Notmaste.

So, I’ve just completed a hot and hard 90-minute class. I’m shattered. Utterly spent.
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These 90 minutes for me are not like going to the gym. I am not only doing it for fitness, strength or flexibility. I am not here training for an event, an end goal. I am not here just for my body. I am here also for my mind, my soul. This is my church. This is where I heal my hurts (couldn’t help myself, thanks Maxi).

Maybe I rushed, flustered, away from a stressful day. Maybe not. Maybe it’s been a really tough period at work. Maybe not. Maybe my heart is deeply wounded and seeking peace. Maybe not. Maybe my mind is rattling, troubled, and in need of stillness. Maybe not. Maybe everything is fine. Maybe it’s perfect. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that when we’re in class we work together (which could mean sitting on your mat for most of the class, as long as you do it mindfully), and that both during and after class Savasana is respected.
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So, I’ve just completed my 90-minute class. And, as I’ve said, I’m utterly spent. I take my place on my mat, open my arms and legs just a little, close my eyes and do what I do in Savasana. The teacher leaves the class. “Namaste”. And I lean into my meditation, find silence, stillness. Except Notmaste. Notmaste at all.

A flurry of activity. Mats being huffily folded. Keys jingling. STOMP STOMP FLIPPING STOMP. Past my head. Over my head. Doof Doof. Bags with buckles and chains buckling and chaining, clicketty clack, clicketty clack. STOMP STOMP.

No more meditation. No more peace and stillness. We’ve just spent 90 minutes listening to the teacher talk to us about being mindful.
“Be still in Savasana”
“Don’t fidget”
“Be quiet”
“Do it for your neighbour” … and yet …

It’s been happening so much for so long now that I’ve started to anticipate it and this makes me even more irritated when it happens. I understand that it’s really hot and some classes are so challenging that thundering out of there the second the teacher is no longer looking is all that’s on our minds. I’ve done the rushing out, the blundering, careless, clapped-out exits. Been there, done that, got the dirty looks.

But over time I have learned that the noise and stomping is so incredibly disruptive to a post-class meditation. I learned that when I’m just about to stand up from my mat, it’s best to just stop for a second. To bring my full attention back into my body until I am fully aware of myself and then slowly start to leave. As I’m leaving I ask myself this: Did I pull my mat back carelessly? Can I hear my footsteps and feel their vibration on the floor? When I grabbed my keys and bag, did I hear them jingle and clicketty clack? If I do, I immediately slow down and bring silence into all those actions.

I’ve been finding myself becoming increasingly annoyed by this over the last few months. Don’t get me wrong, I laugh at myself because I appreciate that I really am the only one with the problem here. I’m the one reacting and allowing external influences to disturb my peace. But at the end of a very recent class there I lay, leaning into my anticipation of the stomp stomp routine (see? see what I did there?), and a few people left. Silently. There were some audible footsteps and other noises but for the most part it was significantly quieter than usual. I smiled. I opened my eyes just a slittle (yes I did that on purpose) and watched a girl walk from the far corner across the room to the door, tiptoeing carefully, holding her belongings close and tight so nothing dangled. She was so aware of her feet and of the people around her, both moving and still. She was so very present, so very alert, and she had an air of such gentle grace about her that she was almost gliding across the room.

I almost wept with gratitude.

Namaste.

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