I'm well into my second decade of teaching yoga and yet this month I experienced something in class that's never happened before.
A full forty minutes into instructing an advanced class at a studio I absolutely love, a student got my attention mid-flow and requested I turn off the music.
I asked if she couldn't hear my instructions and she said that she could--she just didn't want the music.
I told her that all the classes at this studio had music and she said, "Oh, I know. I just don't like YOUR music."
She followed this with:
"I came here to 'get my Zen on'
and the songs you're playing just aren't helping."
In a rare moment of maturity, rather than just pointing out the exits, I told her that I would lower the music for now and that it would be changing very soon since our standing pose sequence was almost complete, but that more importantly, I really couldn't DJ an entire class to please just one student.
This seemed to placate her and afterwards she thanked me effusively several times for "an absolutely amazing class." I guess that, in the end, she did manage to "get her Zen on" after all.
I will freely admit that it did throw me to have someone stop me in the middle of a dynamic flow to tell me she didn't like the song that was playing and by extension, my entire taste in music. (For those who are curious, after lots of moody Max Richter, the offending song was Grace Jone's La Vie En Rose
, something I've shared in class dozens of times during sun salutes.)
Grace Jones "La Vie En Rose" 1977
I will also admit that a part of me admired this student's unabashed, mega-celebrity level of confidence, one that empowered her to request that everything in her environment be rearranged to fit her exact specifications.
By far the biggest take-away, however, was that she reinforced the entire point of yoga, indeed of every spiritual practice:
It's not about getting the perfect set of conditions
for us to be happy (or "get our Zen on.")
It's about seeking and find that state in and of itself,
no matter what the conditions.
There's never going to be that yoga class where every song, every pose, every instruction, even the lighting and the people in the locker room, perfectly suit all your needs.
Rather than trying to change them, you've simply got to "get your Zen on" despite the imperfect conditions. It's really the only way.
Almost every time I have a first consult with potential Creative Clients
, I always hear "I'd love to work with you but ______ is in the way right now."
Of course it is.
There's always going to be some contrast around our goals, something that makes life slightly challenging.
Things do need to line up in a reasonable way, but there's never any completely obstacle-free moment to launch anything new or exciting.
Obstacles are really only there if you care to stop.
Ultimately, it's completely up to us to "get our Zen on" no matter what.
Namaste for Now,
P.S. This weekend, I'm teaching a YOGA + WINE
workshop at Exhale Mind Body Spa in NYC with Jerusha Frost, Sommelier at Bar Boulud.
And I've opened up a few CREATIVE CONSULTS
slots as well along with two new Staycation One Day Transformation Retreats
Details soon but from May 10-17, 2015 (7 nights), Jerusha and I are sharing a Yoga + Wine Retreat in Santorini, Greece at the fabulous El Greco