Even the Best Leaders Fall Down


“You’ve gotta be kidding me,” I say to myself as I trip over a Venti iced water from Starbucks. The water gushes over three people’s yoga mats and towels. I quickly shimmy around everyone to go to get a towel that I’ve stashed at the back of the room for adjustments. Everything that could’ve gone wrong, has. At least that’s what was going through my mind last Saturday during my yoga class.

For those of you who don’t know, I teach yoga on the side. I have a regular Saturday morning gig at a hot power studio. Truth be told it’s a way that I can practice yoga in the “hot box” for free. I have a regular home practice, but can’t seem to get my yoga room up to 97 degrees without roasting my husband. So when offered free unlimited hot yoga classes as compensation for teaching them, I swooped in like an eagle on a chipmunk.

Preparations for Saturday’s class started like any other: I made a kick-ass playlist at 6 in the morning, drank a French press full of coffee and then headed to the studio. I roll in just as the previous class ends and I look outside to find people already lining up.

I have 15 people preregistered for my class, with more than 20 people already lining up to get checked in. I’m used to having full classes. I teach the last class of the morning on Saturday, so it’s not uncommon to have 20-25 sweaty bodies in the room.  I take a deep breath, open the door, and start checking people in.  Everything is going fine.  Then out of nowhere the teacher from the previous class comes up to me and takes it upon herself to start a paper list of people who want to check in. This isn’t helping, in fact it’s making it harder for me to tally up my class size because people are completely buzzing past me without getting check in. I let her take names because I don’t want to cause a scene in front of the students.  As class time approaches I motion for her to come over to me so I can see how many people she has on this list. She moseys over, I look at the list and I realize I am at capacity for class, 25 people. After entering all her people, all of whom she already let into the yoga studio, I am at a grand total of 33 anxious yogis. I take deep breath and take charge.

I close the front doors and head back to wrangle the room. I line everyone up side by side giving them only an inch between mats. I let them know that it’s gonna be a hot one and be prepared to have some friendly neighbor sweat on their mats.

I put them in child’s pose and then begin to tee up my yoga playlist. The speakers on my phone begin to play the music. I turn the sound down on my phone and make a joke about technology. They all laugh and I begin to guide them through their beginning flow.  I go over to the Bluetooth speaker to turn it on. I press the button, nothing. The Bluetooth speaker wasn’t charged. Now I begin to feel my heart race. I spent my morning creating an awesome playlist that this infernal speaker has just rendered useless. Worst of all, I have to teach a 75 minute yoga class without music. I’ve never taught a yoga class without music.

As I let that thought rattle around in my head, I trip over that cup of water.  I get my klutzy butt up, run back to the room, grab a towel, and hustle back to clean up the mess.  All of this happened while I was still guiding my students through their flow and I never missed a beat in my sequence.

How in the world did I do that? I was present, I was breathing, and even though I got handed some unexpected surprises, I’m a damn good yoga teacher who knows alignment inside and out, who knows her class, her job inside and out. This is what we tell our clients all the time here at FORTE: You got this! No matter what gets handed to you, you got this! This is what being able to think on your feet is about: owning your own stuff and being able to do what you do best, even though you just fell on your face in front of the class.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Privacy Policy | Terms of Use Copyright ©2017 FORTE. All rights reserved. 111 SW Harrison Street, #1B, Portland, OR 97201.

Free Stuff Rocks!

Rock Stars Have Presence. Do You?

Sign up for our newsletter and get our free Rock Star Presence Guide!