The Yoga Teacher

I realized tonight that it’s been well over a year since that one class that permanently altered my practice without me even noticing.

I’m pretty sure I wrote about it here, but don’t have any idea how to go find it, or link it.

We had a visiting teacher from my hometown. In the moment, I thought I liked her a lot, and I’m pretty sure I even thought class that night was hilarious.

At the time, there was a couple, Mr. and Mrs. L. that practiced regularly together. They were a little bit older, and not in excellent shape, but very dedicated in their practice and extremely sweet. I loved seeing them every night. They were always positive and encouraging to everyone, even when class was hard. Mr. L was especially aware of his physical abilities and progress to be made, but he never gave anything but his best effort in every single class.

The visiting teacher singled out Mr. L that night. She started calling him “Boss” and corrected, admonished, teased and laughed at him R-E-L-E-N-T-L-E-S-S-L-Y for the entire 90 minutes. She had everyone else in the room laughing at him too.

She took a break from Mr. L long enough to “correct” my locust pose though. I was just starting to figure out how to get both legs off the ground. They weren’t perfectly straight, or all the way together, but I was getting the hang of using my arms to “base out” in my shoulders and could feel how the posture changed when I did that. I was super excited about the learning process and everything that was happening. Another teacher had encouraged me to not worry so much about the feet at first, to let the legs separate on the way up, then try working them back together.

When I came out of the first set grinning (of course), the visiting teacher laughed and laughed, she told me my posture was terrible, my legs were too far apart, too bent, that I had an ego problem for coming out of such an awful set so happy.

Apparently she missed out on the “yoga practice, not yoga perfect” and “1% right, 100% benefit” lectures during teacher training.

That was Mr. L’s last yoga class. He was so embarrassed that he refused to come back, even after that teacher was long gone. Eventually, Mrs. L stopped coming too. That class was the last time I attempted getting my legs up in locust too. If I think they even might be bending or separating a tiny bit I give up. Honestly, most of the time, I don’t even try at all. I just skip that posture.

I think of the L’s during locust every single class. The fact that a Bikram Yoga TEACHER destroyed Bikram Yoga for such a positive and inspiring student makes me so angry I want to cry. I wish she knew what she did to him, how much her “jokes” hurt him personally as well as our yoga community by scaring him away from us.

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4 thoughts on “The Yoga Teacher

  1. Unfortunately, teacher training alone can’t make a good teacher. A good teacher comes to the classroom to serve the students. That requires “seeing” the student. It’s a practice of empathy. And speaking of empathy, good for you, Teenie, in your empathy for Mr and Mrs. L.

    One-shot conditioning is a real thing and can be powerful. But you are a yogini, and so everything is a lesson. I will ask you – after this much time – to have another look at the event and ask what teachings are there for you.

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