I recently had the chance to sit down with some of my fellow yoga instructors in Washington DC and learn a bit more about the Washington DC mentality.
I’ve always been aware that the collective consciousness each place I live has a slightly different approach to life.
In Cleveland, Ohio, it’s all about overcoming adversity. Cleveland Browns fans, anyone?
In Boulder, Colorado, it’s all about living in tune with nature. The mountains will burn and the creek will flood whether you like it or not. The snow will also fall and you can go skiing. A lot.
In Wichita Falls, Texas, it’s all about getting by and finding contentment with what you have. There’s a certain kind of struggle there, but people accept it as a way of life rather than something to overcome. The contentment is more ingrained than learned.
In Tucson, Arizona, it’s all about finding your way. Literally – many of the streets change name halfway through and it can easily take over an hour to get from the east side of the city to the west.
And in Washington DC, I’m not quite sure I have the pulse on it yet. There’s an overwhelming sense of achievement here. People are always working toward something. For something. With an end in mind. There is little time for rest, simply because it takes so much time to get to work.
Entering into the yoga classroom
When I was talking with my new yoga instructor friends over the weekend, we talked about all the students who bring their belongings with them inside the classroom – purses, shoes, coats, and phones. Either they feel they don’t have time to put them in the locker room, or they don’t trust that their stuff won’t be stolen, even though the doors are locked and there is almost always someone in the studio to make sure their stuff is safe.
This is funny to me because when I taught at the same studios in Colorado, no one brought anything into the classroom. There was an inherent trust that as a student in a yoga studio, their stuff would be okay. (Of course, there is always the chance something will go wrong, but you take that chance anywhere.)
Some of the teachers I talked with over the weekend even experienced students texting in the middle of class. I thought that was ludicrous.
And then it happened to me. Just yesterday I was teaching a morning class and a girl sat down on her mat in the middle of class and started texting.
It’s Yoga Time
If you’re going to take the time to go to a yoga class, take the time to be on your mat. Take the time to disconnect.
You immediately lose the benefits of yoga the minute you start to connect with the outside world during your practice. In fact, you’re not getting the point of yoga at all if you’re texting during class.
When you practice yoga, you practice to forget the world.
You practice to become aware of how you’re body is feeling.
You release the mind’s control of your being.
And maybe not everyone will experience this every time. But you work toward that. If you find yourself always needing to work toward something, you work toward releasing your mind’s shoddy grasp on reality.
The DC Yoga Challenge
Yoga is a practice of disconnecting. And in the process of disconnecting, you reconnect with what really matters. You reconnect with your body. Your mind reveals it’s deepest, juiciest secrets and brings you the clarity you’ve been searching for all your life. Through your breathing and your movement, you work through the fogginess, the parts of you that don’t feel so great, the low energy, the pain.
I’m excited to be in DC. The people here need yoga more then anyone. They need to learn the real benefits of yoga and experience them personally.
But you can’t force people to change.
You can teach people to experience their bodies differently.
And that is a challenge.
Did I mention I’m from Cleveland, Ohio?