At the beginning of yoga class last night, one of my teacher said, “In the aftermath of Sandy-Frankenstein I am thankful that those closest to me and I have not been too negatively impacted.” That statement kind of struck me as selfish, at first. “So many others are suffering,” I thought.
But then he continued, “We can channel this gratitude, breathe into it, and then release it back into the world.” That clicked for me.
In a practice of metta meditation, with each breadth, I brought to mind a different person for whom I am grateful. In seated position, I began with myself, and thanked myself for coming to yoga, and my body for biking to work that day. I breathed out this energy, and then inhaling, thought of my brother, who is always there for me. I slowly went through my family and friends.
When we moved to breathing with simple arm gestures, I thought of those around me, and thanked them for practicing alongside me. Just the day before, I had been harboring negative thoughts, and judgments of my fellow yoga practitioners. But in my meditation yesterday, I felt those judgments go, and I felt genuinely happy to be surrounded by so many people also practicing yoga.
As we moved into tadasana, mountain pose, I called to mind those I find most difficult in my life. “They need your love the most,” reminded my teacher. I breathed into those people. And I had a realization: even though I cannot always be with those people, because I find them difficult, I can think of them in a positive light.
Forget the “21 types of jerks you meet during a hurricane.” Be grateful for them.
If you live in New York and want to practice yoga, but can’t because your usual studio is closed, Hosh is open, and it operates on a $5-$15 sliding scale to boot!