A couple of years ago, I was a total yoga slut. I would take class from any teacher who taught at my go-to studio. Soon enough, there was no teacher left on the roster who I hadn’t yet experienced. I was proud of this knowledge. I felt worldly in that I possessed knowledge of who lived up to the hype and who didn’t.
Chances are if you take from well-known teachers, you are used to their absences as they teach workshops afar or abroad. This leads me to the dreaded subject of subs. There’s nothing worse than having a stressful day, expecting that you’ll restore some bliss at your usual class, only to find out – either in advance online or at the moment you enter the studio – that a sub is teaching!
You have a few options:
a) Don’t do yoga. Your teacher’s hiatus is your hiatus.
b) Google the hell out of the sub to see if you want to take their class. Check their website, credentials, and photos while you’re at it.
c) Take class from the sub.
d) (If you didn’t know in advance) Run out of the studio before the sub sees you – as fast as you can if you happen to know him or her.
The answer is alway C, right? Unfortunately, as we become experienced yogis, we sometimes become jaded yogis. It’s ironic how inflexible we become. We have our usual teachers because we know that they consistently deliver, and we cast subs off as wild cards. But regardless of whether a sub is good or bad, they always have something unique to offer: their point-of-view. It’s important to experience different perspectives in yoga so that we don’t turn into clones of our teachers. A sub might offer a different cue or access point that your usual teacher would not be able to offer.
The teacher should never be more important than the practice. As much as we love our teachers, it’s important not to get attached to them. It’s only natural to have a preference for certain teachers, but they shouldn’t be the catalyst for your practice. Maintaining a non-attached practice is important because God-forbid if your teacher moves away, you wouldn’t be left high and dry.
So, when it comes to who you’ll practice with, be promiscuous. You’ll be all the wiser for it.
-The Humble Warrior