By Kristy Ojala
Editor, Tips on Healthy Living
Are you there, Yoga? It’s me, Slacky. I keep saying I’ll stop by sometime. I make plans, then I flake on them. I bring my clothes to sleep over and then I leave them hanging in my office. My mat is as clean as the day it was born. All three of them. I guess my point is, I really miss you. I realize how I took you for granted, and I really am at your feet, on that pristine mat, begging for you to take me back. I’ll be good, I promise. OK?
If yoga were a friend, I would be in deep, deep you know what. But instead, I’m here with all of my misplaced guilt and a plan. When the summer solstice hit, I set the alarm for the ungodly hour of 5:45AM, threw on my most humidity-friendly outfit, and set out for the most unlikely place to do yoga: Times Square in New York City.
After three weeks of working late, feeling low on energy and stressed out by the idea of rushing uptown on two trains to get to my studio, and generally overscheduling myself like a fool, I realized that I now needed yoga more than ever. My back was killing me. My hamstrings were moaning. My hips barked like two dogs at 3 a.m., just begging for a shoe to be tossed out a tenement window. I’ve been missing my favorite Iyengar teacher. I miss my restorative Friday night class, a.k.a. “adult nap time.” I miss slow flow and the gentle jokes and dry wit of my studio manager.
When I stopped by an Athleta store and saw a card advertising free Mind over Madness Yoga on the summer solstice, with thousands of urban yoga practitioners in the most disgusting, noisy, dirty, packed, stress-inducing place on earth… I could hardly say no. It was also due to come on one of the hottest, stickiest days this year. In a sick way, I love to be tested.
So I took my claustrophobic, rusting hulk to Times Square. I took my place on a mat next to a lovely editor from Fitness magazine, and found myself looking squarely in the eyes of our teacher that morning, her beautiful face framed on the Jumbotron. Drisana Carey is a model you have seen many, many times in an Athleta catalog. I always snort at her ripped, ridiculously pretzeled body and suspect Photoshop. My friends, she was about to prove me wrong. And her dad and mom, too… dad did Crow pose quite nicely, I might add.
I took in Drisana’s dazzling smile, the thousands of different shapes and sizes of people around me, and the tourists snapping photos of us all sweating in Downward Facing Dog as Mack trucks rumbled by. I saw Snooki being interviewed next door on Good Morning America. And I watched a plane flying overhead as I laid out in Shavasana (corpse pose, everyone’s favorite), happy and unafraid of my day.
It was then that I realized that I have not always been there for yoga, but yoga has always been there for me. I’m coming back home, and this time, I promise baby, I’ll be on my best behavior.
Photos by Greg Kessler
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