Saturday, August 25, 2007

An exercise in humility

I have not been to a formal audition in almost a decade. I've been separated from that world of being watched and judged for so long that I barely remember what it was like. I've been searching for opportunities to teach yoga and do some writing. I know I am in a competitive market - New York is chock full of incredibly talented yoga instructors and writers. There was an ad on Craigslist for yoga instructors for a new studio on the East side. The audition was Saturday afternoon for two hours. No other details were provided.

I imagined walking in to a room full of 6 foot tall, gorgeous blonds who look like they just stepped off the cover of a magazine, and me. They would all know sanskrit names for every pose, they would have the equivalent to PhDs in Physiology, and ten years of teaching experience in top-notch studios. But really, what did I have to lose? The best that could happen is I'd get a sub gig for a new studio, and the worst is that I'd get a free two hour class and pick up a few things to add to my own teaching and practice. Plus, maybe I'd get some material for this blog. I was right, sort of.

The room was full of people, though they all looked, well, like me. Normal. They knew some sanskrit names for poses, though I knew more than I had been giving myself credit for. We only had to teach for 5 - 10 minutes teach and then got to be students for the rest of the time. And every person was talented and taught me something. New poses, new ways of describing poses I knew, and some tips on the benefits of different poses. These teachers were giving and warm and friendly, unlike the runway model competition I was expecting. Many were new teachers, like me.

I thought I might have some pithy piece by the end of the afternoon, some examples of raw competition and another chance to be self-deprecating. I don't have any of that today. I got a lesson in humility but not the kind I was expecting. Just when you think you know New York, and New Yorkers, they surprise you. They make you realize that no matter how long you live here among them, they are always different than you will imagine them to be. I learned from the ones I met today that humility, like yoga, is based on being flexible.

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