Showing Up: Pattabhi Jois and Woody Allen Agree

woodyGuruIn Ashtanga yoga, we practice 6 days a week. Sri K Pattabhi Jois, who brought this yoga method to the West, said, “Yoga is 99% practice and 1% knowledge.

In order to practice, we have to to clear our schedules (including when our college friends are visiting or when we regrettably binged on pizza the night before) and show up to the yoga mat. Woody Allen is credited with saying, “Showing up is 80% of life.” Same idea. And showing up is the hardest part of a yoga practice (yes, even harder than asana.)

So what about showing up late?

Yoga classes (excluding Mysore style) tend to start on time, and I strive to be set up a few minutes before go-time. The room gets quiet and everyone stays on their mat for the entirety of class. I don’t want to interrupt that calm with my galumphing into a spot and plopping down my 8 pound Manduka. Part of the practice of showing up is doing so at the right time.

Some classes chronically start late so I’ve adjusted my hustle to arrive later. I aim to arrive at 9:10 for a 9am class because it’s more efficient to walk the dog for an extra 10 minutes than to chitchat with yoga friends. But there’s inevitably the random day where that always-late class, for whatever reason, DOES start on time and I’m rendered late and feel like an ass.

But any yoga is better than no yoga. As a teacher, I start class on time out of respect for the students who have made the effort to be there. As a student, I don’t mind if you’re late so long as you don’t put your mat down 3″ from mine or ask me to move over.

No matter the level of class and amount of instruction, yoga is an individual practice of breathing and moving. Part of my practice is to show up at each pose and not be distracted by everyone around me. Whether it works or not, I try again the next day.





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