A new person walks into the shala to take class. Relates they had practiced ashtanga 15+ years ago and since then tried many other styles, but has not kept up their ashtanga practice. Pays me and then tells me not to pay any attention to them.
Big pause happening in my brain after that comment. Of course I am going to pay attention to you I think to myself. You are in my class and that is what I am trained to do. Especially with a new student, I will for sure be observing, not adjusting, but definitely observing and not in a judgmental way either.
Why do we come to a class? To be ignored? Not seen, to do our own thing even when the teacher is giving explicit directions? No, we come to be SEEN, to find a sense of belonging, to work together and to get over ourselves… even if in the beginning it is to stretch, to get a workout in, to get into size 6 jeans, to check out girls, cute guys, WHATEVER….we come, because our higher self has a deep yearning to see who we truly are. All the mind-talk and superficial stuff aside, we come to dig in, to take a good look at “the good, the bad, and the ugly”. If we stick with the practice long enough we will realize over time that there is just beauty and love behind all of the facades.
I believe in this case, the “don’t pay any attention to me” was shorthand for “I am here, deeply wanting to come back to this practice, but I don’t want to take your time away from those that have been practicing, and I don’t want to be criticized. I am fragile and vulnerable right now.”
NO WORRIES…I get it and I also got your back!