Standing in someone else’s shoes or as Depeche Mode sang “Try walking in my shoes”. Ok my foot is small so you may not fit, but the point is to see another persons side, life and experiences.
When I started teaching yoga I was amazed to watch faces of students practicing and knew that I could never tell from their responses if they were enjoying the experience or not. Still it surprises me to have someone come up after a class and say ‘that was great’ or ‘wonderful class, I quite enjoyed it” when they were frowning, glaring or shying the entire time.
I’ve learned to move past that though and not take it personally as a teacher; it just happens and often I find that the student just has something else going on. It occurred to me that as a teacher many may not ever know how or what I’m feeling either. I believe that as a teacher I’m not there to reflect my problems however guide you in what you need right then and set the tone for the class. Many times I’ve been tired yet chose to jump up and down, get some energy and laugh just to lift up the spirits of the room.
However lets face it as a teacher we are human. I’ve often said to other yoga teachers that we should write up stories of the strangest experiences we have had.
I’ve taught plenty of classes while I had a migraine and amazed that just doing and not focused on the pain, that after class I was in less pain. I sometimes teach back to back classes and although 15 min before the next class sounds like plenty of time, often I have questions from students, have the next class to check in and it means that I never get a bathroom break. Just last month I was teaching and had to use the bathroom right as I was teaching the 2nd class and we had started our Sun Salutations. Once I got to a place where I could guide them into Pigeon, a pose they hold for 3 to 4 min at least, I ran out to use the bathroom.
I taught a prenatal class once where one woman decided that the new pants she bought were just too tight and took them off to continue practicing in her underwear. Needless to say I didn’t offer a lot of hands on adjustments to her that day. I’ve lost my voice, had something caught in my throat and had a cramp in my foot and still taught through it. I often teach after I’ve worked all day and sometimes don’t have dinner until late. I know a number of times I’ve sat on the mat while others are meditating and tried to keep my stomach from making too many noises.
I haven’t had many situations where I’ve been stuck in traffic and late but I have had one where I allowed over an hour and was stuck in an unusual standstill on the parkway and there wasn’t any exit for miles.
Of course I’ve heard very funny stories from yoga teachers as well. I’ll leave those to be told and shared by them though.
Point of sharing this with you was I’ve been on Yelp and reading comments and reviews; not just about yoga studios, but many businesses. I don’t believe all the comments are a true assessment of a business though as it is easy when you have a negative comment to get on-line, judge and leave your opinion. I don’t often see constructive criticism or suggestions. I want to change that of course by encouraging more to go out there – take a few min and support a local business. Pass on some positive energy. Not saying that if you have a bad experience not to share it – but maybe before you write it or share it, you can show some compassion and think for a moment that maybe, just maybe, that person was having a bad day or a strange situation as well. After all, the next time it could be your turn to have an ‘off moment’ and you’ll need someone else to do the same for you.