This week I substituted a few yoga classes for my teacher, who has been teaching Iyengar yoga for years and has a loyal following of students very committed to their practice. Though I have practiced this style for a few years, I am not trained to teach Iyengar yoga.
I always get nervous trying to fill someone else's shoes, so I try to manage the student's expectations by essentially communicating that I don't intend to fill our teacher's shoes, but to stand in my own shoes beside hers.
What I failed to manage well was my own expectations. I woke up tired today and wasn't entirely in the mood to teach. So I spent some time preparing myself mentally, centering and visualising a wonderfully flowing class.
Partway through the 2 hour class, when the students were face down in child's pose, I let this thought pop into my head: "this isn't going as well as I had hoped." The vibe in the room didn't feel as I had envisioned it would. I kept going, modifying the plan a bit, but still not able to shake off the feeling of self doubt.
At the end of the class, several people came up to me to tell me what a great class it was. I was so surprised! Surprised that my experience as a teacher had been so different than theirs as students. And surprised that I had let myself be a victim of my own expectations.
And so I learned. Stop judging myself. Get out of my own drama. Visualise the perfect scenario but then let go, rather than forming it into an expectation. Just be and let be.
Yoga can hold up a mirror, and we can learn so much when we look into it with curiosity rather than judgement.
Michelle Borner, a mom on 23 missions, blogs about her Deep Thoughts on a wide range of topics from parenting to conscious living to lessons from brain cancer.
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