Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Yesterday was a day of travel. What seemingly should have been an uneventful day in the travel world (do those exist?), took a turn towards eventful. I was traveling back to Ohio from Georgia, hoping to make it back in time for an event in the evening to support my husband. I knew I had a close connector, with only thirty minutes between flights at a large airport. My seating assignment was the window seat in the very last row of the airplane – the one by the toilet, where the seats are so upright, I swear they actually lean forward. It was a full flight and there was a gentleman sitting in the aisle seat next to me. I’m not a fan of confined spaces and this was definitely confined.
The plane sat motionless at the scheduled take-off time. We were informed by the pilot that we would be grounded at least another twenty minutes before take-off would be occurring. Gathering clues from my reading material, my seat neighbor asked me if I practiced yoga. I told him that I am an instructor and learned that he and his wife are yogis as well. This led to stories, which led to laughter; so much laughter that I was starting to sweat (which is lovely on a crowded, cramped, delayed airplane).
What could have been a miserable time period became quite enjoyable. I told my new friend, Tim, about the event I was in hopes of getting back for and about my brief time frame to make my connector. I also told him this, “Five years ago, I would have probably been a mess over this. Right now I’m not. I have my yoga practice to thank for that.”
Yoga has helped me cultivate the skill of being less reactive and more intentionally responsive, especially in situations out of my control. Life is packed full of these challenges. Like anything, mindful responsiveness takes practice and awareness. I don’t get this right all of the time, but I know it’s been an improvement in my life. Had we not had that delay, I might not have exchanged words with Tim. I may have gone about my reading and he would have continued with his work. I would have missed out on meeting someone that I enjoyed talking and laughing with. I would have missed out on connection – not the connection of a flight, but something more important – human connection.
As it turns out, there was no problem in making it in time for that connector, as it got delayed not once, not twice, not even three times, but FOUR times. Now I wondered not only if I would make it back in time for the event, but if I would make it back that same day. The airport was crowded and people were in close quarters (again). Still, I found myself content. Even happy. I was able to find joy in the small moments that were unfolding around me. In this madhouse frenzy of an airport, with people running back and forth, I was smiling – on the inside and out. Out of the chaos of the day, I made a connection with another human being who walks on this planet, and I was reminded of my appreciation for a practice that has given me so much.
I also made it back in time (barely!) to support my husband.
I taught three yoga classes today and inspired by my day of travel, I encouraged my fellow yogis to think about this as they practiced –
“What has your practice opened up for you?” I then phrased this a bit less passive – “What have you allowed in and cultivated from your practice?”