Yogi in the Window

Yesterday I fell in love with life on the corner of 24th St & Bartlett, and did so almost entirely with my eyes closed. Breathing in, and breathing out.

At 8:00 am, I put my yoga mat and meditation bench in the window display of a storefront on the corner and began a day of practice. Nothing’s for sale in this store!

As an instructor of yoga and meditation, one’s practice is always visible, even if not consciously on display. I’m grateful to the practice as refuge — the space that’s protected yet not defended, grounded yet receptive — in every moment.

Something’s always happening in San Francisco, and most passers-by barely give a glance. (Or if they do, I don’t give a glance, deepening inward practice. Apparently, several people I knew stopped by. Were you there?) Nothing to see here… move along, move along.

I hear their voices, though. Especially the kids, with enthusiasm: “Look! She’s doing yoga in the window!”

The sound scape reveals the layered life of the neighborhood. Patterns of footsteps. Rush of rain, with mariachi in the morning. Trucks. Bottles clinking. Strollers. Skateboards. Afternoon sunshine has a temperature and sound… the-ere’s nothin’ wro-ong, with mee-ee lovin’ yoo-oou… Conversation fragments, laughter. In bright stillness, I hear and feel and smell and know the movement of the street. Breathing in, breathing out.

Of it all: pleasant, unpleasant, neutral. Inner experience just as varied and changing. Hot, cold. Dry, moist. Inward, outward. Showing, hiding. Performing, embodying. Eyes open and a big smile, I sing a heart song and feel the deep breath of grace.

With the clarity and spaciousness of a precious day of practice in the middle of the city. Breathe in, breathe out.

Photos by Katy Fox


  1. Elise says:

    Great description Rachel. From the outside looking in. I heard the bottles clink, the children wink, the skateboards roar and the music blare and looked in the window at you unphased by the symphony of caucophony outside the door. You were calm and serene in a hectic place, a place I love too! I have walked by that corner, lived near that corner and was born near that corner. So it feels very much a part of me, thanks for blessing it with your retreat.

  2. Rachel says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Elise, and for your comment. I love it that the Pop-up Retreat was in the heart of the neighborhood where you were born. Metta.

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