As a yoga teacher, I have seen the looks of disappointment, contempt and even outrage that cross many people's faces when they realize their favorite teacher is not there. For many people, these emotions run so deep that they miss out on the awesome benefits that having a sub can provide for them.
Benefits of a Sub
Forces you to be present-when you get used to a teacher, you start to practice on auto pilot. It is the same thing that happens when you pull up in your drive way and you don't even remember driving home. You have done it so many times that you check out. It is the same for your yoga class. All yoga teachers, even those who teach classes where the pose order changes, have a signature style and sequencing blueprint that they stick to.
If you really think about it, you could easily list the basic elements and order of your favorite yoga classes. This familiarity that we like also puts us into auto pilot and can sometimes take us out of presence. When you don't pay attention to your body, breath, emotions, and thoughts while practicing, your opportunity for injury goes up and your opportunity for growth goes down. You miss danger signals from your body and learning opportunities from the universe.
You would think that I wouldn't say this because I practice Ashtanga. However, I see the same thing happen to Ashtanga students who are practicing a sequence that has gotten a bit too easy for them. They no longer pay attention and than it is time to add another pose or make their current poses a little more challenging. Check out this post from a fellow yoga teacher, Peanut Butter Runner, that talks about not being present during practice.
Forces your body to move differently- Our bodies plateau when we do the same old movements the same why each time. A sub, especially if they were trained differently then your current teacher, will approach poses in a way that your body is not used to and will awaken muscles you didn't know you had.
Exposes You to Different Poses
Unique insights-There have been many poses that I struggled with that became assessable to me because a teacher explained it, assisted me, or demonstrated it in a different way.
Gives You options-Discovering another awesome teacher to learn from gives you more options for classes to attend
Opportunity to Put Yoga in Action- this is an opportunity for you to practice all that lofty stuff your teacher talks about like compassion, love, contentment, acceptance, letting go, & being with your emotions .
If you think of any more benefits, leave a comment