Over at prAna Life, I offer six steps to setting a welcoming, nurturing tone that will make your students feel safe and right at home. While the piece is specifically about yoga, it would work in any movement class, and virtually any class at all.
Attending yoga for the first time—or taking a class with a new teacher or in a new studio—can be incredibly intimidating to students. By intentionally creating a welcoming environment, you’ll ensure students have a positive experience that leaves them open to yoga’s benefits and eager to return. The welcome and introduction you give in the first few minutes of class are like the greeting and instructions your flight attendant announces as your plane taxis to the runway for takeoff. For those new to class—the nervous flyers, in this analogy—this is an opportunity to receive important safety information and orientation to the space. And while frequent flyers may tune out the seat-belt fitting and emergency landing instructions, hearing the familiar spiel gives them a cue to wrap up what they were doing, power down their electronics, and prepare for the transition to flight. As you prepare your welcoming remarks, remember the 5 Ws and the one H: who, what, when, where, why, and how. Briefly cover these at the start of class to give students a clear picture of where the class is going and the tools to care for their needs.