Dealing with the Unexpected

Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured
— B.K.S. Iyengar

The unexpected isn't always avoidable, but a regular yoga practice will help you deal with it.  You'll become less reactionary, connect with yourself, and live in the present moment.  This can result in an improved experience for yourself, and those around you. 

While traveling earlier this month, our first flight was delayed and we missed our connecting flight.  The seasoned airline employee was less than sympathetic to put it mildly.  The 6 travelers who missed the flight were assigned alternate travel arrangements.  Arriving at the gate just 2 minutes earlier would have saved us 2.5 hours, and we were all feeling unhappy about our situation.  A few simple questions can demonstrate how to handle the situation yogically.

Question #1 - Can this be cured?

Answer #1 - Nope, the attendant at the gate did not have the authority to open the door and let us take the flight.

Question #2 - How can this be endured?

Answer #2 - A meal did wonders for our moods.  We found our new gate, then my husband and son played a game while I set out to explore the airport.

I was delighted to discover an airport yoga studio.  It was a simple space, decorated with plants and silhouettes of yoga poses.  It was located just off a quiet hallway between terminals.  There were yoga videos to stream, mats to borrow, a privacy screen, and a logbook to sign.  Airport yoga studios have been reported at San Francisco International Airport, Burlington International Airport, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Albuquerque International Sunport,  Raleigh-Durham International Airport, and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.  I highly recommend using these spaces while you are traveling.  It can make a flight much more enjoyable, and healthier too!  If you have experienced others, please comment in the section following this post.

Upon completion of our final flight, we were once again delayed, and folks around me were frantically attempting to position themselves to quickly exit the airplane.  My family and I were waiting for them to pass, and you could feel the nervous tension building in the air.  Imagine my surprise when a woman across the aisle suggested that we chant Om as a remedy to the situation.  Instead of participating in the anxiety, I was able to have a very nice conversation with this California Yogi while we allowed others to go first.  The things that I would have missed by getting caught up in the nervous tension.  Talk about finding a way to endure!  

In yoga, we practice maintaining our breath and focus in difficult situations and poses.  We practice turning inward instead of comparing ourselves to others.   This helps teach us to deal with our daily lives, and acts as a shock absorber for the little bumps that come along the way. It leads to a lower stress, more enjoyable life experience.  

Next time you're dealing with the unexpected, ask can this be cured, and how can this be endured?

Namaste - Beth


Yoga in the Media

This ad from Yoga Reebok wants us to work harder.  "There are two ways to do things, the hard way or the easy takes grit, sweat, resolve."  Check out the expression on the face of the model at the end of her yoga session (not the usual post yoga buzz I'm going for in my classes).  Reebok obviously wants to portray the fierce determination of a great competitor.  My biggest problem with this idea is that yoga IS NOT a competition.

That is not to say that you won't work hard in yoga classes, it's just that the size or complexity of the poses isn't the goal of yoga.  Some may easily accomplish a beautiful physical practice such as this, but it is not necessary.  A yogi can find calm while remaining determined in movement (or stillness).  A yogi can appreciate the subtle aspects of poses, making them seemingly new every day.  

I've lived "grit, sweat, and resolve", but currently, my yoga is teaching me to work smarter as well as working hard.  My yoga is teaching me to look inward and love myself.  Because of that, I've begun to ask for the things that I really want when I'm off the mat.  This has taken a great deal of work on my part!  

Yoga is life changing.  I've lived and loved the "work harder" phase of my practice, but you can miss something sweet if you just go for the "grit, sweat, and resolve".  Work smarter, find rest, work with focus, practice attention to detail, and find peace and stillness.  Yoga is an amazing mind-body connection, and not just beautiful poses.  

Students work in my classes, but I hope there is more.  I want my students to leave feeling amazing and finding a new connection with themselves.

Live, love and practice yoga!