because it takes the awkwardness out of it, considering the environment is set up for you to receive feedback from the door.
Every time I’ve worked in a setting where feedback and open communication were highly encouraged, the relationships between instructors were super strong, and the ability to uphold the highest standards of yoga practice were maintained.
But what if you hear something that someone said about your class?
This would be a time when you’d take the feedback with a grain of salt, simply because they didn’t have the nerve to say it to you directly. I’d give this person the feedback that they need to give feedback directly to the person who needs it and not to create a middle man again.
Even in this situation, when you hear it through the grapevine, it’s still super important to follow the next rule.
- Research what they said from the position that they are right.
For example, if a yoga instructor says “let’s stretch the IT band in this next pose” and another yogi walks up at the end of class and says “from ahimsa, you can’t stretch your IT band,” then the feedback giver has a point.
The outcome here is that one yogi used incorrect cuing and another yogi told them what they’ve researched and experienced, from their own humble perspective.
This type of feedback is highly recommended. This type of feedback is gold, because it’s true and it helps the receiving yoga teacher tremendously.
Furthermore, if you still dislike feedback after reading this, try to remember:
As yogis, we gain feedback every time we practice yoga, in the sense of staying present to what is. And this is beautiful.
TRANSFORMATION starts while you STAY with the pain and work through it. Not before. Not after. BUT DURING.