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  • Writer's pictureMarie

An Unusual Teacher


No, I was not attacked by a woodpecker. Read on to see the relevance.

No, I was not attacked by a woodpecker. Read on to see the relevance.


Sometimes in yoga class when the teacher calls out the name of the next pose, there’s a flicker of uncertainty, dread, or panic in our faces because we have to transition from the current pose to a new one. We get flustered with the change in body positions: raising one leg here, reaching up the other hand there, turning the head this way or that. The newness of the yoga posture can be daunting, like entering a party full of strangers. But a well-planned Vinyasa flow class is designed to take us from one asana (posture) to the next—seamlessly and safely. That means there will always (ideally)  be an underlying action in the previous pose that will carry us into the next, so that instead of being alone in said party, if we look around the room enough, we’re bound to find someone we know.

This inspired me to share the theme of “finding the familiar in the unfamiliar” in my classes. Every time we would venture into a new pose, I would remind students to spot similar actions and efforts in the previous asana, so that they wouldn’t feel like they were doing something totally new.

So when I had to transport a 2.5-foot long broom and dust pan on a bike from our apartment to the yoga studio I co-own and operate, I told myself to find the familiar in the unfamiliar. Let me repeat. I transported a 2.5-foot broom and dust pan. On my just over 5-foot tall frame. On a bike.

I packed the two tall structures in my bag, strapped the bag on my shoulders, hopped on my bike, and off I went to the studio. “Find the familiar in the unfamiliar.” I had transported two heavy yoga mats in this same bag before, so I told myself the broom and dustpan were yoga mats. Only the yoga mats were not 2.5 feet long. And they did not clunk behind me and irritatingly tap the backside of my helmet every time I pedaled. The only way this situation could be familiar was if I had been consistently tapped on the head by a woodpecker. Which obviously…

Half way to the studio, I was sweating, breathless, and paranoid that I would pass under a low tree branch, get the poles stuck in the tree, fall off my bike, and break my back. And so I slowed down my breath and my bike pace, and thankfully got to the studio in one piece.

As I pulled the broom and dustpan out of my bag, I noticed something had come loose. I looked closely at the base of the handle and realized one could unscrew the poles from the broom bristles and the pan, collapsing them into easily transportable objects. All I had to do was take a closer look to find the solution to this challenging transportation process.

In the future, I’ll take as much time as I need to, to deconstruct the unfamiliar. Like realizing I had friends at a party only after I had left, my realization came a tad too late. But hey at least next time I’ll know that if I transport these cleaning aids elsewhere, I’ll know what to do. Maybe I’ll even take the bus.

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