Refuge from a Mad World

This was the scene just a few hours ago, as I sat in my car in front of Just Breathe Yoga & Fitness studio and cried. Massive tears streaming down my face without even the slightest effort to hold them back. I was there to teach a class, but truth be told, if I wasn't teaching, I probably would not have been there. After far too many challenging days and weeks, it would've been so easy to just stay home and go to bed instead of going to yoga. But I was the teacher. I didn't want to disappoint anyone. So I mustered up my strength and forced myself out the door. Then on the way to the studio one more thing went wrong and I just collapsed under the weight of too many struggles, and cried. I couldn't hold back the tears. I sat there in my car, not caring who might be walking by, and I sobbed. Thankfully, my beloved and precious man was still awake on the other side of the world. His gentle care and firm logic helped me to keep things in perspective and to regain my composure before the students began arriving. I took a few deep breaths, then wiped the tears away and got ready for class.

It was a small class of experienced students who didn't require a lot of detailed guidance from me, so I joined them doing the poses as I guided them through a flowing practice. It wasn't perfect. I made mistakes. Sometimes the words didn't come out right, but the clients at Just Breathe are very kind and they graciously forgive my mistakes with shared laughter and smiles. We moved, and breathed, and stretched and flowed for a wonderful hour that ended with the deep stillness of savasana. I began to chant the mani mantra. Not out of habit, but from a sincere wish that these beautiful souls enjoy some moments of peace. With prayerful intention I imagine the vibrations of my voice washing over them, like a gentle wave which clears away the dust of sorrow and the grime of worry, that they might leave class feeling lighter and refreshed. That is always my aspiration.

Our hour of yoga ended and then the TRX students begin entering for the next class on our schedule. That was like the second wave of happiness as the folks came in and greeted me with friendliness and smiles. We chat a bit and they joke with each other. They are not free from struggles. I know enough about them to know that one has been suffering with illness and another one has been out of work. And yet in that moment, in that space, we can forget all of that for a little while and just enjoy each other's company and "Sweat it Out" as one client said. It occurs to me that there has never been a shortage of smiles in this place. 

Back in my car, I pull out of the parking lot and wave to another client who is coming for TRX class. I thought to myself, what a difference an hour makes. I felt so much lighter in body and mind. I felt an easy smile on my face as I drove home feeling hopeful and grateful. 

This is why we show up again and again to class. This is why we make ourselves go out, in the evening, when its dreary and rainy, when we would rather give up and go to bed. We make ourselves go back to the studio again and again because this is where we find refuge from the mad world. This is our sacred space. This is our community. This is where our burdens lighten and our smiles brighten.

I would like to extend my most heartfelt gratitude to every beautiful soul that makes our space the wonderful and uplifting place that it is. And if by chance you are reading this, and you aren't a part of our studio and you don't have a space like this to go to for refuge from the mad world, rest assured we will welcome you here, and we will always be happy to see you.


Update: A lot has changed since writing this, and our small, peaceful studio closed permanently due to the pandemic. But many of those same wonderful smiling folks that I remember from that night, and plenty of others too, have joined our fully online studio, Yoga Club. I hope to see you there soon.

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