Yoga Poses in Traffic

Last night I was late to teach a yoga workshop, for the first time ever. And, let me be clear, for most of my life I have been an early arrival for everything. That annoying person who shows up for dinner at your place 10 to 15 minutes early, when you just want to be upstairs putting on your party clothes? That’s me.

So last night, I miscalculated (and apparently the SF Giants won the game that put them back into first place, for the moment). I left my house over an hour before class time, but the traffic from here to Berkeley was terrible. There I was on the Bay Bridge, looking at miles of brake lights.

The driving experience itself became one giant metaphor. The songs that came on the radio? Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be…. and Time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking… into the future. Seriously. At first, I was desperately trying to think of an alternate route that would get me there faster, a way out, a short cut, or simply to call the whole thing off. Was it too late to cancel?

The clock showed 6:00 PM then 6:15 PM and…. Class time! 6:30 PM, and I was not where I was supposed to be. I had this eerie glimpse of two alternate realities. In one of them, I was in the studio with my Tibetan chimes and poetry and props and students all around. In the other, well, there I was in my body, in my car, and on the freeway.

Then I realized that I felt totally joyful and maybe even buoyant. I guess all that meditation time has paid off!! At least in that moment. I knew that it couldn’t be different. I was on my way to do what I love to do; and the students would wait in savasana or meditation (deep bows to my friend Vance, and to my sister, who got things ready); and most likely I would arrive, walk into the room with equanimity, and teach.

On some level, it was amusing — and very human — that I would arrive late to teach a roomful of people who were waiting for me so they could learn to lie down, relax, and do nothing!

Ultimately, I got there fifteen minutes after start time, and we totally figured it out. And the class was wonderful. I was so glad to be there. I taught great new students, and it all worked out fine. Honestly, it also reminded me to be compassionate towards others who are late or may not arrive at all, since life inevitably offers traffic jams along the way.

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