I’ve had a yoga practice for a very long time…before yoga was a “thing,” before young and old throughout every corner of the city toted yoga mats in cute little bags; before Lululemon had even sketched a pair of designer yoga pants!
I learned a lot through my practice: about balance–whether I was standing on one leg in tree pose or trying to balance a personal life alongside a busy professional life; about perspective–there’s nothing like standing on your head to literally turn your world upside down. And sometimes when life throws a curve ball, it’s nice to be able to look at a situation from different perspectives. I learned about being still and how something as seemingly simple as breathing can ease pain, quiet the mind and restore one to sanity!
For a variety of reasons, though, I stepped away from the yoga world several years ago. It has only been in the last year or two that I’ve been moved to return to my practice and I wanted to share a recent yoga experience.
Back in August a friend introduced me to an outdoor class held each Sunday in Grand Army Plaza. If you’re not familiar with this area of Brooklyn, imagine five major roads all converging into a roundabout complete with bike lanes, pedestrians on their way to Prospect Park and cars, trucks, ambulances, fire trucks–you get the picture. And yes, class was RIGHT in the middle of the traffic circle!
The teacher was lovely and the day could not have been more pleasant: bright blue sky, a soft breeze and traffic–lots and lots of traffic! I was a little concerned when it finally came time to spread my mat and begin the class: How would I ever hear her give instruction? How am I going to quiet my mind with the roar of the trucks and the horns blaring? My mind started to spin as we began our first round of sun salutations.
About 30 minutes into the class, I reached for the bottle of water I’d set alongside my mat. After a quick pause to take a drink, I glanced at my watch and realized I had become completely oblivious of the noise around me! I had immersed myself in the practice and forgotten I’d been surrounded by the hubbub of traffic. That is yoga–the union of body and mind transported me to a state of mindfulness that completely wiped out the external distractions. A single class reminded me of my appreciation of the practice and rekindled my passion for staying connected to the power that comes from simply staying present with the current moment.
As the days get cooler, the class will move inside and I’m sure the class will be just as powerful…I just wonder if I’ll miss the trafffic!