by Brent Grueter
Greetings yogis! This month I just wanted to touch base on a few helpful things to consider as our practices head into the heat of summer.
Have you ever been in a class, just settling into your breathing, when you suddenly notice something in the air? All you really know is that it's not exactly Palo Santo. The thing is, sometimes it's us and sometimes it's our neighbors. Then comes the tricky part. What to do next? Well, it's really not tricky and there's no need to let yourself get rattled.
In the summer we get really active and playful. Sometimes that means we go on a run or a bike ride before class and don't always get a chance to shower beforehand. So maybe we show up a little spicy or musky. Our feet might even be extra dirty and you don't always notice it until you're there. No need to panic, just take a walk to the restroom and freshen up a bit. A little water can go a long way in a pinch.
Now let's say that you are on the other end of that experience and it's not you, but your neighbor instead. There is still no need to panic. In that moment you have the opportunity to put your yoga to work. Ask yourself if it is worth letting any smell keep you from enjoying your practice? Can you keep yourself present enough to not be bothered? Sure, your mind is going to run down the old rabbit hole with storylines of why you can't stand this particular aroma. That is the vrttis or mental activity, giving us some good work to do. We restrict our vrttis with abhyasa and vairagya, these Sanskrit words meaning practice and non attachment. Patanjali, in his Yoga Sutras, explains the importance of abhyasa and vairagya in achieving a tranquil state of mind.
Sometimes it's just a dirty mat or old yogi clothes that seem to hold on to our practice and all the sweat we put into it a little too well. So it doesn't matter if it's you or your neighbor, we can all work together to be a little more thoughtful on the topic of sauca which translates to cleanliness or purity. The next time you come in, just take a second to check and see if you're putting your best foot forward or if you need a little freshen up first. If your nose alerts you to someone else in the room try to be courteous and avoid making them feel any more uncomfortable then they might already be. The bottom line is that it comes down to compassion and good old fashioned manners.
So in closing, just continue to be the great, kind and beautiful souls you all are and keep the Shala as fresh as possible.