On a normal week day, I wake up at 5:45. I get out of bed, and let Rosie outside. She’s always so happy to see me in the morning, even though she can see me sleeping across the hall all night. She wags her tail and makes funny, guttural yawning sounds. Her tail slams hard against the walls and corners, and I tell her to shush so she doesn’t wake up Chris. I get her out in the backyard, and go to put on my yoga clothes.
When I’m dressed, Rosie is ready to come back in and to have breakfast. I pour two scoops of food into her bowl, and listen to her make a sound that can only be described as “a horfle” as she eats. I mix a protein shake and chug it down, then have a glass of water while I write 3 pages in my journal. I’m so proud of myself for setting this as a goal for the year, and I’m happy to report that almost 2 months after New Year’s Day, I’m still keeping this habit going.
This is my morning routine. It’s something that I love, because it means that things are generally the same. I love having a routine, because it makes things go smoothly. It’s my everyday ritual, and having a ritual is soothing to me.
At 6:30, I kiss Chris on the forehead and tell him I’m going to yoga class, just in case he forgets what I do in the mornings.
I start my car in darkness, and listen to a few minutes of NPR on the quiet drive to campus. It’s nice. Very few people are on the road, and the past couple of days have been warm enough to open the sunroof on the way there. (I guess even global warming has its silver linings.) I park in a lot that is about 2 blocks from the gym, simply because it’s the closest option. I sling my yoga bag over my shoulder, grab my water bottle, and trek it up the hill.
I’m always one of the first three people to yoga. I think it’s important to arrive early. Not only do I want a good spot in the class where I can’t see myself in the mirrors, but I also want a spot where I can see the sunrise through the windows. I also know I need to grab two blocks and a strap, and maybe a bolster if I really want to treat myself. But mostly, I get there early out of courtesy for other attendees.
See, I think one of the shittiest things you can possibly do is ruin yoga class for others. So, I make it a point to never do that. And if for some reason I’m running late and can’t make it to class until 5 minutes after it starts, I simply won’t go because I know how much I hate the noises of others coming into yoga class after it’s begun. They try to be quiet and not distract others. But they can’t.
And I’m not saying this to shame others about showing up to yoga late. I’m saying this as a deep truth about myself: I ALWAYS put others above myself. Always. So it’s totally in character for me to put the comfort of other yoga class attendees above myself. And I know it’s ridiculous for me to assume that other human beings would afford me the same consideration. But yoga is the one thing that I do 100% for me, which makes all the latecomer noises that much more irritating.
It’s not that I don’t try to ignore the noises. I do. But I can’t. I’ve never been able to. In high school, I could never do homework while the TV was on, and I could barely do it when the sounds from my family watching TV floated under my bedroom door. At work, I can’t grade papers while I have a chat window open in another tab. If someone decides to have a conversation outside my office door, you can bet that all productivity grinds to a halt. And I absolutely cannot write while music with lyrics plays. I’m not one of those people who can let sounds go by. Every stimulus demands my full attention, and whether it deserves it or not, that stimulus will get my attention.
Some people would say I’m easily distracted. This isn’t true. I’m just not oblivious to the world around me. I can’t tune things out because I’m aware of them. And maybe that’s why I’m more likely to ensure others have a good yoga class experience — because I’m aware of what they are probably feeling at that time. For those who think it’s okay to walk into class 10 minutes late, or leave class 10 minutes early, you’re probably the oblivious sort that wouldn’t hear a Mac truck if the driver was laying on the horn as it barreled right at you.
So, I get to class early. I have my mat and blocks set up well before the instructor even arrives.
As yoga class goes on, I’m generally pretty pissed off by the end. At least 5 people have come in late and trundled from one side of the studio to the other and back again to grab supplies. They’ve slapped their mats down on the wood floor while the rest of us lay silently breathing on our backs, setting our intentions for our practices. Some of them will keep their cell phones on their mats, as if they really need to check texts during a 45 minute yoga class that ends before 8 AM — the light of their phone illuminating the entire dark studio. Oh, and last week, a phone rang all through class while the instructor pretended she didn’t hear it. EVERYONE HEARD IT.
At the end of class, someone will invariably step on my mat with their janky bare feet as they walk to put up their blocks and strap. For some reason, to me, this is an insult on par with a slap in the face. I’m not sure why, but in a gigantic studio with tons of space, it’s apparently too hard to step around my mat.
I realize this is probably a sign that I need to practice on my own at home, but the idea of not attending a class I once loved really makes me mad. (This could also probably be an episode in a 2016 reboot of Seinfeld.) And I don’t really see that there’s a solution to this. But most of the time, I leave yoga class more wound up than when I got there.