…but in all seriousness, I want to take a moment, while the feeling is still fresh in my mind, to tell you about my practice this morning. Let me start by telling you about my morning-
So I got home last night around 3 from my night out for NY Fashion Night Out (which, for me at least, should have been hash tagged #JANO because it was basically just another night out). We started at the Brooklyn Mishka store and ended up at some shit hole in LES where I started to get the spins (for the first time since freshman year of college) brought on by the thought of drinking a PBR. I won’t get into it now…lucky for you [and me], I finally lugged my baby [5DMarkII] around with me the whole night so I really needn’t divulge- the photos [album to be posted shortly after this post] sort of say it all.
But I seriously digress.
The point is, I got to bed at 4 and woke up at 8, unrested, hungover, unable to fall back asleep– all this sufficed only by my being overwhelmingly pleased with myself and the exceptional goings on of the night prior. So I got up, showered, finally hung up a seemingly infinite amount of clothes [which, while going through, pleased me further– I’ve recently acquired an large amount of satanic tank tops and sheer button downs]. It was during the packing of my gym bag that I remembered my friend Carrie telling me about a yoga studio in Williamsburg that had a donation-based class- I’m going to revisit the donation bit because I think it’s funny, but let me finish this part about the room-cleaning bit- so, despite my deficient physical/mental state, I challenged myself to go. It being about 8:45 at this point, making the 10:00 class seemed doable. So I put on some of my friend Adrien[with whom I work, and share a mutual love of discohouse]’s home made discohouse, and got dressed. I put on my black work out shorts, my new ‘Stay High’ White Actual Pain tank top [note: A. I find it funny to wear a super satanic looking garment to yoga, a generally wholesome and godly activity, but I just got it and I wanted to wear it today- which brings me to B. I washed it before wearing it (with all my colored clothes) and it came out looking like a 3 year old tried to tye-dye it with dirty water and was, what any normal person would consider, totally ruined, but I, being the apparently not normal person I am, find it to be way fresher than it was before], and a bright red knitted beanie and left the freakin’ house.
ok. Here’s where I get down to it:
I got there right on time: 9:55 (because jerk bosses and coaches always say, if you’re on time, you’re late; if you’re 5 minutes early, you’re on time– which is fucking stupid, but whatever). The studio is on the second floor so I ran up the stairs in case donations needed to be collected pre-class. I always count the stairs when I walk up them, by the way. I don’t know why. On this particular occasion, I believe I counted 23, but don’t quote me on that. Anyway, I walked in and it appeared that you were supposed to leave your shoes at the door so I left my 4″ black leather wedge ankle boots and socks amongst a colorful array of normal summer footwear (flop flops, sandals, etc). I then proceeded to the first studio where the class was. It was a beautiful open room with high windows and soft light and plum drapes around the room tied off to the side. It was a full class, but there’s always that weird spot in the middle of the room that no one wants to take, so naturally, that’s where I posted up.
Everyone around me was beautiful. Everyone was so calm and natural. For a split second, it made me nervous. The room was also about 7 degrees too hot, which probably added to the anxiety, but when the instructor- a mid 20’s healthy brunette with an honest face and a knowing waif- began to speak, I was calm. She had the slightest lisp, but it was perfect. There’s something beautiful about well-spoken people with very slight lisps. Speech impediments [or, I guess, impediments of any kind] have a deeply negative human connotation, and being that we use spoken language to establish the greatest human connection with one another, a speech impediment can be incredibly determinant in one person’s perception of another. But this girl was calm, directed, practiced, and extremely sincere in her delivery of our practice, and in her virtuosity, coupled with a humbling voice, she was perfect.
Oh and real quick! Back to the donation bit I mentioned earlier- they ask for $10, but whatever you can give is okay, and if what you can give is $0, it’s cool. No one keeps track of who pays and who doesn’t, but I totally wanted to pay the $10 because it was my first time there and I didn’t want to be that asshole who didn’t pay their first time… except when I went to pay I only had checks and, of course, they don’t accept checks– SO — not only did I not pay, I was the asshole trying to pay by check. Double asshole. Hopefully this post repairs my karma.
I actively started doing yoga several times a week about 2 months ago, so at this point, I’m fairly advanced- only because I was already very flexible from years of dance, swimming, and gymnastics, and physically active from a permanent fitness regimen. This class was great for enthusiasts of any skill level, but something about it made me really want to push my practice to its limit. I don’t know what it was– maybe the plum curtains, the soft voice of the instructor, the serenity of everyone around me– I don’t know, but I did. I lost myself. For an hour and 5 minutes this morning I found heaven. I even took my shirt off. That’s how pure the moment was.
It was remarkable.
—-Allow me to explain why this was so striking, from a different angle. People around here [NYC] have a funny way of referring to Williamsburg; like it’s the epicenter of all things hipster* [ *hipster |ˈhipstər| noun/verb: a contemporary term for something you probably are but use to refer to someone else, usually in a pretentiously derogatory way]. It’s supposedly the geographic domain of the most refined assemblage of the young, socioculturally attuned. Frankly, I don’t really subscribe to all that, but it is all more or less true. Anyway, the point is, to find a moment- a place in space and time- where one is free, in literally every sense of the word, could quite possibly be the rarest thing on Earth; it’s a secondary notion, but I just wanted to illustrate the miracle of finding that moment in a place that is known for it’s social ferocity; a place people come to be free in many ways, but often end up becoming imprisoned in so many other ways. Again, that angle isn’t really why I’m telling you all of this, it’s just a notable perspective.—-
I just wanted to hold on to the feeling I had at the end of it all; the feeling yoga is meant to convey: the importance of breath. Breath: the simplest part of our humanity but the most vital part of our mortality. At the end, I laid there, half-naked and sweaty, staring up at the ceiling. I closed my practice with a promise to love myself enough to never forget how perfect one moment can be, and what it means to be free. She said she was honored by our practice with her. Oh, and Beach House had been playing the whole time by the way. It was in that last moment of practice, laying there preparing to exit my horizontal paradise, that she hit a bowl gong that filled the room with this sound that was so thick and intense and real I could almost see it. It lasted for nearly a minute; I closed my eyes to try to see it as it sounded to me– as dark waves perpetuating themselves, circularly, cyclically inside the bowl. The sound might’ve lasted forever if she hadn’t gently muted it into silence. Then she put on Dustin O’Halloran’s Opus 23 and I cried. I died.
And then I got up and left.
I don’t know why we’re here. I don’t know what’s to become of us. But we’re either creation’s masterpiece, or we’re an existential anomaly. Similarly, we can experience an entire life and never live, and we can experience all of life in a single moment. I hope you find yourself in one.
I love you.