So I love yoga. I try to get my yoga on every day. Occasionally, I teach yoga. Which means, I substitute yoga.
Yes. I am the substitute.
DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN…..
I get it. People are predisposed to hate the sub. That’s totally programmed into our head back to elementary school. But we should get over it.
Because I’m the sunshine smiley yoga instructor. You’re in for a good time. Right?
I regularly sub at a studio in town and have had nothing but positive experiences. I love them. I have great classes and everything about it proves a WONDERFUL time. So let me start by saying, last Friday was still AMAZING. But it was definitely trickier than normal. And not just because it was a rainy day!
Before class began, I went around (like I always do and learned from Charles Matkin in NYC) and introduced myself to all my students and asked how they were feeling, if they had any injuries I needed to know about, etc. I got to one girl and she went “Oh. Are *you* teaching tonight?” Unto itself, the comment wouldn’t have been all that bad. Except for the tone. She clearly meant it in the, “I wish you weren’t teaching and you look like you are a sucky teacher who doesn’t know anything about yoga” kinda way. Definitely wanted to intimidate me. So I said, yes, I’m the sub and have been teaching for five years blah-blah-blah. I’m sorry that the regular teacher isn’t here, but I promise a good class, yadda yadda yadda. She was free to leave if she wanted to.
But she stayed.
And talked to her friend throughout class.
Making fun of me the entire time.
Not very nice or yogic of her.
Every instruction I gave, she repeated in a snippy voice to her friend. She blatantly ignored sequencing tips I gave and proceeded to laugh at me throughout class. She would talk to her friend, point at me, mimic me, do everything she could to make noise and make fun of me. Anyone but the teacher talking in yoga class is a no-no y’all! Students around her shot angry looks and I addressed the class politely and tried to get the girl to quiet down. A storm outside waged and thunder clapped between poses. Every thunder only spurred her laughter. Almost as though the storm was trying to drown out her mean comments.
Then, the unthinkable happened.
The power went out.
The girl definitely blamed me.
But the rest of the class laughed.
We fumbled in the dark, we tried to bring light into the room, thunder and lightening continued and, eventually, the power was restored.
That made for a crazy class!!
The mean girl never left the room, never stopped making fun of me, and truly seemed to be a miserable person. I’m sorry that she disrupted everyone else around her. But I learned from the experience. Next time, I’d ask her to wait outside. (If someone is going to act like a four-year-old, guess I should treat them as a four-year-old.) And I would be more confident in letting the person know, before class, that they are welcome to leave if they don’t want a substitute. I can’t let someone unhinge me with a glare, a bad tone, or a sneer.
But the power going out brought me back to my senses. Back to the power of ME. Other people can try to hurt you, try to bring you down, but only you can let them. You have the power over your emotions and the power over yourself in any situation.
So when that class reached savasana (final relaxation for you non-yogis out there), I tried to use my new found message. While my students rested with their eyes clothes, I tried to express my own fears, frustrations, love, confidence, and hope via the only way I could–my voice. Singing. As a girlfriend told me, I became a “songbird.” I sang a yoga chant and sang with every fiber of my being. I sang to help the girl find happiness, since clearly something in her was hurting to make her be so mean. I sang that the rest of the class may find peace and relaxation. I sang for the thunderstorm outside, which granted me the light of understanding in the middle of the dark power-outage. I sang for myself, for having the ability to see what is true and what is me. I am Lora and I am here. And all I can ever be is me. And gosh darn it. I’m going to be me. I like me. And guess what? Other people do, too. How cool is that?
How do you find yourself when others hurt you? How do you see in the darkness? What do you do to come back to yourself when you are momentarily down or feeling defeated?
This is the chant I sang that rainy night, the anusara invocation, which starts with Om Namah Shivaya Gurave
The first line can be translated as “I bow to the goodness in myself” or “I honor the divinity within me.”
And after class, I went out remembering to honor myself. Look for the goodness in others. And always try to breathe into the goodness that is me.
How do you cope with mean people?
Also, humor helps.
This photo of me in tree pose always cracks me up! It’s a reminder not to take myself so seriously. (OMG look at how much my face is concentrating and how crazy my smile looks! Not my finest moment. Good to always laugh at myself.)
Here’s my favorite yoga related youtube video: It’s dated now, but it still makes me laugh!