Putting the Team in teamDDPyoga.com

Note: This post has been completely overhauled. After rereading it, I decided the first draft completely missed the tone I wanted to strike. 

Doing projects and exercises as a team is good for you. It helps you learn how to work well with others. It teaches you important skills like diplomacy, communication, and just a soupçon of humility. It’s great. Or so I am told.

I am a scientist by trade. Science is an odd little field, mostly populated by partially-socialized egomaniacs. A lot of scientists are atheists, and my explanation for this is because they think they they are gods, it makes sense to eliminate the competition. These personality traits don’t lend themselves to enjoying collaborations. It took me so fricking long to get my PhD, in part, because I had a very hard time delegating work to undergraduates or other subordinates.

Recently, I was lucky to have a wonderful lesson in seeing that I-can-do-it-better-on-my-own isn’t always the answer when I decided to make a Sh*t Yoga Teachers Say-style YouTube clip. My inspiration was being reminded of the Sh*t Crunchy Mamas Say video that my husband said epitomized my parenting style (I am not that bad). I, reminiscing about yoga classes and non-DDP yoga DVDs I have done in the past, assumed someone would have made a similar video about the absurd and incomprehensible things yoga teachers say. Some extensive YouTubing later, and I realized that if I wanted such a video to exist – and one should – I’d have to make it myself.

I put out some feelers on the teamDDPyoga.com forums for yoga teacher quotes and to see if anyone was interested in playing students or teachers in the video. I got some good quotes, but in the absence of a costar, I was left to do it myself, or strong-arm my husband into being a very unwilling participant. Then, thankfully, it occurred to me to recruit a fellow-teamDDPyoga-er, Christina. Unlike my husband, she is a enthusiastic DDP Yoga practitioner, proficient at yoga, and familiar with making YouTube videos. We have only communicated via instant messaging, so I had no idea whether she was intelligent or witty (she is both), but as my initial vision of the clip didn’t require that of her, it didn’t really matter.

My original idea was that I would play the teacher, and she would be the student. The comedy in the piece would come from the ludicrously esoteric and pretentious things my character was saying, and Christina’s role was just to look confused after each statement. As I was asking a favour of her, I tried not to micromanage her too much*. I sent Christina my video, and she recorded her portion and sent it back to me to be edited together. I sat down in Starbucks to see what Christina had sent me and piece everything together. Had I known how hilarious her reaction shots would be, I would have done the editing at home, because on several occasions, I ended up laughing out loud like a crazy person, once while I had coffee in my mouth which made me thankful for the silicone keyboard cover I use**.

Christina and her husband came up with some hilarious shots, which went far and above the simple “looking confused” I had originally intended. They hit the perfect balance of being funny, without being slapstick or hamming it, which would have been easy to do. Their video was priceless, it took the comedy away from the dialogue of the “yoga teacher” and transposed it to the reaction of the “students”, and the resulting video was infinitely more funny that it would have been otherwise.

I know that without Christina, I never, ever would have come up with something as good as the finished product. I am so enlightened by the synergy of this project. With my appalling background in seeking out or appreciating collaborations, this was, for me, an amazing illustration of how wonderful teamwork can be. I came up with the idea, and did a pretty good job of editing, if I do say so myself, but Christina’s creativity and wit made the end product the very best (in my opinion) it could be. To borrow an old adage, our team was greater than the sum of its parts.

Without DDP Yoga or teamDDPyoga.com,  I never would have met Christina, and I never would have experienced the power of teamwork in such a fun and rewarding way. On top of weight loss, flexibility, strength and improved health, DDP Yoga has given me the gift of improving my personality and my relationships with others. BANG!

And without further ado, the fruits of some awesome teamwork:

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