Last week I had the pleasure of teaching yoga in Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic. Escaping the cold to teach in 80-degree weather with a cool ocean breeze sounds like heaven, right? Not exactly. When we checked into the hotel, we were greeted by a hotel representative who persuaded us into purchasing an upgrade package which included an ocean-view suite with full amenities. But when he opened the door to our “upgraded room”, I immediately snapped, “This is not what we paid for”, I yelled. He looked me in the eyes and told me there would be no upgraded rooms available until the morning. I was furious. But realizing there wasn’t much choice but to deal with it in the morning, I decided to accept the room, and start focusing on my teaching schedule. I had an appointment to meet with Antonio, the entertainment manager, in the hotel lobby. I waited for over 30 minutes before asking hotel personnel where I might find him. Each person gave me a different answer, and eventually I gave up.
The next morning, at 7:45AM, I went back to the lobby and was advised that he’s off until Thursday. Then, a representative said to come back at 11:15AM to speak with the assistant manager. In short, I was given the complete run-around! When I finally got to speak with the assistant manager, he advised me that we only paid for VIP service but there would be an additional charge for the room. My heart rate elevated. My chest tightened up and my breath became shallow. I demanded to speak with a manager, who also advised me there is no room available now and to come back at 5:00PM. Again, the run-around.
I lost it. Consumed with anger and frustration, I stormed out and headed to the beach. I looked at the crystal clear sky with a magnificent hue of blue. Then, I closed my eyes and listened to the waves wash upon the shore. I breathed in the fresh air, and a voice inside me said, “practice what you preach!”
I took another deep breath, and upon my exhale, I let go of the anger and stress. After about 20 minutes of complete relaxation, I heard the voice again. “Practice what you preach.”
I returned to the hotel with a completely new attitude. And by 6:30PM, our upgraded room was made available. I later met with the entertainment assistant manager, confirmed my teaching schedule, and enjoyed one of the most relaxing evenings in a long time.
I learned a lot from this experience—that even as a wellness instructor, I too can become consumed by self-manufactured stress and anxiety. I am just as easily susceptible as anyone in losing my cool when expectations aren’t met. Yes, my Punta Cana drama taught me once again that the mind of no expectation is the happy mind, and that sometimes the best thing about a Yoga teaching excursion is less about the ocean suite and more about practicing what you preach.