I had a funny conversation with a Sacred Sounds Yoga teacher training graduate the other day. I was telling her about how I recently was heading to a yoga class at Sacred Sounds, and was dealing with some personal drama, which resulted in my having a very heated conversation just outside the door of the studio. I was minutes away from walking into class, but I was being the worst version of myself to someone on the phone. She too talked about being on the train with her mat, and feeling like she couldn’t get upset with people who were invading her space aggressively because she was holding her mat. I realized I probably shouldn’t be standing right in front of a yoga studio if I was being the girl having a fight on the street, because how would that look? I walked down the block, finished the conversation, and went into class.
The reputation of a yogi is an interesting one. From the outside, we’re expected to be calm and peaceful. The people on the street who are constantly seeing the beauty all around us. And I’m guilty of it too, caught off guard by people in yoga clothes who are giving the barista attitude about their order. Can’t we all just focus on our breath for a minute and realize we’re all okay? But the answer is, we are human. We get caught up in our emotions and sometimes find it difficult to take the high road. The good news, though, is that I’m hard pressed to find a teacher that has never asked me to be aware of my breath. It’s essential to yoga. But what if our awareness could extend beyond our breath, beyond our bodies, and reach a place of full awareness in and out of class? What if the person you were on the four corners of the mat is the same person you are with the madness of New York all around you?
Deanna Sidoti, at teacher at Sacred Sounds Yoga, says that yoga is called a practice because you have to do it over and over again. It may sound like common sense, but the first time she said this in class I had an “AHA” moment. It’s not often that we get difficult poses on the first try, the same way we have to practice patience when we’re off the mat. You have to practice that patience over and over, and soon you’ll see the effects on your daily life.
I truly believe I’m a different person before and after yoga class. And working the front desk at Sacred Sounds Yoga, I get to see it happen to other students too. It’s amazing to witness, when people walk out a class with a peace in their eyes and a strength in their walk. I think if I had taken that difficult phone call after class, I would have handled the situation differently. I wouldn’t have been saying things that would make be embarrassed to be standing outside a yoga studio. The effects of yoga make me a better person to take on the day, and that’s just the beginning of it. The reputation of a yogi may be simplified to a peaceful one, but we know that it is so much more. The physical and mental strength, the community, and the growth that we gain from yoga make us much more than just a relaxed personality. So can we, as a yoga community, practice what we practice? Can we be the people we are after class, after yoga has worked its magic, can we be those people when we’re stressed, tired, moody? We’re human, but we are also humans who have gifted ourselves with a beautiful practice. I’m working on it, and I’m not there yet, but if I continue to work on it over and over, I know I’ll get better at being my best self over time.