Sunday, March 02, 2008


What are the ethics regarding teaching when ill?

If an instructor is trying to follow the Yamas and Niyamas, shouldn't they abide by ahimsa (non-harming) and try not to infect their students with whatever it is they have?

And shouldn't they refrain from harming themselves by teaching when they feel sick?

Yet I've had studio owners tell me to teach anyway, because I hadn't given 24 hours notice. I was told that if I stayed home, they could dock me $40.

Yesterday I fell ill rather quickly in the afternoon; by 5PM I knew I shouldn't teach my three Sunday classes. With a great sense of guilt and trepidation, I started making calls.

Two classes got subbed out rather quicky (one, thankfully, was at a health club where they find your subs for you).

I was not so lucky with the third.

I called all 13 people on the list - no small thing when you can barely speak.

Three people actually picked up their phones and said no.

I left a message for the others, asking them to call back either way. I told them they could call as late as they wanted.

Two sent texts: can't do it.

I phoned the group exercise coordinator and left a voicemail telling her which teachers could not do it. I suggested I'd do it if no one else could.

An hour later my fever hit 101 and I started coughing up chunky pink sputnum.

The coughing was so deep and painful that I began to womit.

I was so dizzy I could barely make it to the toilet.

Later, when I'd righted myself, I called the group ex coordinator and told her that there was no way I could teach in the morning.

I never heard back from her.

Or from the other six yoga teachers on the sub list.

All night I had nightmares about teaching the class.

Yet this morning my sense of dharma(duty) kicked in.

First I fortified myself with chai and ibuprofen and honey loquat.

Honey Loquat is a traditional Chinese concoction that you drink like cough syrup. It provides instant relief the moment it hits the throat. It is by far the most effective remedy I've ever encountered for throat / lung pain. (I heard about it from another yoga teacher, David Wallin; you can find it online and at health food stores).

I also took a bath. Saucha (cleanliness) and all that.

And boy, was I dirty!

Then I went to teach the class.

Luckily I found a parking space right in front of the club.

I took the elevator up, to conserve my flagging energy.

Ten people came to class.

I told them I was under the weather and would be giving verbal rather than tactile adjustments, since I didn't want to infect them if I did indeed have something.

Of course there was a new person who needed me to demonstrate every single vinyasa and every single pose - just the thing when you should be home in bed.

Somehow I got through the class.

Yet an hour into it I could barely speak, no matter how much water I drank. The throat was so messed up that the eyes began to tear like I was crying.

The students got a very long sit and an even longer savasana.

I promised them more energy the next time I teach.

I still haven't heard from the group ex person, which is really out of character.

Could it be that she's sick, too?

1 comment:

  1. I hope you will feel well soon.

    It was very good not to teach. :)

    Greetings from Germany