I Was Late for Yoga; Chaos Ensued. ~ Amy Landry

Via elephant journal
on Jun 9, 2011
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Photo: Epsos

Being late for Yoga was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

You should try it sometime. Maybe you have.

Day One: Friday evening – Master class.

I drove for around two and a half hours to get to Kathryn Budig’s master class in Sydney, Australia. I was also booked in her workshops, the two days following.

Funnily enough I used to live in Sydney, and yet somehow my brain seemed to drop the concept of peak hour traffic(in all directions possible) on Friday evenings.

In my own defense, the highway exits had changed since my last visit. But instead of going with my gut instinct, I took the exit labelled with the suburb I was supposed to be heading to.

Only it was the longest way possible.

Naturally my stress levels were high, and accelerating rapidly. I called the studio, assuming I’d arrive only just in time. All I needed was a right turn – which never appeared. Not to mention all the nearby parking spaces which were full, due to the the steadily increasing number of Friday evening party go-ers.

In the most stressed out, un-yogic state I fled through the back streets, trying to find somewhere, anywhere to park so that I could run to the studio. No such luck.

Had I not driven so far from home, I truly would have turned around and left.

Again, I called the studio. The class had started. The angel who answered told me simply:

“It’s OK, don’t stress. I’ll save you a mat space. Get here when you can. Breathe deeply, and summon yourself a car space from the universe.”

“Yeah, right.” I thought.

Photo: Gbsk

I turned a corner and there one was.

I ran to the studio, flustered, sweaty and completely uncentered.

I cringed when I saw the empty mat way up the front of the room. Yes, that was me – tip-toeing through rows upon rows of fellow Yogis all crammed in, hoping to absorb some of Kathryn’s magic. Lying on their backs, legs in the air, and gaze upward, I dodged dozens of feet whilst constantly muttering apologies, just wanting to fade away into oblivion.

For the first time, not even my mat was a saving grace, a sanctuary, or a place of solace.

After trying to center and calm myself in Child’s pose, I joined the class. Despite being typically crammed in like sardines, the class was uplifting, motivating and Kathryn was a bright, beautiful spark.

After class, I apologized ashamedly. Kathryn was incredibly supportive, kind and wonderful. However, I couldn’t shake the sickly feeling the experience had left in me.

Day Two: Saturday – Inversions Workshop. Promptly on time.

Photo: Perfecto Insecto

Saturday’s workshop — for which I was on time, focused primarily on inversions. My spirits had lifted a little, and I was excited for the challenge. However, my wrist was incredibly sore due to an injury flare-up just prior. I felt doomed.

The class started. Reality check. The moment had finally come for me to learn from Kathryn, to gain some much needed confidence upside down, yet I was physically unable to put any weight on my left wrist when flexed. I felt heartbroken.

Day Three: Sunday – Workshopping heart-openers and backbends. Early.

This I could handle. Certainly my heart needed it.

This time I was the first person to arrive. Something had switched. I felt more positive, more alive, more alert. Less stressed.

I had finally processed my Friday evening experience – the shame, the embarrassment.

I felt determined and inspired. There was nothing stopping me from getting the most out of opening my heart.

Every Locust, every Cobra, every Crescent Moon Lunge. Every Frog, Bow, Bridge, Wheel, and Camel, my inner smile grew. My joy radiated. My passion grew. My love for Yoga exploded.

I’m not sure why, but Dancer’s Pose was the one, where in that very moment I realized how dramatically my emotions had changed since that Friday evening class. Through the stress and shame, I had now come to a place of love, joy, gratitude and peace. The extremes made me feel alive.

Although I would never recommend intentionally running late as part of your daily practice, it has left me with a more Yogic, expanded and compassionate view, for that next soul who runs into class stressed, flustered and needing love and acceptance. Had I not experience this for myself, I would not be fortunate enough to have the ability to empathize in this way.

So for that Friday evening traffic, I will be forever grateful.


Amy Landry is a devoted Aussie Yogi, Professional Dancer, Personal Trainer, Foodie, Philanthropist, Gemini, and Lover of Life! Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


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3 Responses to “I Was Late for Yoga; Chaos Ensued. ~ Amy Landry”

  1. […] have to find out the hard way. For instance, teaching yoga in Aruba is great but sometimes people show up to class with a Piña Colada in their hands. There is no way to prepare for this (but it inspired […]

  2. tanya lee markul says:

    Hi Amy – thank you for sharing this! I think it would be a totally different world if we all reacted compassionately and empathetically toward one another – with the heart scale versus with egoic suspicion. Thank you for this.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

  3. Lisa says:

    I am having trouble with this post as I am wondering why the word “shame” could or would be connected to being late to a yoga class.

    I live in Los Angeles, although I don’t enjoy being late ( I don’t like the drama of the rush) it is a fact of life sometimes. So are people having their cellphones on their mat, and wearing perfume and general not great behavior. But we, as human beings, need to not hold a “holier then thou” attitude towards anyone. We should always strive for acceptance-most importantly towards ourselves.

    I find the post quite “dramatic” but then again maybe it does stem from this idea that anyone who deems themselves a yogi somehow must be perfect.

    I am very inspired by the teachings of Yogananda. He brought Kriya yoga-the real communion with God-to the west. He himself would have been the first person to tell you he was not a perfect being. I guess that is why I can be inspired by his life.

    I feel in the west Yoga has gotten really confused and we have lost the plot quite often. Many practice asana but nothing else and consider it alone a spiritual practice. Real union with God shows you that everything we see here in our “reality?!?” is really only a illusion.

    You indeed received a lesson regarding the way in which you see the world. I only hope any shame you have connected to being late to a yoga class can be looked at and truly transmuted as indeed you were not really late at all.