While I was completing my yoga training, I was lucky enough to gain support from friends who were willing to let me use them as guinea pigs to practice teaching. Summer quickly moved in and we moved our classes to the Socrates Sculpture Park just down the street from my apartment in Astoria, which, if you haven’t been there, is a must-see (my class is a perfect excuse to visit!). Not only have we been lucky enough to find a beautiful grassy spot to practice every week, but we’ve had some memorable moments that have made me feel especially grateful for my friends, my yoga practice, and this gorgeous city we live in.
Two such experiences happened within the last month. One day, the skies opened up as soon as we arrived; my resourceful friends quickly turned their mats into full-body rain shields. We couldn’t decide whether to wait or run for cover, so instead we just laughed–for me, big, glorious belly laughs–with mats on our heads, withstanding the whipping wind and rain. In the end, we were rewarded with a full double rainbow, and once we finished properly freaking out over it, we were able to practice.
Then tonight, the Metropolitan Opera happened to be performing at the same time as our scheduled class. I’m not one to create playlists for my classes (or perhaps I should say, “Until today, I haven’t created playlists, but maybe in the future..”:)), but I would also never turn one down that was already created–especially by the Met! It was another incredible moment of presence and awareness for me, and hopefully that came through in my teaching. We were able to rest in Savasana with the sounds of “Old Man River” in the background, and just managed to avoid another downpour (though I was waiting for dementors to begin descending from the sky as we walked home, it was so dark).
Yoga teaches us mindfulness, of our bodies, our minds and our environments. This kind of awareness helps us find joy in every moment, no matter how big or small. While we’ve had some incredibly and overtly beautiful experiences during our classes at the Sculpture Park, and I continue to experience appreciation and joy for the subtle as well: the orangey glow of the sun falling behind the clouds, a child walking by with a mound of soft-serve on a cone (with the sounds of Mr. Softee in the background–sounds of the city being our other built-in class soundtrack), and the stillness that comes over our patch of grass during Savasana are just a few. I am incredibly grateful for this space and my amazing yogi friends. I’d love for you to join us sometime.