I love it when my patience is tested. I mean, it’s really frustrating at the time, but in the long run if I can hold myself together I know I will be a better, stronger and more understanding human being.
Some possible things that can test patience:
Well, you get the idea.
So I went into some strange yoga place the other day and felt very satisfied because the room was super nice and hot as I entered and lay down my mat. I sat down with a little nervous excitement when I realized I had forgotten something. Thank God I had forgotten something since I was so nervous so now I had a reason to get up and walk it out a little bit. I returned feeling much better and sat and stretched a little bit.
It had been a while since I had a regular yoga practice. I had quit teaching yoga about a year ago since I had broken a bone and my personal practice fell off as well. For the past few months I have been pushing myself to attend more classes and I really like the hot ones and the long, slow ones since I can get into my joints a little more… and sometimes I fall asleep in them. Ooops.
Regardless, the point is I have changed a little, my body has changed a little and I am meeting this with a new self. I still yearn for the challenging arm balances and love the energy of a fast flow. Sometimes this is also when I am challenged by my own limitations, but physical challenges can be easy to work through in the moment sometimes if you know how. Being patient and forgiving with yourself is one method. And never giving up!
Well, my girlfriend told me that some class made her angry. I thought, “Oh, how exciting!” I wanted to see what that was all about. Would it make me angry? Would it be too fast? Would I be challenged? For her, it was the speed. Well, that has never been a problem for me, although I cannot go as deep as I used to at a fast pace. Just a matter of time and consistency of practice, however. Not a concern. So I went. And I became so annoyed. Oh my goodness I was so annoyed. WHY, I wondered. Why, oh why! I found the answer made me realize something I would want to exemplify.
For a while, however, all I could really feel was annoyance. I picked at the possible reasons, the nuances of the class, the dogma of the instructor, the over exaggeration of some words, the projecting of emotions I didn't feel on to me and the arrogance. I thought, “Was I like that in my ignorance as a new teacher? Did I come across like this?” Most of the feedback I would hear about my classes was that it was challenging… down right hard, if you will.. and maybe too fast sometimes in my power vinyasa flow during the ‘one breath one movement’ portions. My favorite PVF teachers were equally as fast and dynamic and I remembered ‘catching up’ if you will just by consistently pushing myself - so I would try to reassure my students, ‘you will get it, stick with it, I remember not being able to do one single push up, one single chaturanga dandasana!’
Then I began to wonder, what is it that stands out among the teachers I do like… I mean, beyond the fact that I am used to them or I know them or whatnot. Then it dawned on me. How much thought and effort and caring they put into their classes. Way more than I ever did mine. They research and practice on their own. They fearlessly admit to finding something new they were going to experiment with for us, the class, and made mistakes and learned and got kinks out and flowed with it and laughed it off with us. They were kind and their obvious purpose for being there was to learn and guide WITH us. You can't buy that in teacher training. It’s priceless.
People say - well they used to say - yoga is their service. Let’s face it, it’s their job! I don’t care if you're a monk, you still are clothed and fed by the monastery. This aspect of their job, the humility and compassion, you just cannot teach. I appreciate my favorite teachers because I know how much effort it takes for them to authentically ‘show up’, as they say, for us. Just their shining hearts and us. Should I hold this opinion in my mind about this teacher? Absolutely not. I have learned from it and I let it go.