I walked in my front door, hands full of crap that had been in the rental car and on my most recent bidness trip. A few sighs, grumbles and odd sounds and feelings of relief followed:
I was home.
I picked up the hula hoop, still leaned up against my bike where I left it a few days (what feel like weeks) ago, and let the circular motions calm me down. Then the chatter and venting to my roommate commenced, talking about this that and the other of my trip that I had told at least two other people on my way home.
(Venting for the sake of being heard can be a bad practice, I agree.)
Exhausted, I excused myself to my room, where I plopped on my bed and have yet to do more than unzip my bag.
While I was out of town both this week and last, I expressed a deep craving I had for “Chattanooga,” (on the surface level) and for “socialization,” (also on the surface level). Now at home, after catching up with a friend at a favorite Vietnamese spot, and sinking deep in my bed with the fireplace on in my room, I realize it’s not CHATTANOOGA I craved. Yes, I love this little city, its neighborhoods and culture, but that’s not what I’m most happy to see (especially as I drove through CHA rushhour traffice. Talk about misery).
It’s the BikeHaus, and my bedroom, cozy and warm, inviting me to crawl into the silence of my bed. It’s knowing the only people I hear in my house I know very well, and I know they’re enjoying a meal cooked with local ingredients and a lotta love.
And the socialization isn’t going out to a particular bar or restaurant, though it was special to find that one location open during its odd hours with Jim on the way home. It’s the joy of catching up in person with a friend, even though I speak with him every day. It’s laughing with my housemate when I explain to her the permeating smell of chicken or my horror at the rental car deposit.
While I was out of town last week I signed up for a free trial of yogaglo, a comprehensive and pretty fantastic website offering a wide variety of class videos. I’d heard about it before and it seemed like a good fit for the hotel room-based practice. It filled those needs entirely—I got a strong practice in a few days last week using yogaglo. I still believe in (and want to get better at) self-guided practice and the internal focus you get doing that, but these “classes” seemed to serve as a placeholder instead of my regular time in the studio.
This week, though, I became fed up with yogaglo. Sure, some of the videos are great, the instructors interesting and the flows different. I think most of what felt weird was that I was in a hotel room, holed up and away from the world, not leaving once I retreated after work, feeling totally secluded. I’d queue up a video and settle in, but often I found myself checking out what the video students were doing.
I felt like a spectator, watching a yoga video, listening to some popular yoga teacher talk about shoulder loops, “reaching your highest,” getting it all out and sinking into your hippssss.
“I don’t want to fucking OM,” I said to my housemate tonight as I described the weird feeling of practicing not with a class full of living breathing yogis, but with my computer, and a virtual class of yogis out in California somewhere. We laughed, and she joked that I should put that phrase on a T-shirt. (It reminds me of a company T-shirt I used to have that had a symbol for “Namaste” on it; I was not ironically very bitter the day I had to wear it, and I thought it was utterly ridiculous.)
That’s not the truth or heart of it, though; I DO want to OM. But what I’ve missed the most, having been out of town, of “Chattanooga” and “socialization,” is my COMMUNITY, and especially my regular yoga practice that community. There was something really commercial, disconnected, sterile and cold about practicing with yogis in a video…but that’s OK. There’s a time and place for yoga videos, and I’m glad such quality practices are accessible online.
But this realization helped me see that my community IS my yoga practice, just like breathing, moving, meditating, relfeciton, introspection… all of those things are my yoga practice, too. No wonder I felt like a spectator in the video classes: I wanted to be in OUR studio, with MY yogi friends, laughing at falling out of stupid silly human tricks or singing along to a Michael Jackson song in the playlist.
I wanted to OM and be in union with the community who helps me grow and inspires me on a deeply personal, emotional and physical level.
(I want to give back as much as they give to me.)
That is what I missed. And to know it’s right here—in my heart—with me, even when I am far away or out of touch and I get frustrated with some stupid yoga video class… I just have to remember that my yoga practice, with or without the movements, the breathwork and the guided meditations, is with me all the time.
It’s those moments that make the reunion in the studio, “socializing in Chattanooga,” even more special : )
Naaamaste… right here ❤