I have a yoga class scheduled for my one free weekday morning, and yet I always find myself rushing out the door at the last minute with my coat unbuttoned and my shoelaces untied in order to get there on time. This is obviously antithetical to the yoga experience, and precisely why I need to take yoga.
But because it is my one free day, I tend to linger over my coffee a bit longer in the morning. Then I might phone my parents in Florida, dash off an overdue thank-you note or break down some Costco boxes for recycling.
I provide these details because just last week I was introduced to a person at a school function who said she was excited to meet me because she considered me "a kind of a celebrity."
Through her eyes, I now see that I lead a most exhilarating life: marinating chicken parts, organizing car pools, sometimes mixing a bag of decaf coffee with a bag of regular to create my special blend, "Kind of A Celebrity Brew."
But my point is, the practice of yoga has a way of helping kind-of-celebrities like me temporarily halt the busy business of our lives. A yoga class massages your internal organs and focuses your thinking so that when you return home, you do not immediately check your e-mail, but instead sit at your kitchen counter and ponder the lone ant carrying a grain of sugar to the sink. And then, if you feel so moved, you might listen to the hum of the refrigerator and make an "om" sound that harmonizes.
I hate to miss a weekly dose of this unique perspective, but sometimes I have to go out of town or attend a client meeting so that I can afford to register for another semester of yoga. Fortunately, my yoga center allows its students to make up classes.
This semester I've missed quite a few classes, and because it is the holiday season, I've truly missed yoga's lasting, relaxing effects. Last week, I pulled up the schedule online and, as usual, raced off to the studio for a makeup class. When I arrived, the receptionist told me I had mistakenly pulled up the wrong schedule, and that the beginning yoga class I had hoped to make up was not in session. She told me there was a class one level up that had just started, and why didn't I try that one? She was very positive, peaceful and encouraging, so I thought I would give it a go.
Well, there's a big difference between Yoga 1 and Yoga 2. For starters, you need to bring your own abdominal muscles for Yoga 2.
The class was small, which was good because I could easily see the instructor and follow along, but bad because the instructor could easily see how poorly I was following along. This caused her to frequent my mat, adjusting my position so I could feel how people who had brought their abdominal muscles typically hold the poses. Often, she would give the class instructions and interject, "Janet, how are you doing?" or "Janet, are you feeling OK?" and this was very nice because it reassured me that I was not going to meet an untimely demise in the half-moon pose.
After class, I did feel extremely relaxed, mostly because the class was over. I returned home and sat at my kitchen counter and watched another ant and hummed along with my refrigerator a while until it became clear to me that I might not be able to make up all of my missed classes before the end of the year, and that that is just fine.
I learned this from the ant, who has yet to attempt to haul a 5-pound bag of sugar to the sink.