I’ve been a busy soul of late. My teachers are conducting a teacher training in Beijing and I have been subbing most of their classes. My normal schedule of teaching three classes per week has now mushroomed to eight. That wouldn’t be much if all I did was teach yoga. But in between teaching I have a full time job and caregiving duties.
On my sub days, I teach a 7 am class, go to appointments and hospitals all day, then return to the studio for a 5:15 pm and 6:45 pm class. I don’t get out until 9:00 pm.
As yoga teachers, we are sometimes called to summon great strength and fortitude. To cheerfully face a class of students after a full day of work is difficult. It is not something that is taught in teacher training. It is something that must be cultivated through practice.
I’m finding the hardest part isn’t so much teaching the classes, it’s maintaining my performance at my full time job which requires me to provide mental health services for needy people in the community.
One of my clients is homeless and stays in a bathroom for shelter. I met this client to fill out forms to get help from community resources. As I was leaving the appointment, the client asked me “do you have anything to eat?” I told the client to wait and scrambled to the nearest convenience store and bought a few Spam musubi-s (think sushi, except with Spam) which is a ubiquitous staple of Hawai’i. The client appeared grateful when I returned with the food. I am finding that these moments give me the strength to carry on this crazy schedule.
Another interesting part of my practice now is I am using mantra-s to help give me energy, offer me protection, and give thanks for my blessings. As I am driving from appointment to appointment and class to class, I recite specific mantra-s. If I know I will be in a potentially dangerous situation, like an inpatient psychiatric hospital setting, I will recite a Durga mantra. For my long drives to the office, I will recite a Ganesh mantra or a Vishnu mantra. If I am feeling tired, I will chant a Hanuman mantra. All give me a special feeling depending what I need. And of course to express my devotion to the divine who has allowed this all to be possible.