Monday, February 13, 2012

“With a sheepish smile, she took herself out”

Say that three times in a row...
Ready? sheepish smile, sheepish schmile, smeepish schmile!
Not too long ago, I was subbing for a fellow teacher who had come down with mono. I don’t mind subbing for other teachers, especially if I am already familiar with the facility and know some of the students. I have become more comfortable with subbing over the years, but still, the students have their reservations about a sub! I totally get it, I was the same way not too long ago. 
The students began to file into class wearing those ‘deer in the headlights’ expressions, and I quickly began to explain that the teacher was out ill, and that hopefully she would be back next week. One student replied, “Did you say she was sick?”  There were some surprised and puzzled looks in the crowd, “Yes, unfortunately, the teacher has mono”, I responded, “Please keep her in your thoughts and maybe send some healing energy her way”.  “Wow, I thought if you do all this yoga then you don’t get sick”, someone said. Somewhat surprised, I replied, “Well... it happens sometimes”.  I thought to myself, “We are all organic, we are all human, and we become ill once in a while”.
The pranayama practice was flowing along and we began to transition into some Asanas. The students were moving through half vinyasas as I walked the floor, I stopped for a moment and realized that I was not able to take them through any Sun Salutes. Earlier that day, I was working on handstands and tweaked my wrist. Plank and down dog would not be possible because I couldn’t do one fourth of my Pilates reformer class that afternoon. My wrist flat out hurt and I wasn’t going to push it for Pilates or for Asanas. As the students came to Samasthiti (equal standing), I addressed the class that  any new students should feel free to follow along with others through the sequence as I would continue to verbally cue. I explained a minor wrist setback would allow me to do only standing and non weight bearing floor postures in class that night. As you may have guessed, there were more surprised and puzzled looks.
I began to cue Sun Salute A and then interjected into my dialogue, “ We teachers, we become sick and we do get hurt... even injured by more advanced yoga postures” I kinda shrugged my shoulders and sheepishly smiled when saying this, I knocked myself off of any pedestal I may have been perched on and the response was heartwarming. By their expressions, smiles and giggles, I believe that the students who showed up that night were at peace with the idea that teachers are students also. We are one in community and in practice, and that there isn’t a need for teachers to be on a pedestal (at least that is my opinion). I do understand there is some yoga drama and politics; desiring to be upheld, idolized and popular, I personally don’t think it’s healthy or necessary, at times it may be dangerous. 
Hmmm, Samasthiti...equal standing indeed.

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