Not this morning.
With all of their looks of disappointment and concern, I started to get really nervous. Honestly, I always feel a little nervous before class, but in a good way, like stage fright, get the adrenaline pumping way. But, this was different. It was a "there's no way I can live up to these people's expectations" kind of way. It felt bad.
I could feel myself almost resenting the students for making me feel this way. Why can't they practice non-attachment. Obviously, this teacher trusts me enough to fill in for her, why couldn't they just open their hearts and minds to me?!
I tried to calm down teaching samavritti pranayama (equal breath breathing) to start, but as I led into the surya namaskars, I was still shaky and even stumbled through them! The sun salutations?! The thing that I actually teach more than any other sequence! This isn't happening.
As I finally started to listen to my own words and let go of what I was holding onto, the class managed to smooth out. After class, most of the students were smiling and gracious as they gathered their things and left.
But there was one student who was just as tense and unhappy looking as in the beginning. Sure, I'm human and my ego was hurt that I couldn't transform her into the giant puddle of mellow mush to my (or her) satisfaction, but the more I thought about it, I realized that that was her hang up, not mine. I tried. I did what I could. Perhaps someday she will learn the practice of aparigraha a.k.a. non-attachment and let go if her favorite teacher isn't at class that morning.
Perhaps someday I will learn the practice of aparigraha, and not let my ego get in the way of my teaching or my feelings towards my students whether they like me or not.
It was also a lesson in aparigraha from attaching to what I think other's perceptions are of me. Whether it is real or not.
Besides, aren't we all supposed to be one, interconnected...obviously what I didn't like in their attitude was something I didn't like in myself? BUT, that is a lesson for another day.
All that I can say is, be kind to your substitutes. They are just trying to help out the teacher you adore so much. And try out all different teachers and styles of classes, you may find more that you love.