3.5
September 5, 2012

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

 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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