Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

Yoga Under Duress

By Healingyoga

After what turned out to be a lovely hurricane/tropical storm-enforced retreat, I am back online (yeah -- happy dance time). Yep, in case you hadn't heard, there was a little storm that worked its way up the East Coast -- yes, I'm being very tongue in cheek here. The whole experience was quite interesting and filled with yoga-inspired moments, lots of learning, and tons o' gratitude. A few days without power gives a gal plenty of time to think...

I'll start with a dirty little secret of mine. I know that there are a lot of full disclosure/wanting to be authentic folks out there who would never consider blogging about nitty gritty personal details to be TMI. Call me old-fashioned, but I still think that some things are meant to be private (discretion is the better part of valor after all). That said, I don't believe in hiding who you are, so on to my dirty secret:

I am the anti-yogi in the car. I drive way too fast, I get impatient easily, and yes, I've been known to mumble profanities (sorry, mom!) while driving. <SIGH>. This is one area of my life that hasn't been magically transformed by yoga. 

I'd be lying if I didn't say that I sometimes wonder (quite sheepishly) if when I'm speeding off that fellow drivers don't look at my My Other Car is a Yoga Mat license plate holder and shake their heads thinking, "That's not very yoga-like! Shouldn't she be all Zened out rather than zipping around like a maniac?!?!" 

Gee, experience yoga paranoia much? Seriously, though -- admitting that you're a yoga teacher and/or yoga practitioner can put you a bit under the microscope. I think it would be fair to say that people are quick to assume that a "yoga person" is always calm, never loses his/her temper, is endlessly compassionate, etc. Don't I wish? 

Yes, I've actually had someone say to me -- "Shouldn't you be a little more _____________ (insert your favorite yoga assumption here) since you're a yoga teacher?" Yes, I've actually heard a variation of this question posed to me by someone with whom I was in an intimate relationship with. I guess I missed the memo that informs yoga teachers/practitioners that they are supposed to be perfect/inhuman.

It can be tough to be a perfect human in an imperfect world. Which leads me back to the hurricane. Unlike my driving, much of my overall attitude has been readjusted thanks to a long-standing yoga practice. I actually didn't mind the hurricane (okay, I could have done without the death and destruction and suffering of others). Yes, my power went out. Yes, I didn't have internet access (it's funny to me how people get seriously panicked/upset/freaked out when they don't have access to the internet). Yes, I had to throw away all the food in the fridge. Yes, I had to take cold showers. Blah, blah, blah.

Maybe it's my pie in the sky nature or whatever, but I actually liked the break from the Internet, the indoor camping (which is what it felt like without power), the chance to clean and restock the fridge, the keeping of farmer's hours, etc. Frankly, I think I had it pretty easy. Other than the yard looking like a holy mess, I didn't have any downed trees or powerlines. I didn't need to have power for a medical reason (my heart goes out to all of those folks who do). I got my power back pretty quickly (two days isn't all that bad). Maybe it's easy for me to stay on the bright side of things.

Or maybe it is my yoga roots.  I notice that I'm less apt to complain nowadays. I've come to accept that while I don't have control over circumstances, I can control my relationship to them. I've come to get a bit more comfortable with the invevitability of change and I'm learning to roll with it rather than rocking it. 

I am far, far, far (I could add many more fars into this sentence) from perfect (there is still the driving issue after all) and frankly, I wouldn't want to be. Stil,l I delight in seeing how far I've come when something like a natural disaster crops up. Only crazy ole me would delight in a hurricane, seeing it as an in-house retreat. And post-hurricane, I find myself way more grateful than aggravated. 

On the flip side, the hurricane showed me how far I have to go in the acting like a yogi area. It was enlightening to see how attached I am to comfort and how entitled I am. I'm spoiled by hot water and instant internet access and Smart Phones and clear streets, etc. I take it all for granted, expecting it merely because I live in America. I thought about the folks in Japan after the devastating earthquake -- somehow I don't think they got their electricity back after only two days. Yes, it can always be worse. I try to remember that. 

Right now I'm still surprised when I look at my digital clock to see the numbers lit. I get giddy when I realize that I can use my Smart Phone to my heart's content without worrying about not being able to recharge the battery. My internet connection feels like a gift. Oh, how I wish I could maintain this level of gratitude. Unfortunately, I know that this feeling will fade and I'll go back to expecting all of these things as if they were my birthright. 

Still, I appreciate the lesson. Now maybe I should work on that little driving issue that I have...

Before I sign off, I just want to thank everyone on Long Island, New York -- and for those of you that came from out of state to lend a helping hand -- for helping to clear the roads, fix downed powerlines, assist folks sorely in need of help, inform folks about hurricane-related news (big should out to WBLI -- great job with the hurricane coverage!) and help the Island get back on its feet.

I'd also like to send love to others here and up and down the East Coast who are suffering because of the hurricane. As the Buddhists say -- may you be free from suffering.

And to Mother Nature -- thanks for reminding us of the truth in the saying man plans, God laughs.  



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