You win some. You lose some.
I recently had a yoga audition at a luxury athletic club. It was very much outside of my normal clientele, but when the opportunity came up to teach a Restorative class there, I thought I would give it a try. I was greeted by 8 or so other teachers waiting for the group fitness director to arrive. Everyone seemed cheery, yet there was a bit of nervous competition in the air. Who would get the gig? How would this group audition go? Who are these other teachers? We all signed our liability waivers and the director took us to the studio. All the spots in the front row were snatched up like ice water in the desert. I took my place in the back row next to the couple of club members that were invited to attend the audition.
We were told that we each would be given about 10 minutes for our demo. Power Vinyasa would go first, then Vinyasa, and then we would end with Restorative. We went around the room and shared our name, how long we taught yoga, & where we were currently teaching. There were a few fresh out of Yoga Teacher Training instructors in the room. I had been teaching the longest (6 years) & the next most experienced teacher in the room had only been teaching for a little under 2 years. My ego felt proud- like I was better than these other ladies simply because I had the most experience.
The first to demo was "Miss L.A." . She recently moved to PDX from The City of Angels. Everything about her look screamed L.A. : perfectly manicured hair, thick makeup, false eyelashes, a waist the size of my wrist, pearly white perfectly straight teeth, dark tan.....etc, etc, etc. She peeled off her shirt before coming to her mat at the front of the room & revealed her ripped abs. Woah, where am I? What kind of yoga am I about to do? And why is Miss L.A. taking over my tree-hugging dirt-worshiping humble down to earth Oregon? She exuded confidence and energy as she took us through a fast-paced dance-like repetition-heavy sequence called Buti Yoga. My body quickly heated to a sweat and proceeded to sweat though 3 more Power Vinyasa demos that included waaaaay too many Warrior 3's for my preference.
The pace slowed down ever so slightly for the Vinyasa demos, yet we kept moving and sweating. 6 or 7 teachers took their turn at the front of the room. You could tell the newbies by their lingo. They were very much in the rhetoric of teaching.
Finally, the director said it was time for Restorative. Whew. I had had enough Downward Dog Knee to Nose, Knee to Elbow Power Hour. We all went to the back room to get all the wonderful props for our restful & relaxing part of the audition. The teacher to go first, put us in a reclined Butterfly with a rolled blanket going sideways below our shoulder blades and a bolster under our knees. I was just settling in, finding that place where the body finds blissful relaxation at the end of a yoga class. Then my name was called. I was abruptly taken out of Samadhi to teach the next demo.
I went to the front of the room & asked the teacher to keep her music playing as to keep the transition fluid. I turned around to lead everyone into a breath, however I got choked up. My nerves got the best of me and I suddenly was struggling to even get my words out. My voice quivered & quaked as though I was that shy girl. You know, the shy girl with the emotional baggage who looks down & starts to cry when asked to speak? I managed to spit out a few more words, but out of nervousness I grabbed a towel from the basket at the front of the room, so I could have something to squeeze & fidget & hold. Now I'm the shy emotional girl with a security blanket. I breath deeply. Swallow my nerves. I am a bit in shock at seeing how I am reacting to this situation and try my best to pull myself together. I tell the room that I would like for us to go into a posture that will be good for all the chair poses (we did waaaaaaaay too many!) that we just did. Some people have 2 bolsters, some only one. I instruct to put the bolster on the right side. However, we are taking our right leg across our bodies to the floor on the left side, so all the yogis who only had 1 bolster have to stop what they are doing & move their bolster to the correct side. I proceed to get my Lefts & Rights mixed up. People pause while I try to get my words out correctly. As soon as we go to the other side in the twist, the director calls on the next teacher to demo. I feel a huge sense of relief that my 5-10 minutes of Hell had finally ended.
I bombed the audition, majorly. Like worst teacher in the room, horribly bad. Probably one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. I get out of there as quickly as possible while still being polite and head straight to the women's spa lounge to decompress and let my nerves settle. What got in to me today? Where did that come from? What happened to my voice? What happened to all my years of training? And all my hours teaching? And my love & confidence & faith in yoga?
It's all still there, but at that moment, at that particular moment, I apparently needed an ego wake up call. Yoga Teachers never reach the top of some mystical mountain of perfection. Yoga is a practice that never stops giving. Rich in life lessons. One day I am teaching at a festival to a sold out venue of 120+ people. Another day I am at a business conference teaching a hall packed with professionals before they sit in lectures all day. Yet on another day I have my regulars who've I have come to know & love because we share this beautiful practice together regularly. Then there are those times where I show up to a yoga class as a student with a hot mess of a life and do the inner work. But on that particular day, at that particular luxury athletic club, I royally failed. But you know what? I showed up. I came. I practiced. I saw. And that is the real yoga. Showing up to witness. The Practice ebbs & flows, but what remains constant is the Witness.