Tuesday, January 27, 2015

44 seconds

I am one of the people who didn't watch any of the winning Seahawks playoff game. On that Sunday, I decided to run the six miles to work. My run from Seward Park to Capitol Hill is mostly along the lake, a path widely traversed by runners, walkers and cyclists. But on this Sunday, I only saw two runners and maybe five cars. It felt creepy, like I'd missed a memo to get into the bomb shelter or something. 

It all became clear once I got to work. Above is the text I got from my friend Cuc as I was getting ready to open the doors for the 4:00 p.m. Yoga class at The SweatBox on Capitol Hill on the Sunday of that amazing performance by the Seahawks. It took me a couple minutes to sort out what "TD" and "OT" were, but once I did, the enormity of that text hit me. Just before that text, I heard the whole neighborhood collectively scream and peeked out the window to see throngs of people hugging each other and guzzling beer in the middle of the street. I figured we'd won, but I didn't know the details. 

I heard from my students as they raced in to make the 4:00 p.m. class how AMAZING the game was, how the Seahawks made it happen at the eleventh hour, or as Cuc described, in the last 44 seconds.  As I often do in an effort to make my classes relevant to life, I seized the moment to use the "44 second lesson" in class that Sunday, and I've used it several times since.

According to the reports I got about the playoff game between the Packers and the Seahawks, the Seahawks were kind of sucking and they got some rough luck for most of the game.  Then, at the end, everything turned. They never gave up. This happens in Yoga  a  l  l    t  h  e    t  i  m  e.  You come in expecting to have a class similar to yesterday's class. You've hydrated, you haven't eaten for three hours, you slept well last night, you have your favorite yoga top on. And then, wham, you fall out of Standing Bow four times. You bonk out in Triangle. You fidget like you have the chicken pox. What the hell!??? That energy can be all-consuming. It can hijack you and send you on a path to self-loathing and despair. It might have been where the Seahawks were heading.....

But the game isn't over until it's over. There is always time, always a moment, a window to turn things around. Jermaine Kearse and Russell Wilson found that moment with the 35-yard touchdown pass (I read about that in the paper).  

You might think that switching the direction of your energy between Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose and Tree Pose is not such a big deal, but it is. It's the practice of committing to yourself, to not giving up. You might feel like a loser for 90 percent of your class, but that's not who you are. That's  simply how your practice is for that blip in time. I don't know how Jermaine and Russell did it. I don't know what they told themselves, but whatever it was, it worked. It won the game. When you are in Yoga, there will be infinite moments like this. Times when you feel like you're headed down a path of no return, a path you don't want to be on. Stay committed to your vision, to the practice you want to have. It might take some time to get there, but it can happen, maybe even in the last 44 seconds.

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