The Dreaded Substitute

The Dreaded Substitute

The Dreaded Substitute

Summer time is upon us and our teachers are about to take their summer vacations.  We were having a funny conversation in the studio the other day about stopping to see if your teacher’s car was there before proceeding to class.  Luckily, these students are pretty awesome and they continue to class either way… But it did remind me of this article that we sent out in our April newsletter. It seemed a timely reminder.  We hope you enjoy…

written by Caroline McIntyre

It’s inevitable – you’ve found your favorite yoga teacher – the one whose sweetness or discipline or choice of asanas you savor. Then one day, just as you have adjusted your life schedule to include that class – bam, right before you is: the Substitute.

You immediately know class is going to be too hard, or too easy or you won’t understand the new instructions. And the after-class-yoga-high you are used to? – well you’re sure it just won’t be the same without “your” teacher. Take a breath and remember this is your class; your yoga; your time within. It’s not about your teacher. It’s not even about their teachings. It’s about you.

A yoga class is much like a symphony orchestra. The music is already written – the asanas were devised thousands of years ago. The Players all bring their own instruments – some have Stradivariuses and some “cigar boxes.” The Conductor just chooses the music and sets the tempo and dynamics. Sometimes we work hard to learn a passage. Sometimes we take it slow or fast or loud or soft. Those are the decisions the conductor makes. It’s the players that make the music.

If with a different teacher:

  • an asana seems too easy, it’s an opportunity to go more deeply into an asana and experience it’s essence. 
  • an asana is too difficult, it’s an opportunity to get out of your ego and listen to your body. 
  • an asana is unfamiliar, it’s an opportunity to explore and succeed or fail without consequence.

Ultimately the only voice to listen to in a yoga class is your own. So sometimes the perfect time to experience this is with: the Substitute.


Elizabeth Delaney