Two-bit-Mala-Bead-Toting-Twinkie-Punk-Ass-Never-Heard-Of-Her-Wannabe-Yoga-Chick-Subs. ~ Jean Marie Hackett

Via on Sep 5, 2012

 From “Screw you” to “I am You.”

Several years ago I walked into a yoga studio I’d never been to before. No sooner had I crossed the threshold and landed in line to check in when I heard those three dreaded words.

“There’s a sub.”

Wtf? Did I overhear the karma yogi at the head of the line at the sign-in station correctly? Hells no. I was not there for a sub. I was there for the Yoga-Famous Teacher-With-A-Capital-T-And-Lots-Of-Press, not some Two-bit-Mala-Bead-Toting-Twinkie-Punk-Ass-Never-Heard-Of-Her-Wannabe-Yoga-Chick-Sub.

Dear karma yogi girl checking people in, don’t you know the pain I’ve been through, namely, that this is only the gazillionth class where I’ve gotten stuck with a Two-bit-Mala-Bead-Toting-Twinkie-Punk-Ass-Never-Heard-Of-Her-Wannabe-Yoga-Chick-Sub?

I was barely a week into my six-month long training program  (so yes, please cut me a little slack, as I had yet to get those yamas and niyamas down…and er, um, I’m still working on it).  My new teacher, Kelly Morris (definitely a Teacher with a capital T), had encouraged us to go off and try lots of teachers and styles.

Um, that sounds…awesome? After several classes with able teachers, who nevertheless reminded me of everything that did not float my boat yoga-wise, I fired up my Google. Ex-lawyer research skills engaged, I was on the hunt for Teachers.

Nina Savidi, from Athens – ‘Barceloneta’ beach

You know, the ones with press, yoga fame, names worth dropping, write-ups in major New York City publications, leaders of retreats and workshops, Wanderlust headliners, drowning in positive reviews, people with seductive websites full of crazy sexy yoga photos of themselves upside down in a leotard with one leg wrapped around a yogi-wise head. I was done with the Twinkies. I wanted the hot Teacher who could chant in Sanskrit and do a handstand into full wheel and had mad love on yelp, goddamn it.

Only I found that in early September, these super-hot yogis  seemed to be replaced by a crop of Two-bit-Mala-Bead-Toting-Twinkie-Punk-Ass-Never-Heard-Of-Her-Wannabe-Yoga-Chick-Subs. And now, despite my extensive planning-I mean, hadn’t I dutifully checked, and checked and checked the website with obsessive-compulsive ferocity to ensure that there would be no mother-f**ing sub for this class?

So that I would finally be able to take class with the lovely and oft-recommended yoga-famous Teacher with a capital T and lots of press, I mean, karma yogi girl, can’t you yoga people update your websites and schedules and give us yogis some f**ing notice? (Ahem, again, please refer to my previous comment about how new I was to concepts such as the yamas and niyamas. Ahem).

Don’t you know, innocent, sweet looking karma yogi girl, that had I known about this tragic turn of events, I could have made other plans as in, I could have not come to class and, I don’t know, I could have gone off to serve at a local soup kitchen or save the whales or spend time on Facebook “liking” lots of good causes instead, or, dare I say, I could have gotten my yoga on somewhere else where my valuable lululemon-clad ass would feel loved? Don’t you know how f**ing valuable my time is? (Excuse me while I adjust my mala beads. There.)

Shit. I’m already at the head of the line. I wanted to release my wrath upon the karma yogi girl. Actually, no. Really, I just wanted to f**ing high-tail it out of there. But, I was raised a certain way, which meant that I would join the class, sitting on my blanket in easy pose, a serene yogi smile on my lips while inside my head I continued my crazy, profanity-laden rant against all the Two-bit-Mala-Bead-Toting-Twinkie-Punk-Ass-Never-Heard-Of-Her-Wannabe-Yoga-Chick-Subs on this planet. I was pissed, but you would never know it.

Man, I was getting so good at this yoga thing.

Then Two-bit-Mala-Bead-Toting-Twinkie-Punk-Ass-Never-Heard-Of-Her-Wannabe-Yoga-Chick-Sub began to speak. This is where everything changed.

I wish I remembered her words exactly, but I’m grateful that I at least remember the effect. It was as if she saw behind my fake yogi smile and knew the profanity-laden rant going on behind the scenes. She acknowledged something of my disappointment. She made me feel…understood.

In that moment, everything transformed. Two-bit-Mala-Bead-Toting-Twinkie-Punk-Ass-Never-Heard-Of-Her-Wannabe-Yoga-Chick-Sub became my Teacher and I, her Student.

I remember so much about this amazing class. The music, the late afternoon light streaming though the window, the girl with the blond pony-tail on my right, the way she assisted me with my headstand. It was transformative.

Starting with that class, over the next six months I learned that when I devalue subs I am, in fact, devaluing teachers everywhere. I am also devaluing myself.

I mean, did it ever occur to me back then that maybe, just maybe, Teacher with a capital T had a last minute family emergency, got stuck on the subway, or just needed a well-deserved break and that the seemingly Twinkie sub was a hero saving the day? Or that the yoga-famous Teacher had specifically and lovingly groomed this sub as her heir-apparent? That had I walked off and left, or closed my ears to this sub, I would have been disrespecting Teacher with a capital T, whom I so desperately wanted to study with?

And I would be devaluing teachers everywhere and myself, not just because I was on my way to becoming a new yoga teacher, but because “yogi” or not, we all get to enjoy the position of “sub” in some fashion. Sooner or later in this life, you’ve got to pinch-hit for the A-lister, handle that call when the boss is in surgery, take care of that baby, Dad, while Mommy takes a nap. Sooner or later, you’ve got to take off the training wheels and become It. I like to believe we can.

Now I know that when I honor the sub, I honor the Teacher, and I honor Teachers everywhere, including the Teacher inside of me.

Before closing, I’d just like to point out the obvious ulterior motive and benefit (for me) of this little tale encouraging you to honor subs. I’m a yoga teacher. I recently moved to a new town. That’s right, I forgot to introduce myself. Hi! I’m your Two-bit-Mala-Bead-Toting-Twinkie-Punk-Ass-Never-Heard-Of-Her-Wannabe-Yoga-Chick-Sub.

Or…. Teacher with a capital T. You decide.

Jean Marie Hackett is a yoga teacher who likes to write. She lives in Washington D.C., where she recently relocated with her husband, a toddler and two dogs after two beautiful years teaching yoga in Boulder, Colorado, and a number of years practicing law in New York and Boston before that. The beautiful sub is this story is the anything-but-Twinkie Ms. Kate Dulcich. Jean Marie finally did make it to class with the Teacher with a capital T, the lovely Lesley Desaulniers at Prema Yoga in Brooklyn. Over the months that followed, both Kelly Morris and Lesley would school her in those yamas and niyamas, and yes, she’s still working on them. Learn more about Jean Marie at her website, www.jeanmarieyoga.com.

~

Editor: Olga Feingold

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16 Responses to “Two-bit-Mala-Bead-Toting-Twinkie-Punk-Ass-Never-Heard-Of-Her-Wannabe-Yoga-Chick-Subs. ~ Jean Marie Hackett”

  1. cathy says:

    In the paragraph beginning with " you know.. the word name's should not have an apostrophe.
    Good topic and deeply truthful fo rmany. I've stood in that line and had my thoughts.. next up.. you or I is the sub!!!!

  2. Jean Marie says:

    Not sure how that apostrophe got there. Looks like a little good old human error, something I am quite adept at. thanks for the comments Cathy and good luck being next up!

  3. Hayley Hobson hayley says:

    good one Jean-Marie

  4. nunh says:

    I'm glad someone else does yoga and curses – joking (sort of) – nice article!

  5. Jean Marie says:

    thanks Hayley and nunh- sometimes I think about editing out the curses but then I remember that to do that seems more fake than just using them, since they're what I hear in my head sometimes. I'm working on it though- I have a toddler to think about now.

  6. I was very fortunate, as an ongoing student and brand new teacher. I graduated from my TT on Thursday night, and was 'hired' on the spot by my teacher/studio owner.

    In our little hamlet, she was the ROCKSTAR, and I had many opportunities to feel your pain on subs, because she was also running a business, a mom of three and had a life going on… thus, she subbed out a lot.

    Hired at 10pm on Thursday, she asked me to sub her Saturday morning, 9am class – what we would all call THE CLASS. How am I going to say no?

    I show up, I'm a little bit on edge – I know what it's going to be like. So, I wait, they all pack in, mat to mat, and I walk in say "Yup, I'm not Andrea and that sucks – so, close your eyes because your yoga has already started" and taught my class.

    Never tried to be her, but just owned the moment. It's been great since.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Jean Marie says:

      Thank you for sharing! And congrats for stepping into the seat of teacher!

      • Thank you for reading my clumsy words and not deciding I was some kind of freak!! I enjoyed your take on it, it's a conversation ongoing between students and teachers.

        eventually, we're supposed to become obsolete, and I retain the right to stop, move or die when needed! so attach to the teachings, not the teacher!!

        be well, thanks and praise!

  7. woopeeeee says:

    Yow! In your face!

  8. woopeeeee says:

    I am going to add, if that had happened when I was in class, I would have felt insulted and repelled. As an older practitioner, I prefer to talk to my teachers before class to let them know about a knee situation.. which when people do nto know about, teachers often try to adjust.. etc, thus putting us both in a hurtful situation. The coming in after we were settled in then cut off that interaction. The in your face-ness of the remark sounded to me like"F U". Your comment "taught MY class" sounds like it was your class. To me, it was a class on a schedule and it truly was everyone's class.

    • Sorry you read it that way – please understand i didn't want to lay down every bit of the context and bore y'all, but I see how that would have helped.

      First, this was a smaller studio, with a very established group of students and teachers. I dare say I knew 95% of the students I practiced with prior to teaching, by name. And, I knew their practices and they knew me. They also knew which students were in TT and who would likely come to teach. It was very familial and supportive and understandably different than the majority of studio yoga experiences.

      So, I didn't insult or repel folks. If I didn't know you or your practice, of course I would have spoken to you directly!! I just happened to know each person in there, and had practiced with probably 2/3rd in the prior days. I can easily see how you'd read what I wrote as cavalier, please understand I'm anything but.

      As for it being in your face – maybe it was. But, it was the reality, the experience is one I had had and understood, so if you will – "I taught from my practice!". It was very well received, and I was quickly one of the subs folks looked for.

      As for 'my' class… it's language, it's tricky. How about you don't suppose I'm some big jackass who thinks he's all that and made up yoga one day to the delight of the sheeple who followed him… please try to read it as it was offered by 'my' teacher – thanks and praise – she always instructed us that her goal was never for us to teach 'her yoga' or 'her class' or 'like she would' but rather challenge ourselves to teach our authenticity.

      You'll pardon the brutishness of language, and my attempt at initial brevity. Perhaps in this light, you can find I mean no harm, and I serve the students that present to yoga.

      Be well.

  9. woopeeeee says:

    It is language… however language reveals thoughts, barriers, mindsets… you could easily have siad, "I taught the class." or " I taught class with the new poses and cues I had just learned in our training."

    I am not supposing one way or another.. I was given information to read.. your words. You chose them. A deeper look inside may still reveal to you that by HIDING until everyone was settles you manipulated the entry and beginning. Though youmay sish to sugarcoat it in we all know one another or now people request me, still in that moment you HID and you blurted out an IN YOUR FACE comment. These were your actions.

    • Agreed, I could've done a lot of things differently or used other words. I'm suspecting that at this point, you've just simply 'nailed' me and I'm everything you suspect me to be. It doesn't feel like the me I've been living with for 47 years, but what would I know…

      I offered authentic answers to your concerns… when someone extends the olive branch, don't take it and then turn it around and thrust the cut end in his or her eye!! Jeeps, take a few breaths!

      First of all of the directions of the Eight Limbs – Ahimsa – "Don't be mean!"!! That's where I start, so let me just finish by saying…

      thank you, I love you, I'm sorry, please forgive me…

  10. Cathy Gee says:

    I repeat, I am not supposing one way or another.There was no reason for an olive branch. I wrote my impression and you responded. I wrote that language shapes the mind.. and you may reflect on that. You seem intent to make this a battle in which I have harmed you for stating my thoughts and reactions.I am sorry you think so. If I had intended on harm which I did not.. but if I would have… I might have called you dangerously imprudent, unconscious, immature and potentially dangerous to your students.

    Again, you wrote your actions.. no reader could know anything but what you wrote.. until you gave more details. I still feel the hiding and in your face comment are manipulative; not the very best way to deal with the situation. That is my feeling typed.. not sticking something in your eye or nose .. Your pain that another has a different take is your OWN pain and projection.

    Let's turn it around.. It is a great idea as a substitute yoga teacher to enter the room after everyone is settled on thei rmats and face them with a quick comment that you are the sub, too bad, close your eyes and begin my class. it sets a tone of let's go. that is what needs to happen- let's do yoga.

  11. coco says:

    In the studio where I am on a monthly contract, keeps classes affordable for me.. there is a major change: 2 stellar advanced practitioners.. sweet in soul and mind and capable of teaching with a wide spread of modificatiions and advanced moves are gone for a period of time. The latest sub is new, young, makes mistakes, is rather,"my class" attitude and during the hour invested.. we don't do much.. you know long savasanas, long mountain pose, lots of 'watch me-s".. It's not that hard to do warrior 3 and slowly lower one hand to the ground.. but we were supposed to watch her.

    I understand that she is new anfdwhatever.. shy, learning, using her little yogafit weekend training to fill our weekend classes, but I am stymied. I said one thing to the real teacher who was going to tutor her. know regulars are there less. I see them walking the shore, as do I. the classes have fewer people. I am hoping to outlast it, but not sure. Ideas?

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