Finding Balance


Well, I have been in New York for a week.  I woke up this morning feeling slightly at odds with the world.  It’s loud here.  Really loud.  Today, I worked in the apartment and the sirens never stopped.  Maybe that has happened every day but I’ve just been so star-struck that I didn’t notice.  It’s Monday and nobody’s really happy on Monday.

In the yoga class I went to today, the tiny teacher started off talking about balance.  “Perfect!”, I thought.  Just what I need today.  To find some balance.  After a rather long-winded speech about finding the balance, seeking the balance, looking for the balance (okay, are we concentrating on balance today??), she turned on the music.  I will admit, I don’t like music in a yoga class.  Ever.  I find it distracting and, more importantly, I can’t hear the teacher.  Seems a little counter intuitive to go take a class and then not be able to hear what’s being said by the teacher’s own actions.  So where’s the balance in that?

We rolled through the poses – nothing unusual – and then ended with shoulder stand.  Afterwards, she gave the direction to go to Fish pose.  During one of the last training I had – with a major nationally recognized teacher – he said not to do this classical follow-up position because it strains your neck.  So I did a reasonable facsimile.  I thought I was off the hook but then she appeared, looming over me with her hands on her hips and a scowl on her face.  On breath number five, the rest of the class could let the pose go.  “Not you!”, she chastised me.  So in my head, I hear my other teacher telling me not to do Fish after Shoulder Stand.  Yet here is this tiny woman, looking like she might hurt me if I don’t obey her.  So much for ahimsa or non-violence, a basic tenet of yoga.  So much for balance.

It seems that New Yorkers desperately want to have balance or some kind of normalcy in their lives.  But there is no balance in a city that never sleeps.  And normalcy?  No, New York will never be normal.  Do yoga while the sirens scream, take your children to the park on Sunday and stay in your own little neighborhood.  But there will always be an edge that you wouldn’t find in any other city or town in America.


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