Life's changed even more since then what with our move to Cambridge last year - and I have great hopes for the future!
So to celebrate the last two years, I thought I'd tell you about one of the many steps on my journey from yoga student to teacher (not that we ever stop being students of course!).
(Mr Park say "oh hai")
One of the hardest lessons you have to learn as a yoga teacher is to not take things personally. The first time nobody turned up to class I wept and wept. It wasn’t until the next day I realised I’d got my term dates wrong and everybody assumed we were still on vacation. Sometimes people come to class, sometimes they don’t. It’s not your fault. You don’t know what’s going on in their lives and shocking as it may seem, yoga class doesn’t always take priority.
Sometimes you will get a student who comes once, and then you never see her again. You have to learn not to beat yourself up about that too. Sometimes they just won’t like you and that’s OK, because if it wasn’t for not liking a teacher, I wouldn’t be teaching yoga myself.
I used to go to a lunchtime yoga class twice a week at the gym near my office. It was perfect – it stretched my body and relaxed my mind halfway through a stressful day. No matter how busy we were at work, or how badly my boss didn’t want me to take a lunch break, I always made sure on Tuesdays and Thursdays I got to my midday yoga class. My sanity, and thus the sanity of the rest of my department, depended on it.
This particular Thursday the regular yoga teacher was away. I was always disappointed when my regular teacher was away. It happens to all of us. There is always a strange sense of loss when a cover teacher arrives. I’ve seen it in the eyes of students when I have covered another teacher’s class for them. I see it in my own student’s eyes when I tell them I won’t be there the next week and another teacher will take the class. Much as we know intellectually that we shouldn’t be attached to one teacher and one style of teaching, emotionally it is far harder to let go.
So let’s return to that distant Thursday lunchtime. I unrolled my mat with a feeling of frustration, not knowing what was in store.
I then took what, at that time, seemed to me to be the worst yoga class of my life. There was no flow, we seemed to be up and down and up and down more times than (insert suitable metaphor here!), and before I knew it, almost apoplectic with internal rage I found myself against the wall being told to “press myself against the mirror”. I’m sorry to say that I then did the unthinkable, perhaps one of the rudest things I have ever done. I walked out of the class before it had finished.
I never do this. I’m one of those people who stay in the cinema until the bitter end even when the film is so long and boring I think I may pass away. I always finish books, even those with which I lose interest on about page twenty and when it comes to yoga classes I am the mistress of etiquette. I never arrive late and I never, ever leave early. I always stay until after Savasana and the closing meditation. Except for this one time.
To this day I can’t tell you what drove me so mad about this teacher. To be honest, I can’t remember her name or what she looked like or much else about the class, apart from having to press myself against the mirror.
Later that afternoon I bemoaned to my office mate about the uselessness of my lunchtime teacher.
“I could do better,” I said.
She smiled. She knew nothing at all about yoga but she did know me.
“I know you could,” she said. “So why don’t you?”
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