DAY 33: Life is FULL of Distractions!

Author: thedancingj /

"It's easy to be a holy man on top of a mountain." - Bill Murray in "The Razor's Edge"

Let's talk about "distractions" for a minute.

A lot of people have commented on how crowded classes have been at their studio for the last month!  Aaah, the January rush.  It happens every year, like clockwork.  People make their New Year's resolutions, people want to shape back up after the holiday season, and the hot room is oh-so-inviting during the cold and gloomy mid-winter.  This year we've also got an extra bump from the "Oprah effect"!

Now personally, I love the January rush.  I like newbie energy and I like crowded rooms.  My original home studio, back on Lincoln Street in Boston, was tiny tiny tiny, so we were always packed in there like sardines, mat to mat.  I got used to this and I loved it.  Getting friendly with your neighbor was just a usual part of class.  There wasn't a lot of drama - everyone knew how to stagger the rows and avoid smacking each other in the face, and things went really smoothly.  When I moved away and started practicing at studios where everyone had a huge bubble of personal space, I felt.... lonely!!

But you know, it's all part of the yoga.  Some people want more space, some people want less space.  Some people want to see their whole body in the mirror, some people don't want to see the mirror at all.  You can't get your "ideal" conditions all the time.  That's like trying to control the weather - it just doesn't happen!  Instead, you learn to relax, go with it, and take advantage of whatever climate you're in.

In the new Bikram Yoga book (pg 75-76), Bikram says this about meditation:

"Let's say there's a special room in your house just for mediation.  Everything about it is conducive to peaceful contemplation, and you can walk in, lock the door, take the phone off the hook and be completely undisturbed anytime you want.  You sit down on your favorite soft meditation pillow, light your favorite incense, play your favorite relaxing music, and begin your meditation.  Great.  Enjoy.  You know what you're going to get from this kind of meditation?  A fat ass and a lazy body.

"Now, imagine that you are stuck in rush-hour traffic in the middle of the summer.  It's about 102 degrees outside, your air-conditioning is broken and your window rolls down only half-way.  You're 45 minutes late for the most important meeting of your life, the same wonderful human being in the blue van just cut you off for the third time, and you really have to pee.  Now, if you can find peace under those conditions, then you can meditate anywhere.

"My yoga class is that sweltering day."

Now that is a useful school of meditation!  Life is FULL of distractions, and Bikram Yoga is here to teach you to handle them with grace.  So if distractions come up in class - you're stuck in the back, you're getting an unwanted peep show, the new kids are giggling in the corner, someone just walked in front of you during a balancing posture, the teacher has weird timing, the room is too hot, the room is too cold, the room is too empty, the room is too crowded, the carpet stinks, the lights are too bright, your water bottle is heating up, and that dude really needs a shower - just go with it for the moment.  You are getting your money's worth!


lz said...

Indeed! It's easy to find peace when everything is going smoothly, but to find a sense of calm in the midst of distractions, that is true grace.

bikramyogachick said...

J~ AWESOME!!!!! You are so dead on with this post!

cirita said...

Thanks J. I really needed this post. Too many distraction at my studio lately. I need to let go !!

Anonymous said...

Hahaha! I wrote about distraction today, in a different kind of way. One of the interesting parts for me, now that I read this, is that although I was distracted, I was not bothered by it - no frustration, more acceptance of "if that's what today is, ok then" and I worked with it as best I could.
Thanks for this.

Anny said...

I agree - when I started classes were routinely about 15 people and today there were close to 50 in the room! Being friendly with the neighbors is a nice perk :)

peaceloveyoga said...

Great post...and I completely agree! Funny how distraction became prominent for many of us as we began the second 30 days. I had an "off" day yesterday. I wasn't overly hot or exhausted, but actually had to go down because I was so distracted. I was able to refocus and finish, but unfortunately, it was difficult to simply acknowledge and accept like 'Lynx' was able to. I felt disappointed and somewhat frustrated that I "allowed" external factors to distract me. Then, I saw this post AND a quote of the day that said "Find deliverance through disturbances". Message received
loud & clear! :)

Lady Yogaga said...

omg, it is so weird that you mentioned loneliness and being in a bubble... on day 25, after a particularly brutal class where EVERYONE was struggling, i had some thoughts about this and about group energy. can't wait to post my journal entry from that day!

hannahjustbreathe said...

We yogis do love our distractions, don't we? What crutches they are!

Good on you for reminding us to chuck those crutches out the window. :)

thedancingj said...

I'm glad this resonated with so many of you!! :)

lynxofsilver - I really like the point that you just made - we're ALWAYS going to lose focus to some extent, and we're always going to notice our surroundings. The trick is that, after a while, it just doesn't BOTHER us! We notice it, shrug, and let it go again.

Lady Yogaga - Now I am looking forward to that journal entry of yours! Your posts so far have been lovely. :)

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