Lessons from my Yoga Teacher

amandastruckmeyer —  September 6, 2013 — 2 Comments
photo credit: lululemon athletica via photopin cc

photo credit: lululemon athletica via photopin cc

At the very end of last night’s yoga class, as I lay in Savasana, trying to think about nothing, my mind wandered (as it often does during attempted meditation) to my yoga teacher.  There are many fabulous teachers at my studio, but there is one instructor in particular whose classes I love to attend.  I began to pick apart exactly why this teacher is my favorite.

  • She smiles a lot.  This says, “I’m glad to be here!  This is where I want to be.”  I immediately feel more comfortable with someone who isn’t wishing she were somewhere else.
  • She makes eye contact with me and greets me in a personal way, letting me know that she sees me not as just a name on the sign-in sheet or a body on a mat, but as a human being.
  • She’s calm.  Everything is going to be okay.  In fact, you know what?  Everything is okay.
  • She consistently delivers a high-quality product.  Her classes reflect good planning and balance, and they begin and end on time.  This level of professionalism lets her students know that she respects our time, and she wants us to have the best experience possible.
  • She offers a lot of options and clear explanations, acknowledging that every person in the room is at a different place physically and emotionally, and that none of us are yoga experts.  She doesn’t expect that we will understand technical yoga jargon.

I quickly realized that these are all characteristics and habits that can be easily applied to many fields—including librarianship.  Surely patrons appreciate interacting with a librarian who:

  • Smiles a lot.  This is a good place to be!
  • Makes eye contact and offers a personal greeting.  I’m truly glad you’re here.  I acknowledge that you are a living, breathing valuable person, not just a library card or a statistic. 
  • Maintains a calm demeanor.  Everything is under control.  How can I help you?
  • Delivers high-quality reference service and programming.  I’m so glad you went out of your way to come to the library!  I want to provide an outstanding experience for you today as I help you through a reference question or facilitate an event. 
  • Realizes that patrons come from many different backgrounds have a wide variety of needs.  I’m ready to offer different solutions until we find something that works for you.  I don’t expect you to know what all of these acronyms stand for, so I’ll explain everything in regular-people language– without sounding condescending. 

I didn’t expect a lesson in librarianship when I went to yoga class last night, but thinking about exactly what it is that I appreciate in my instructor brought about new insights that I can apply immediately at work.




Amanda Struckmeyer graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with an MLS in 2005. In 2008, she served on the Newbery Award Committee, and in 2010, she co-authored DIY Programming and Book Displays: How to Stretch Your Programming Without Stretching Your Budget and Staff, available through ABC-Clio. She is currently the Head of Youth Services at the Middleton (WI) Public Library. Outside of the library, you can find Amanda enjoying the outdoors, playing her banjo, knitting, and making messes in the kitchen.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Fall Ahead | Tales From the Book Drop - September 6, 2013

    […] reading :: Lessons from my Yoga Teacher (about reference work) and a lot of articles ; […]

  2. Library Lost & Found: Lessons from my Yoga Teacher | International Librarians Network - February 22, 2015

    […] Library Lost & Found is a US-based blog for library leaders. They feature a range of interesting pieces exploring libraries and leadership from a range of perspectives. They regularly share interesting ‘serious’ pieces such as their career advancement interviews – interviewing librarians about their career paths but they also share some fun creative pieces – looking for library lessons in all kinds of places. The piece we wanted to share with you today is one of those pieces entitled ‘Lessons from My Yoga Teacher’ : […]

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