Three Reasons Why You Should Take Yoga Classes From A Sub

Clad in neon cross trainers, gripping a medicine ball like a weapon, she stared me down as I entered the studio and dimmed the lights. “Who are you? And where’s our teacher?”

“I’m the substitute,” I said. To add more salt to the wound of her routine being broken, I explained that I would be teaching Vinyasa Yoga instead of “Core Fusion.” She said, “I just can’t do Zen at this time,” with her jaw clenched.

I get it. It doesn’t matter what you call it. Someone who has meticulously planned their week to include an important class may have to reschedule a work project, walk the dog, or pick up another gallon of almond milk from the store.

The sub’s arrival causes mass heartbreak. A sub entering a room full of disappointed yogis can be like a sloppy Chaturanga, and it can be a problem for the student or teacher.

When the email, text, or hysterical voice message “help!” arrives, I will step into the sub. I have always subbed since the beginning of my career as a teacher.

I Get the Flu, Too

Substituting for a sick yoga instructor sends good karma. I am all for helping a sidelined Yogi temporarily swap the hardwood floor for soft sofas and a pot of lemon-infused tea until she is able to get back on her own feet.

Attending a substitute’s class also shows your regular teacher that you are committed to maintaining your practice even when she is absent.

My teaching is always fresh.

While I enjoy working with the same group of students each week, it is thrilling (and sometimes terrifying) to rely on my skills and experience to quickly adjust and change whatever plans I had to accommodate the students of the original teacher.

When a few high school footballers showed up to a class that I was subscribing to with achy eyes and aching joints, I decided to take a chance and place them in the Child’s Pose. It was not part of the original plan, but it was exactly what they needed.

Opportunity Knocks

You can open studio doors by substituting for other teachers. This is especially true if you are a new teacher. Although no one wants to associate the word “competition” with yoga, if you are a new teacher, you will be in good company.

It can be difficult to get a teaching slot with the growing number of graduates who have 200 hours and a limited number of slots. Substitute enough classes, and the students will begin to ask for you. Studio owners will notice you for your willingness to teach at the last minute. Before you know it, you’ve got a class scheduled!

Next time you see an extra on the schedule, roll out your mat and go through the front door. Your regular teacher and the sub will thank you for it.

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