First of all, I would just like to apologize that it has been so long since my last blog post. Inspiration hits when it hits, I suppose.
I was in a packed class the other day, of about thirty plus people, mat to mat. It’s mid summer, hot, and were are all sweating somethin’ ugly. With all of us so close together, we were grazing each other with our hands and arms during the class. Most of us just smile and keep going with our sun salutations. No big deal, right?
Suddenly, I had a flashback to when I first started yoga in the gym. I remember this woman who was next to me in class. We were starting our sun salutes, and I accidentally touched her hand with mine. She immediately made a “Oooh, I know you didn’t mean to touch me, but I really wish you hadn’t” face. Then, she moved her mat farther away from mine, to make sure we wouldn’t make contact with each other again. I have to say that her actions didn’t make me feel too good about myself, or about her.
It’s funny how things like that stay with you.
When I started going to yoga at my studio, it was completely different. My teacher encouraged touch, connection with other students. She would encourage looking each other in the eyes and smiling. A lot of the time, we would all face our mats in a circle during class. That way, we couldn’t help but see each other’s faces. It was nice. Yes, I realize that sounds like a very “Peace and love” kind of attitude. But, it made me realize how rarely I did these simple things. A lot of people are so caught up in their own lives, that they forget they are sharing this world with other people. And what they do affects the world around them.
Living in LA for so many years, I’ve learned that a lot people would rather walk past you on the street, than make eye contact. And, God forbid…say hello. So, I try to look at it as more of a game. So, whenever I’m out in public and catch someone’s eye, I say “Hello”. I have seen a wide variety of responses. I have had people stop, say hello, and comment on the weather. Some people give me scared, half grins, and quickly start speed walking. Others give me eye contact with no facial expression. Then there are the people who don’t acknowledge me at all. And, that’s okay.
It just surprises me how many people aren’t interested in connecting with people that they don’t know.
Maybe it’s that Texas boy coming out in me. I don’t know.
Yoga, to me, IS about connecting with other people, especially in class. When my teacher comes around and just pats me on the back, I feel more plugged into class. He could say, “Good job, J.”, and I’m grinning like an idiot. Something so simple can make such a huge difference for me. It makes me feel good about myself, and brightens my day. I recently held hands with someone I know, during savasana. After that, I was beaming from ear to ear. Are you kidding?? Human touch can be very powerful also, but you have to be open to it. I’m not saying to go and grab someone’s hand during savasana, either. If you don’t know them, they may not be down for that.
What I am saying, is that we as individuals, have the power to affect the people and world around us. You have the ability to single-handedly put a smile on someone’s face, or completely fuck up their day. So, I choose to say hello to people, make them laugh. It’s what I’ve always done to the people I know. But, yoga has reminded me to do the same to others that I don’t know. It gets me some funny looks, but like I said, I’ve made it into a game.
What I learn in class, I use outside of class.
Yoga has definitely broken down some emotional walls for me, and has got me out of my shell quite a bit.
It has made me a more confident, loving person. And, for that, I am grateful.
So, maybe the next time you pass someone on the street, look at them instead of through them. Say hello and smile. It could potentially brighten their day!
Lastly, if you happen to graze someone in class, I promise… you will be OK. And, so will they.
Just brush it off, along with the sweat, and finish your sun salutes! It’s not that serious.
In a way, we are all connected. We are all one.
Maybe we should start acting like it?