I was laying there, blissed out in Savasana, my body drenched in sweat and my mind empty. Friday night classes at my studio in New York are usually packed and filled with transformative energy. We leave the whirlwind of the week behind and try to ground ourselves, in order to approach the weekend with optimism and enough love and energy to share. Seconds after I let out the biggest sigh through my mouth, I hear my neighbor do the same. Then a distant sigh on my right, further towards the front of the room. Another one on my left, towards the back of the room this time. All of a sudden, I feel it like an electric shock wave through my body: COMPASSION.
What I experienced was an immediate urge to get up and hug people, to show them kindness and tell them it was going to be okay. Emotion overwhelmed me and my eyes filled with tears. I could feel in my skin everyone’s exhausting week, struggles at work, efforts to negotiate life with their partners and children, illnesses and dis-eases. In a split second, I was able to experience our shared plight of pain, suffering and our attempts to let go of that negative energy.
When I discovered yoga 8 years ago, I had no idea it would take me on such a journey. Compassion towards others, especially family members, was a constant intention that I would set at the beginning of my practice. I knew, and know, that I am quick to judge and react, to be exasperated by some types of behaviors and ideas. I also know that this frustration and exasperation usually hinders my relationships, as it just keeps widening and widening the physical and emotional divide of what separates us, of what we do not agree on.
Moments like what I felt in Savasana are a way for me to stop focusing on what divides us, and instead reminds me of what we all share: our common humanity, our common pains and joys, and the fact that we are all trying our very best, through sweat, tears, and laughter.
Photo credit: Peggy Berger.