Choosing Something Different
I’m sitting here writing this piece while I am supposed to be in a yoga class.
I had my Sunday night perfectly planned out: I was going to do a heavy bag boxing workout at Crunch Fitness at 5, shower, change, and head to my favorite stir-fry spot Honeygrow for dinner, before ending the evening at a slow flow yoga class.
Things were going according to plan, until I made a miscalculation on train arrival times and ended up arriving at Honeygrow later than anticipated, around 7:08. I needed to be back in Manhattan at yoga in 37 minutes. I knew I should have taken my food to go and eaten on the subway, but the thought of shoveling food into my mouth from a to-go container on the god-only-knows-what-smells-are-lurking car of the F train. So, I reluctantly decided to eat my food at the restaurant, instead of taking it to go. I shoveled my dinner into my mouth in record time and sprinted to Jay Street Metro Tech to catch the next Northbound train.
The F train was just pulling out of the station as I arrived at the station. Because it was the weekend, another one wasn’t due for about 10 minutes. No problem, I figured, I can hop on the next A or C train that comes along. Well, it took about 7 minutes for that to happen, and I now had 13 minutes to go 6 stops and walk 5 minutes to make it to yoga. I figured I’d just barely make it, if I sprinted the rest of the way there from West 4.
All was going according to plan again, until I saw an A train across the platform at Fulton street. I saw my opportunity to go one stop fewer on the express and sprinted across the platform and into the car. I thought I was safe, until the train pulled out of the station and back in the direction of Brooklyn, where I had just been.
My stomach dropped as we sped through the tunnel. An echo-chamber of negative thoughts circled in my mind. What’s wrong with you? How could you do this? You might as well have flushed that money down the toilet. I was so angry with myself for making this critical error.
As I got off the train at High Street, I felt myself breaking. I knew there was no way I would make it to yoga now and felt an intense panic within me, for not having an answer as to how I would use my time, how I’d maximize the freedom of Sunday night, and feeling utterly defeated at the prospect of calling it quits for the weekend.
As I headed back into the city on the next Manhattan-bound C train, I thought about how I could witness myself and these emotions, rather than being sucked into them. I realized that I could choose to see this differently, take the lesson rather than seeing it as a mistake, and remember the purpose behind my yoga practice in the first place.
I’ve done yoga on-and-off for 10 years. It’s always something I’ve found peace of mind in, but it’s been in the last 6 months that I’ve really felt a true, deep connection to the mat. In that time, I’ve practiced all different kinds of yoga, often as much as 5 times a week. It’s become a part of my life, my routine, my being, that has offered me a lot of personal, physical, and spiritual growth.
One of the biggest misconceptions about yoga is that it’s a workout. Yes, yoga does involve movement and is a form of exercise, no doubt. However, it’s not designed to be a tool you can use to tone your arms or to lose weight; it’s about being able to be in the present. It’s about going with the flow, pushing your limits, while also connecting to something greater. It’s about the deep connection to ourselves, our bodies, and our breath. So much of yoga is the mental aspect, since you have to stay present and connected in order to receive its benefits, unlike when you’re at the gym blasting Drake while you take selfies for your Instagram story in the mirror.
Anyway, I thought about how yoga is a practice of witnessing, seeing what is, accepting reality, while also doing what you can to learn and grow in the experience. I realized that by going through these mental gymnastics and disrupting the making of a depressive episode, II was doing yoga. This moment, right here, was offering me the healing I needed
I can choose to forgive myself, hold space for my feelings, and treat myself with compassion, instead of shaming myself for my lapse in judgement on time. People make mistakes, everyone misses out sometimes, it happens, it’s life. You move on. There is always tomorrow, every moment is a chance to start again
Over a cup of hot coffee at Bean & Bean, I’m doing exactly that.