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.