Once upon a time, okay, actually in August 2017, I started a 200-hour yoga teacher training program. It was an amazing experience, creating a safe and sweet sense of community, deepening my understanding of yoga, providing me with the opportunity to volunteer teach at a women’s residential drug treatment center… and perhaps most importantly, the four-day weekend trainings were a rich opportunity for me to become deeply centered and to experience a sense of emotional spaciousness that’s been rare for me.
Ever since then, this studio has become my yoga home. I’ve felt so happy to know a growing circle of people there and to feel there is a place where people are happy to see me. Consulting from home can get a little lonely, so I’ve needed that.
Over the past five months, I have worked about 8-10 hours a week doing admin work for the studio. This has been things like on-boarding new teachers, creating and modifying the schedule, working with presenters who want to hold workshops and special series, things like that. I’ve done it mostly out of my commitment to the studio and my gratitude to my teacher, who is quite extraordinary in her ability to create enjoyable, mindful, enriching yoga experiences.
Except even yoga gurus are human beings. I had noticed before that she had an edge to her, outside of the classroom. She over-schedules herself and is disorganized, so there are constant last minute emergencies, and a lot of my either or ten hours a week are eaten up putting out fires. She also forgets to ask me for something and then there is a big panic when it’s almost time for something to happen, and no one has done the preparatory or advertising work. This is not really my job, but there’s no one to do it, so I’ve often helped out with that as well.
Lately she’s especially tired and, I don’t know, grumpy. And suddenly, I’ve become the reason for everything that is disorganized and wrong in the studio. Small example: last weekend, on top of my regular work, my husband and I went into the studio for several hours, where we cleaned and repaired things, just to be nice. Graphite in the front lock that sticks all the time. Fix the vacuum. Stop the toilet from leaking. Vacuum the yoga therapy room. Straighten up the yoga props. Repair a broken lamp. Small things.
So the day before yesterday I get a message from my teacher listing TEN things I did wrong in that cleaning effort. I also get scolded for not having set up the citywide publicity for events in February and March (things I was never asked to do). My preparations for a new employee are all wrong too and, and she cancels much of what I had prepared ten minutes before my meeting with the new employee.
Worst of all, I find she has been complaining to others about me.
I’m hurt and disappointed and demoralized, at multiple levels. The criticisms are unfair. The lack of appreciation stings. The mismatch between her reality and mine is eerily reminiscent of my first marriage (where I always did everything wrong). That’s a very confusing headspace for me. My thoughts race around, hitting a whole range of issues:
I am doing this as a FAVOR. She is paying me only a sixth of what I earn when I consult in my field. It’s not like I need this work. And I don’t need the abuse.
Earlier, I went to her twice for yoga therapy, which felt personal and intimate. I can’t believe I told this person about some of the things I am struggling with. She is not a safe person. I regret my openness with her.
Wait, maybe she is right. Maybe I am not doing a good job. I never finish everything she sends my way. I think it’s because I don’t have time, but maybe I’m just incompetent.
Ugh, the old doubting myself stuff again.
I saw some warning signs early on, but I dismissed them. I have room to grow in terms of trusting my own intuition.
Other people have had issues like this with her. It’s not only me.
Even if this behavior stops and doesn’t repeat itself, I cannot attend any future trainings with her. I will always wonder if she is sitting there judging me negatively, and that will keep me from allowing myself to let go and have those deeply immersive experiences.
I have to find a new place to practice.
I was so excited; I paid months ago to go on a yoga retreat she is leading in Mexico. I wonder if I can get a refund.
Damn, Mexico in March would have been awesome!
I have lost my teacher. I have lost my new community. I feel my loneliness growing bigger overnight.
There must be some important lesson I can learn from this.