What is crucial, regardless of which way you choose here, is your own authenticity, your intention(s), and your integrity. It doesn’t matter what your students do just as it doesn’t matter what your mother does. People are coming to you for you and the way you are conveying the practice. This is based on YOUR OWN practice … not a book or an opinion. Om, Namaste, Sanskrit, Mantra, Pranayama … these things cannot be stripped from Yoga and have Yoga remain intact. That would be utter nonsense.
Asana (if you are teaching that rather than Yoga) is not a fitness class. It can absolutely be used to support health in the physical body. It should never be compared to things that are purely for the body, have no history, no philosophy, and no introspection. Again, that would be utter nonsense.
Students are in the room to be educated. Their ability to be present and responsive is part of the education of a yoga student. When you come in the room and say “Good morning everyone” and they all sit there like deer in headlights … that is not because you said “namaste”. It is because they are disconnected from self and often oblivious to what’s going on around them. Teach them to answer questions. Teach them to be responsive. Teach them to meet the world half way - to greet and be greeted. THEN teach them what Namaste is and how it fits in. If they choose not to participate then it is a mindful choice and a great yoga teacher ALWAYS supports the mindful choice of their students.
Founder, Team Yoga