As any substitute teacher knows, we are not always welcomed with open arms. Students of all ages get comfortable with the teaching style and personality of their instructor, and don't always enjoy change. It is summer in Phoenix, which means we are all looking to run away from the heat. Vacation time equals more substitute yoga teachers (after all, we deserve a break too). In the fitness world, yoga students are viewed by many to be the least flexible when it comes to change. Odd, since yoga itself is about flexibility of body and mind! Maybe it is the nature of yoga, a body-mind exercise, that endears yoga students to their teachers. Yoga is also a philosophy, not just physical exercise. I remember every one of my past yoga instructors, as they each opened my spiritual path in some way. I don't, on the other hand, recall many of my past cardio instructors.
As a yoga student myself, even I am disappointed when my favorite teacher is not in the studio. Immediately my defenses come up and inwardly feel the resistance to change bubbling to the surface. My negative self-talk tries to bully its way to my consciousness and convince me to turn around and go home. Aware of this, I push this negativity aside and purposely choose to find one new positive learning experience from that substitute teacher. I usually walk out with at least two great new tidbits, whether it's different ways of teaching a specific pose, learning a new pose, better verbiage or feeling a new breathing technique. It may not be the class I was expecting, but I still came away with something learned.
We always learn something from a new experience, it is what we choose to learn that makes up our character.