Friday, September 20, 2019


The other day a fellow yoga teacher looking for coverage during her maternity leave asked if I was interested in picking up more classes. Though grateful for her offer, I turned it down. I recently realized that I’m right at the perfect number of classes to avoid reaching empathy fatigue.

I want to be there for my yoga students. When a student tells me she has stage IV cancer, I want to be there for it. When another asks me why his wrists are bothering him in the poses where they really shouldn’t be bothering him, I want to be there for it. I want to be there when a student asks how he can stop hating Warrior 3. I want my best insides to be available when a student starts crying about his recently passed mom or another one tears up about her divorce. I’ve learned that yoga students expect their teachers to hear them and respond. And I want to. Many times—many, many—I have been on the receiving end of that kind of yoga student/teacher relationship. It left an enduring impact. Physically, time-wise, and mentally, I could teach more classes, but if I took on more right now my ability to give a damn about my students in the way I want to would suffer.

A couple weeks ago one of my regular students brought her husband to hot class. I’m always a smidge fretful when I get a new student in those hot, hot, sweaty, hot, humid, hot classes. They’re hard; “extreme” might even be a proper descriptor. It can happen that the heat and mirror-fog scares neophytes off their sweaty mats. So a couple days later, I asked my student if her husband and I were still friends, if I’d see him back at class. She assured me I would, “He said he could tell that you really cared.”

I do! I really do care! I care about my students’ experience in my class. I care about how their other yoga classes go. I care about the actives they do. Because I believe so strongly that what goes down on our mats can serve to upgrade our many other hours, I care about the things that happen to them outside the studio walls that end up influencing their time on their mats.

However, if I teach too many classes, I don’t have the energy for the empathy I need in order to be the yoga teacher I try so hard to be.

Hold my Diet Dr. Pepper. 
Is it, like, the fall air or a post-summer slowness that leads to verging-on-irritatingly-self-indulgent introspection? Or do I just have a little more time on my hands of late?

I moved in with Jason while we wait for our house to be complete. (When will that be, Megan? Don’t ask—makes me tetchy.) That gifted me two hours less of drive time every day. It’s fewer audiobooks—which: bummer—but it’s more time for doing and thinking things. That’s nice, but it’s nicest being with Jason more. The more of him I get, the more I want.

But this here’s huntin’ season, Dead Reader. That means something to me now. For obvious reasons I eschew the term “hunting widow,” but dude, fauna starts rutting or whatever the hell it’s called, and these animal murderers are straight gonzo. I was never going to end up with some casual, shoot-from-the-truck rifle hunter. No, no—evidently lazy doesn’t turn me on. Instead the man I love disappears into the Canadian bush for two weeks to emerge with nearly-gone toenails, distended ankles, alarmingly bruised thighs, and a massive dead mountain goat. Mercifully, my pride on his behalf serves to significantly offset the nuisance of missing his handsome face and pleasing bod.

For his next feat Jason heads to some Inuit territory with his trusty bow and broadheads to end the life of an unsuspecting musk ox. This go ‘round however, I’ll be gone too. While he carves up a prehistoric cow, I’m going to go carve up human beings in effort to get a better handle on what’s inside my students. That’s not a cryptic figure of speech. I’m making for Yoga Medicine’s cadaver dissection lab. It’s the latest step in my efforts to get the best grip on human anatomy so I can be better at teaching yoga. It sounds extreme, right? It feels extreme. Somehow though, that exactly fits.


*WinterOne said...

I wish I could take your classes! (Not the hot ones though). Loved the update. I'm from Saskatchewan originally, and my parents are hunters. We joke that I was adopted - I moved to downtown Toronto and would be much more yoga-leaning than prehistoric cow-carving-leaning. It's a challenge to find balance between these two worlds but I'm happy to see that you seem to have found it! Lots of love from this lurking stranger. - A

Sasha said...

I love you, Megan! I love your classes and your dedication. I love your sense of humor and your ability to push us beyond what we thought is possible. ����‍♀️��