|| BREATHE || Today was one of those days where absolutely nothing was going according to my plans and everything seemed to be going wrong. It is those days that I remind myself to breathe, to make changes, to adapt, to look for the lessons that I am suppose to learn, and to recognize that everything is actually going right.
Rather than sleeping in on weekends, I wake up early to take yoga. It feels good to move, to stretch, to meditate, and to breathe. Post yoga I typically go to my local coffee shop sometimes for up to 3hrs, where I read, write, organize my schedule, make plans, and work on new projects. Then I feel like I have plenty of time during the day to do other things like go to brunch, run errands, cook etc.
On Sunday, I woke up and headed to morning yoga only to be turned away because the class was filled to capacity. I was bummed that I was missing one of my favorite classes and that I would have to change my plans for the day. However, I told myself to breathe and decided that instead of being upset, that I would just look forward to taking an afternoon class instead. So, I went back home, had breakfast, FaceTimed with a friend, showered, and started to organize my schedule and tackle my “To Do” list.
The afternoon came and once again I made my way to class. This time around, the class was full but everyone was able to participate, including a little girl that looked to be about 8yrs old. Five minutes into the class, the little girl stood still looking at her mom, clearly not understanding or enjoying the practice. Her mom decided to take her out, along with another family member. They walked across people’s mats, got their bags, took turns using the bathroom, and stood in the back of the studio talking. After a while the teacher asked them if they needed help with anything, as their exit was disruptive and seemed to be taking quite some time. They said they were fine and so they left, allowing the room to be quiet, except for the voice of the teacher, and the sounds of our breath.
Just as I was enjoying the peaceful vibe of the room, a phone started to ring. Of all the ringtones available, I’m pretty sure this one was the most obnoxious and set at the highest volume possible. It’s that one you pick when you know you have to wake up early and there’s no way you’ll sleep through it. The teacher asked for the phone to be turned off but no one moved to do so. A few minutes later, the phone started to ring again. This time the teacher took the bag, put it in a back closet, and shut the door. Finally, we had quiet once again, until another phone began to ring.
‘This is a $h!t show!’ I thought. Here I am coming to yoga for peace, and it seems like there’s nothing but chaos. The guy in front of me almost kicked me in my face in a few times in a downdog split, as he clearly lacked coordination and spatial awareness. Also, the content of the class was very basic as if it was an “Intro to Yoga” class, and I really wanted to flow. That’s when I thought, ‘I guess I’ll just breathe.’
When the class was finished, I thanked my teacher and left feeling a bit unsatisfied. I looked online to see if I could find another class and saw one listed at a studio that I had never been to before. I booked it and quickly went to the train to commute. I stood on the platform waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the train to come. Weekend train service can sometimes be delayed so I hoped that the train would come in time for me to make it to class. Finally, it did and I got on and sat down. A couple stops later, a big guy came on and said, “Excuse me,” as he squeezed himself in between myself and another passenger. ‘Is this dude seriously tryna fit his big a$$ into a small seat not caring that he’s making other people uncomfortable?!” I thought. In addition, he smelled like a mixture of heavy cologne, cigarettes, and funk. I told myself to breathe.
As I got off the train, I ran up the steps trying to make it to my class on time. Just then, it started to rain heavily. I fumbled, digging into my bag looking for my umbrella, dodging puddles and crowded sidewalks, and rushing to the studio. I checked in at the front desk, threw my bag and clothes in a locker, set up my mat in the classroom, and began to flow. The class was wonderful and felt so good. It was just what I had wanted and even more for the morning class that didn’t happen, for the afternoon class that was basic, for the delayed train, and for the uncomfortable commute.
It was so nice to discover a new studio and teacher, to meet and have locker room conversations with new people, and even to run into an old friend from a gym that I use to go to.
Although my day did not go according to my plans, everything worked out in a good way as it often does. Life happens to all of us and things will not always go the way we plan. Though there are many lessons to take away from this story, I am choosing to focus on the breath. Regardless of the outcome of a situation, be it a good or not so satisfying one, I choose to be calm and I choose to breathe. If ever you have a day where it seems as though everything is going wrong, know that it is going right and as one of my teachers says, “All you have to do is breathe.”
Photo by Simon McDermott-Johnson
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