Wha – what?
Yes! I stand by that statement – do yoga while you head to yoga! No, not asanas.
Have you ever been late to your favorite yoga class? Have you ever blamed all the people around you for getting in your way? I have. Today while hurrying to a yoga class I looked like a total lunatic. I was prepared to shoulder check anyone who got in my way; I was fully ready to take down a slow-moving grandma if she was in the wrong place at the wrong time; I felt sure that I would have no qualms with yelling at a baby if it was toddling in my pathway. Does any of this (but slightly less insane) sound familiar to you? Well if the answer is no (and you haven’t done something at least similar, but less horrifying) then you’re a better yogi than I am (no I’ve never knocked over a grandma, yes I’ve given children dirty looks).
My name is Heather and today on the way to yoga I wanted to beat someone in the head with my yoga mat to get them the hell out of my way. I was an ass hole and didn’t really eat that much today (my fault), I was running late (my fault) and I hadn’t practiced in way too long (again, my fault). But somehow the lady walking in front of me was most assuredly to blame for my time crunch.
If you find yourself asking questions like: ‘Why doesn’t this person pick up the pace?’ or ‘Sweet mother of pearl what is this dude doing sitting still at a green light?’ or ‘Get out of my way with your stroller and seven kids you baby-making fool!’ you (and I) need to chill the F out.
What makes the philosophy of walking to yoga any different from the philosophy of practicing yoga? Nothing. Do you think the great yogi masters ran people over on their way to throw down some mad bomb asanas under banyan trees somewhere? I’d say no.
As anyone who has been to one decent yoga class should know, your yoga practice needs to extend off your mat. I don’t mean you should bust a Tree Pose in the grocery line (though I wouldn’t think it was odd), I mean that you should practice the teachings of yoga off your mat.
Say… on your way to yoga. Treat people kindly and honor them – even if their walking pace is painstakingly slower than yours. Your yoga practice isn’t something you’re entitled to. It is something you create. Every day in your life (not just in your favorite hot yoga studio). It isn’t just about sweating, it’s about how you show up in your life.
If you are walking around giving every man, woman, elderly person and baby a dirty look because they’re getting in your way then you’re not honoring them. You’re also not practicing ahimsa (non-harming) and you’re totally neglecting the concepts of Santosa (contentment) and Tapas (austerity or commitment to your practice).
And at the very least you’re being a real ironic ass hat.
Remember that as students of yoga (at whatever level), hell as human beings we are responsible for how we live and who we are – all the time. As yogis we are able to take this ancient thing that we are lucky enough to have in our lives and share it with others – not use it as an excuse to get irate with people of all ages on the streets of New York.
Don’t be a hypocrite – practice yoga before yoga… and after… and always.
Glad I had a little wake up call on my way to the studio. And sorry to anyone who ran into me before I checked myself.