I don’t normally leave the house before 8:00 a.m. I don’t normally attend breakfast gatherings. I don’t normally plan a coffee meeting after a breakfast gathering. I don’t normally teach a yoga private on the same day as two other engagements and an evening of kids’ activities. But Monday (despite knowing my mental limit) I did just that, and to assuage myself I decided to sandwich the busyness of the day with a noontime yoga class lead by my favorite teacher.
You can imagine my dismay, when hustling into the studio in my blazer and heels (yes, you read that right) the friendly yogi at the desk told me she was subbing for said favorite teacher.
“What? You’re kidding me.”
Friendly yogi explained that she had attended favorite teacher’s earlier class, and favorite teacher had asked her to sub the next class because favorite teacher was exhausted from a full weekend of training and wanted to go home to her kids who weren’t at school that day.
“That can’t be. That’s not true. I just saw her in the coffee shop.”
Friendly yogi shrugged and smiled with an apologetic don’t-kill-the-messenger/deal-with-it-lady look upon her face. “Maybe she wanted a tea first?”
The litany of judgmental internal dialogue began:
How can favorite teacher skip class? And so last minute! Doesn’t she know people who over-schedule NEED her class? This is my ONE hour. I planned to come because of her! What about her commitment to her students? To ME?
Luckily, I caught myself fairy quickly, and I could see the humor in my mental panic. The annoyance lingered for a bit, but being a yogi who has been on the other end (subbing for amazing and seasoned teachers whose students are disappointed when they see my face instead of they one they expected) I realized what an amazing opportunity I had to learn from and study another teacher.
Class was great, just what I needed. I even picked up a teaching cue from friendly yogi that I used the next day in class. But it wasn’t until savasana, when I was lying still like a corpse and allowing the sweet practice to marinate, that the real lesson hit me. The irony is that favorite teacher still managed to teach the day’s dharma lesson despite not being physically present in class. She demonstrated, by smoking what she sells:
it’s okay to audible; change is constant
It’s okay to ask for help; we are community
It’s okay to grab a tea and take a nap; rest is vital
It’s okay to disappoint others and let them deal; they will figure it out
Most importantly, she let me bear witness to her practice of the art of self-care.
Thank you favorite teacher. (and thank you friendly yogi.)