Engaging My Inner Smile

I have a love-hate relationship with yoga. I love how my body feels when it’s over, but I hate all the work I have to go through first in order to feel that way. If I’m going to put in all that effort, I want the experience to be everything it’s supposed to be. And that means I don’t want to be disturbed during class.

Yoga is a meditative affair as well as a physical one. It engages the entire self, mind and body. The episode is incomplete if one of those two things is not engaged. During our session, our yoga teacher constantly brings us back to our inner self to “check in” with how we are feeling. She stresses that we need to be in the here and now and drive all other thoughts away.

Our class starts at 10:45 a.m. sharp. By 10:55 we are deeply in the zone. We have cleared our minds of distracting thoughts and are absorbed in our practice–and then this woman disturbs us by coming in late. Every time.

We have a large class, and I always get there early to claim my spot in the last row, nearest the door. That spot is like my pew in church. It has my name on it. Last week this woman came in late as usual and couldn’t find an empty spot. She had the gall to squeeze next to me where there clearly was no room. I felt suffocated. Claustrophobic.

The next time she came, she tried to do the same thing.

“You can’t put your mat there,” I said. “It’s blocking the door.”

She looked at me with disdain, as if I could possibly tell her what to do.

“Fire code,” I added.

“Oh!” she said sheepishly and moved.

Today at 11:00, after we had done a strenuous warm-up, our teacher told us to close our eyes and engage our inner smiles. As my insides were smiling, I heard the door handle rattle. Uh, oh. The door was locked. Someone must have accidentally pushed the button on the doorknob when they closed the door at the start of class. I assure you it wasn’t me.

A few seconds went by and the door rattled again. No, I was not mistaken. Someone was definitely trying to get in. The perpetually latecomer was seeking entrance. I peeked at my compadres, and they were deeply engaged in their inner smiles. A few more seconds went by, and the person rattled the doorknob again. Since I was closest to the door, I should have let that person in. My inner smile was turning into a frown.

I was about to get up and unlock the door–I really was!–but the rattling finally stopped. Problem solved.

My inner smile was matched by my outer one.

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About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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19 Responses to Engaging My Inner Smile

  1. I go to a lot of yoga. But I hate getting distracted, hate latecomers, and don’t like overcrowded rooms. Hard to find the balance.. pun intended!

  2. Ooo, latecomers always make my inner smile turn upside down. Sounds like this one got a little ‘karma’ for her tardiness. And I’m not ashamed to say that makes me have an inner smile. 😉 People who think the world revolves around them really do get my goat.

    • Coming East says:

      My father was a stickler for being on time, and I learned that lesson well. I am always early to everything.

      • Pamela Johnson says:

        You’re just like me! I’m also early to everything. I used to get to dentist appointments an hour early. However, when people started looking at me as if I’d lost my “inner time clock,” I changed to a half-hour early; Now I usually wait in the car until about 5 minutes before the appointment.

        Our family was always late for church and everything else. I hated that so much as a child, I vowed never to be like them!

  3. Lynn says:

    Lateness is one of my biggest pet peeves. I would have been secretly busting a gut right beside you!

  4. dorannrule says:

    Ha! Your latecomer was probably blaming you for locking the door. Ha! Again. i love your inner smile matching your outer one and I will look forward to learning if the late comer has learned her lesson. 🙂 🙂

  5. judithhb says:

    Isn’t it amazing how some people really do believe the world revolves around them. I wonder how ur late comer gets on at the airport to find the boardidng gate closed.

  6. Amy says:

    It wasn’t you, but you were closest to the door… I like the inner smile ending. 🙂
    I do yoga in the early morning, it helps my body wake up.

  7. Dianna says:

    Hmmmm…. I would have thought your instructor would have handled this after the first time it happened.

  8. I get irked when latecomers squeeze their way into a too-tight-spot near me as well. Some studios have a no late entry policy which may seem harsh, but makes sense when you consider the disruption they can cause. Glad you were able to get your inner + outer smiles going. 🙂

    • Coming East says:

      I take yoga at the YMCA, and they say they can’t exclude anyone for being late. We’ve put a sign on the door that says, “Please do not enter. Class in session.” But that latecomer doesn’t seem to care.

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