Yoga On The Sneak

Two yoga posts in the same week? What’s this?

When my yoga business was active I called it Yoga For The Road. I always told my students yoga doesn’t live on your yoga mat or in the studio. In its full expression as a lifestyle yoga moves with you through daily life. Yoga is more than the poses but I often used poses in public as a metaphor at every opportunity. At the time it also doubled as marketing. Those of you who have been with me for a long time no doubt remember scads of public yoga photos. My stepchildren called them Yoga Bombs. Wherever we might be in world we would stop and drop a yoga bomb in the middle of the scene.

Yesterday I created the name Yoga On The Sneak to describe the yoga I do in private public places, such as bathrooms. These are the yoga bombs you don’t see because they aren’t for fun or publicity. They are for stress management, preventative wellness, temper control, or just an emotional reset. I’ve been doing it in one form or another for years.

Then do Washasana.

I sneak away to do a few poses when the world is difficult and I want to moderate my reactions. I have a coworker who does this too, only she hides in the bathroom to cry. I retreat for a few moments of practice so I won’t cry. Or scream. Or say things I will regret. Or to shake off some ugly words. Or to settle my thoughts and breath and generally calm down (or calm up).

Yesterday there was a lot of gloating over the election. I deal with open racism on a daily basis. I interact with angry people, frightened people, predatory flirting, and that special brand of derision from folks steeped in elitism. I used to wait until I got home to process it all. Or I’d use my commute to vent/explode/break down. Now I do Yoga On The Sneak so that I can get through the day without carrying it home.

Sometimes it’s as simple as leaning against a closed door and re-calibrating my breath. Sometimes Warrior poses. Sometimes a half salutation. Different days call for different responses. Yesterday it was a forward fold.

I’ll seek empty offices, file rooms, bathrooms, a space beneath the stairs, a corner of the parking lot. Any break time. Lunch time. Any way I can grab moments to discharge accumulated negativity so I can be productive and effective. Swilling in shit not only makes me feel shitty all day it makes my work shitty too.

At my last job everyone quit but me. No joke–everyone bailed. There was a walk-out. I was the last one standing. For six months I was the only person who worked there. Alone all day I did everything; all the jobs. I did tons of Yoga On The Sneak to cope with the pressure, only I didn’t have to sneak much since I was the only one around.

I eventually had to swim away from that sinking ship but I valued the practice so much I keep doing it even though I don’t work alone anymore. The sneaking element is definitely part of the practice again. More people around means more of well, everything; good and bad easy and hard.

Yesterday’s forward fold in the bathroom followed a conversation in which Madame Moneybags deliberately walked into my personal space to celebrate that the stock market was back up. I responded, “That must be nice for you.”

Madame Moneybags said, “I mean, now that all this political crap is over.”

My answer off the cuff, “This political crap is not over; it has just changed.”

“Well I guess that’s true.” She walked away with her profit shares.

I immediately sought Yoga On The Sneak. Because I wanted to rage. Rage, rage, rage. I imagined my vertebrae were valves. Through each valve between my neck and pelvis I released a little rage. Of course, it’s not always rage but rage is an especially compelling reason to step away and cope with imaginary spinal valves.

But I’ve mentioned before that yoga is dangerous and you shouldn’t do it, in public or in private. If you disregard my warning and get caught or bonk something, I am not liable.

Yours in indemnity,

— Mercy

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