July 29, 2015

When I Got to the Studio to Teach Yoga This Morning, This Letter From an Anonymous Student Was Waiting for Me. 


I still don’t know who wrote It.

It was signed only, “your friend.”

It floored me. It made it all worth it.

All the fear I had to move through to stand in front of a group of strangers in the beginning and act like I had anything of value to say.

All the dough I spent on three teacher trainings, countless workshops and piles of books on yoga, anatomy, meditation, Hindu mythology, Eastern philosophies, Qi Gong, and Chinese medicine.

All the believing in the transformational power of the practice, and trying to be believable.

All the missteps and stupid mistakes, including oversleeping when I was supposed to teach an 8:30am class (twice). Oops.

Did I mention all the fear? Fear of people, fear of being judged, fear of doing everything wrong. Fear of no one showing up to my class. Fear of 50 people showing up. Fear of appearing like a fraud, like I’m just a Hollywood chick who got sick of bartending and working on sets doing costume design and woke one day and decided, “I’m just gonna like, you know, teach yoga now.”

All the hours I spent alone at the Bodhi Tree Bookstore on Melrose, and all the time secretly chanting and going to Buddhist meetings.

All the years of feeling invisible myself in class.

All the moments of self-doubt and self-sabotage.

One thing’s for sure: I am free. And so are you.

Thank for reminding me.

Dearest Annie, 

Thank you for being here and there for me. I am the silent one in your classes. Mostly I’ve felt invisible in classes until I met you. I love the way you brought yourself to each class…whole and unashamed. I couldn’t imagine anyone trying to contain your daring spirit. You teach from all four corners of the room. Sometimes you sit right between our mats, smiling, delighted to be near us. You are not afraid. Thank you for teaching me to be kind, and for being so free., so liberated. 

Your Friend.


“Found a letter with ‘Read Me’ written on it at San Francisco International Airport on an empty chair.”



Author: Anne Clendening

Editor: Renée Picard

Image: via the author 

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

Pat Jul 29, 2015 4:24pm

Oh, that's wonderful! How inspiring it is to see this article. As teachers, we give of ourselves, coming to the mat with just about everything you can imagine in experience, life lived, emotions… And when the students see YOU and not just "the teacher in front"… That's just beyond words amazing.

Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.

Anne Clendening

Anne Clendening was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She is a yoga teacher and author of Bent: How Yoga Saved My Ass, published January, 2018. You can read her darker thoughts on her blog Dirty Blonde Ink. She is currently living in L.A. with her husband and their boxer dog Sabina.