Backstage Pass: #Yoga Lessons I Learned on the Road

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I spent the weekend out of town attending a concert.  On the way home, a girlfriend sent me a text and asked me if I had a good time.  Of course I had a good time, I replied.

“Did you get to meet the artist / band?” she asked.

“I did.  I spent over an hour backstage after the show.”  

“OOOOOOOF COURSE YOU DID!  How do you always manage to get backstage?”

“It’s my Super Power.”

What can I say?  It sort of is my super power.  I go to a ton of concerts.  I love them.  I really don’t think there are many things that are more invigorating, life affirming, exhilarating, and awakening than live music. There is just something about seeing people in their element, doing what they love, and getting caught up in the energy of the crowd.  Hrmmm.  Kind of why I like teaching yoga, now that I think about it (okay, I thought about it before just now, hence the blog post.)  I am not sure how or why, but I always manage to get myself right up to the stage and I very frequently (although not always,) get invited backstage or, at the very least, get to meet the band.  Hanging with the band is a really cool experience.  It’s true, some artists are jackasses, but the majority of them are really very cool people.  Get that?  They’re people. You don’t realize that until you get a chance to talk to them and you don’t get a chance to talk to them by dorking out (and it’s really difficult to not dork out because, I mean my goodness, you just paid money to see these people and they are amazing and you love them and …. yeah,) so it’s hard to make it all add up.  It takes practice and it takes patience and it takes being willing to let none of it happen at all.  Hrmmmm… sound like anything else?  Yep, sounds just like yoga.

In my life as a rebel yogini, I have seen the same lessons cross paths with both of my passions.  There are things you can do in both scenarios to help you out and make sure you have a great experience.

  • Expect nothing but what you signed up for.  Letting go of expectations is really difficult.  We have these fantasies in mind about what we want to have happen, about the glorious apex of the night where it all comes together and suddenly the band is wearing your tshirt or the yoga teacher is using you as a model for the rest of the class, but you have to be able to let go of all of that and just take it as it comes.  You bought a ticket to a concert / paid a fee for a yoga class and you are entitled to certain things as a result: the experience of listening to music performed live / a safely taught yoga class.  Nothing more, nothing less.  If you don’t get that, you can be upset, but you certainly cannot get upset if you don’t get more.
  • Let people know you’re coming.  Almost every band in the free world has a website, a Facebook page, and / or a Twitter account.  While not all of them actually are in charge of said accounts, there are many who do all their own Tweeting (Tom Petty is GREAT at this.  Many will reply directly to you, too.  Awesome, huh?)  If you tweet to them from the venue you’re attending or right before you get there and let them know you’ll be singing along at the top of your lungs, it lets them know that there is at least one friendly face in the crowd. Most artists really appreciate their fans and like to hear that you’re excited about seeing them.  They might even seek you out to meet you after the show. The same goes for yoga teachers.  We like to know who is coming to our classes ahead of time.  NOT that it’s a requirement, but when it happens, it’s a little bonus.  “Oh, I get to see my friend, Tia, today!”  If you’re new to this class or this teacher, let us know that, too.  It helps to know that someone new is coming.  It gives us teachers a chance to prepare for a beginner and to seek you out before or after and ask what your needs might be, how we can help you, what you are looking for.  We care about our students – and that includes you.
  • Stick around.  After a show, an artist is not going to just rush right out and shake hands.  They need a drink.  They need to pee (they’re human, remember?)  They need to debrief.  They have roadies and band members and a slew of other people grabbing mics and cords and ear pieces and guitars and all of that off of them.  If you leave the exact second the encore is over, you’ll probably miss out on your chance to meet some amazing people that will make you a fan for life.  It’s similar with yoga.  A yoga teacher has a lot going on during class, but after class, too.  We have our own mats to care for, we need to make sure the payments for the class is all matched up, we have folks talking to us.  Sometimes it takes us a couple of minutes to get to you, but please please please stick around.  Wait for us.  We LOVE talking to you.  We want to know what you thought of the class, what you liked and didn’t like.  We want to know what you want more of, how we can make it a better experience for you, etc.  It took me forever to meet Polly because I kept jetting right out the door after her classes.  She wanted to talk to me, but I was gone.  Eventually I stuck around and the rest is Yoga Sol history.
  • Not everything that looks the same is the same.  We learn this lesson all over the place.  Sometimes the lesson is easy and exciting and happy to learn: “I don’t like raisin cookies. Oh, they’re not raisin cookies but they are chocolate chip cookies?  Delight!  Nom nom nom!”  Occasionally the lesson is exciting and thrilling and somewhat terrifying to learn: “Oh this is not bourbon I’ve been drinking here backstage?  It’s 12 year old Scotch instead?  Okay then, see you next week!” (not that I would have any experience with that one. Nope.  :rolls eyes:) And sometimes the lesson is learned in difficult, confusing, and dangerous ways. “Oh you mean a yoga teacher with only a weekend training is not as skilled or as knowledgable as a teacher with a qualified, minimum of 200 hour certification behind her from a reputable teaching school?  Good to know, I’ll find a new teacher after I return from my knee replacement surgery.”    Do a little research.  Read your labels.  Know what you’re getting into before you’re face down on the floor or in physical therapy.
  • Enjoy the show.  If you’re all wrapped up wondering what is going to happen after the show, you’re going to miss the show itself and that’s what you came to see, remember?  Sing along, dance, delight in the music. The same goes for yoga.  Don’t get so excited or wrapped up looking at the clock to see if it’s almost time for Savasana that you forget the bliss that is the asana practice itself!  Enjoy the breath, enjoy the bend, enjoy the stretch, enjoy the focus and direction of the practice.  If you can live fully in the moment, what happens after really isn’t all that important after all.

Where have you found your yoga lessons in unlikely places?  What brings it all together for you?  What would you add to this list?  It’s all a big live show, this thing called life.  We have artists and audiences and we play both parts.  Don’t miss out.  Get out there, buy a ticket, put on your super power, and let the good times roll!

Namaste

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