“I tried yoga once and hated it. It’s not for me. It’s too slow.”
When I hear this (at least four times a year) the reaction in my gut is not pleasant. A few weeks ago, I had the same feeling after being yelled at -twice- by some cyclists when I errantly stepped into the bike lane in front of their invisible selves.
Oh my gosh! What a look of contempt that man had on his face. I feel terrible. Is it really necessary to make someone feel more idiotic by screaming and shaking fists? Do you really need to be riding your bike at 20 mph down 5th avenue? Well maybe you do. I’m so sorry. I’m leaving tomorrow and you will never see me again, although I will see you in my mind over and over for a long time.
Do I really need to revisit my missteps? Didn’t the guys do me a favor by making me aware that bike paths are serious business?
Is my bruised ego so fragile that the slightest embarrassment makes me sick to my stomach?
What does it say about me if I’m upset that some people hate what I teach?
This is a perfect example as to why I practice yoga. It’s no longer an exercise option for laziness, it’s a way to investigate my big emotions.
Yoga is different from aerobics or circuit training. The physical practice is a way of tricking the ego into taking a break.
A good teacher WILL ask us to note how we feel when we can’t seem to stay in a tree pose longer than five seconds. Is it the worst thing ever?
A good teacher WILL encourage us to focus on physical and emotional sensations and then remind us that they are often unavoidable but temporary.
A good teacher WILL suggest that reactions on the mat are similar to actions off the mat.
A good teacher will listen to someone say “ I don’t practice yoga because I need to go go go” and NOT reply, “Evidently you lack the ability or discipline to sit with a quiet mind, and ask why?”
A good teacher will NOT demand to know “If yoga is not for you then who is it for?”
A good teacher will NOT write “If you tried skydiving once and hated it, okay, but a yoga class? Come on ya big baby.”
There are many people who don’t practice yoga because they feel calm, centered and content, or simply can’ t find the time. Not surprising, they aren’t the ones who tell me they hate it.
If I never got back on a bicycle after first falling off, I’d never have fallen off again. If I’d never taken more than one yoga class, I’d never have become a teacher.
Namaste: That’s my ego driven rant for today!