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.
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.
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.