Our yoga students consistently comment that they can't believe how we remember everybody's names. The truth is, the more classes a teacher teaches per week, the more challenging it can become. Here are six tips that will have you greeting yoga students (and everybody you meet!) by name in no time at all!
1. Repeat their name back to them when they first say it.
"Nice to meet you Susan. I am so glad you are here for class today." Saying it back right away will increase your odds of remembering it.
2. Make eye contact when they tell you their name, and remember a detail about their face.
This detail might help you with memory recall. Something like, "Max has green eyes." Then, the next time you see Max, you might not remember his name at first, but the detail about him can help you pull it up in your mind.
3. Connect their name with a physical issue and/or their goal.
This is my personal favorite because it helps not only with remembering their name but with following up on their progress with their practice, i.e. "Kate has knee problems."
Then, when Kate comes back to class, I can recall her name and show that I am interested in her and her practice. "Hi Kate, how is your knee doing? What improvements are you noticing with your yoga practice?"
4. Stand at the front desk during class sign-in, or by the door to the classroom, and personally greet each student.
Seeing them come in helps you in a few ways. You can note what their energy is like as they come into the studio, you can see movement patterns in their body, and you can catch their name if they are new or you don't remember it off hand.
5. Check in with each new person before the start of class.
This is something that has worked for me over the years. I stop by their mat and see how they are doing, if they have any injuries, and re-introduce myself if I don't remember their name. This gives me a chance to personally connect with each person in the room.
6. Repetition, repetition, repetition.
Have the students introduce themselves and tell you how they're doing at the start of every class. The more you hear it, the better you will remember. This practice helps you get updates on how each student is feeling and it also helps students to get to know one another as well.
These tips work great for remembering yoga students' names, but with a couple of little tweaks they can be great for remembering the name of anyone you meet! Try them out and let us know which ones work best for you, or share a tip of your own!
Best regards, Emily
Emily Loupe is a yoga teacher, yoga therapist, the creator and director of The Yoga Room's 200 Hour Teacher Training Program, and a self-professed yoga nerd who has completed more than 2500 hours of Teacher Training in a variety of disciplines and specializations.