I took great pride as I left the yoga studio after teaching on Sunday. I’d subbed quite a few classes over the holiday break but this class was my own. It was an opportunity which I knew was rare. I reflected back to the time and effort to which I invested in developing what I deemed to be a creative yet thoughtful yoga sequence, including a theme pertinent to the peak pose(s), and accompanying music playlist. I was proud of what I had created. In my mind, I showed up to teach with my best and, although it didn’t go perfectly, it seemed that my students were receptive and gracious at the end of class.
So you can imagine my emotional reaction when I came to discover that at one of my students had expressed extreme disappointment in their experience. To say that I was crushed would be an understatement.
The yoga sutras say that yoga should be practiced with dedication but without any attachment to the outcome. It seems that I was indeed attached to the outcome. As such, I had a hard time reconciling what to do next. I don’t want to be a quitter, but I don’t want to tarnish the reputation of the yoga studio that I have come to call home. I love it here and want others to do the same.
Early this morning, I lay awake in bed but lacked the motivation to get up – even for my morning cup of coffee which is a precious component of my morning routine. The whirling thoughts in my head were already in high gear. At this point, the words I was to say or the sequence I had been cooking up for my next class were less of a concern than my frame of mind. Somehow, I had to pull myself together to be able to show up with confidence and deliver another class. And even though I thought my last class was my best, this upcoming class has to even better.
I kept glancing at the clock, watching the time pass, and thinking about the more immediate next step. It had nothing to do with teaching. It was about showing up as a student for my own practice. Knowing that I am not so good at hiding my own feelings of hurt and disappointment, I worried about others who were in-the-know of the recent feedback seeing me. I didn’t want pity nor ridicule. I just want to move on.
After some time, I packed up my things for work and drove to class. I rolled out my mat, as I always do, and began again – offering up my practice to a higher good. Maybe it would be to the benefit of my students to be, someone I’d yet to encounter in the day ahead, or maybe even the disappointed student. I just inhaled, exhaled, moved into the shapes, and watched as the thoughts and pain melted away (if only for a time).
Abhyasa Vairagyabham Tanniodhah.” -Yoga Sutra 1.12