Monthly Archives: April 2019

The Last Class

This past Saturday I taught my last class at Unity Church of Hawaii after 16 years. Long time students have moved away or gotten on to other things. Low attendance has been making it difficult to break even, despite rent being a nominal $25 per hour.  Towards the end, I wound up paying for most of the class out of my pocket. That was okay as I am gainfully employed.

The real culprit was the closing of a major highway that joined the two sides of the island. The Pali Highway succumbed to a landslide after heavy rains in February. During the week it can be contra flowed, but on weekends it is closed, making my commute to class twice as long.

That being said, my last four students were ones I have had for years. It felt like I was moving away from family. They come from very different walks of life. One woman works for the city and is an anime aficionado who takes care of her mother with dementia. Another is a retired woman who makes elegant Hawaiian clothing, and is the mother of a guitar player in a major rock band. One is an energy consultant who makes cities greener via clean energy policies. And lastly, one is an 85-year-old ophthalmologist who graduated from Harvard Medical School and is the surfing champion in his age division.

There were many more students over the years. Each taught me so much more than I could possibly teach them. I have extended them to join my other classes during the weekday. All have busy schedules. It seems so much of the modern 200 hour yoga trainings these days are designed to pack classes densely as soon as people can click a spot in the next class. But I doubt they train their students for this, letting go.

Now what will I do on Saturday mornings? Sleep in? Or perhaps take the opportunity to further my own yoga practice…

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Diploma Dog

After thirteen weeks, our puppy obedience class is over. The class started off with nine dogs and finished with six. Through the course our dogs learned how to heel (walk beside you without tugging the leash), sit, lie down, stay, stand, and recall. They also learned how to socialize with other dogs.

In last week’s final test we were nervous. All that training, all those hours of teaching Kinako how to sit and stay, came to the final moment. I was standing waiting for the judge to start the exam, and Kinako immediately grabbed her leash in her mouth and started dragging me through the course. I could sense the points being docked as she would not let go of the leash and growled at me for resisting her. But what I really heard was the chuckling of the other dog owners. It must have been a funny sight.

The next portion of the test went no better. All of the dog candidates lined up and were asked to sit for two minutes. If your dog got up, you had to leave the ring. After five seconds, Kinako was the first one up! The walk of shame ensued as I led her out. The other dog’s owners were kind and had a sense of humor, stating that Kinako led me through a nice course and that I performed well at her command.

This week was the graduation ceremony. After all that mayhem she still got the pass. In a strange way it reminded me of getting my Junior Intermediate I certification. The important lesson is not to quit, no matter how badly you think you did. We are often our worst critics. As for Kinako, she was just happy to do puppy things with her fellow puppy friends.

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