As I write I’m on a bus to Philadelphia as a parent chaperone for my daughter’s class trip. Under the din of noisy fifth grade chatter, a Three Stooges film is playing, and the child sitting behind me keeps opening and closing our shared window blind. Back at home I have thirty papers to grade piled on my dining room table and I desperately need to get the final draft of the final exam to the department secretary for printing. And I just remembered that I forgot to eat breakfast, so I’m foraging in my purse for something resembling food.
In short, I’m only two hours in of a nine hour trip, on a noisy charter bus hurtling up the highway to Philadelphia. The only way out of here is through.
This is why I don’t usually take requests to turn down the heat in yoga class.
I once knew a professional chef who would say “if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.” That’s one perspective. But life can be viewed as one big, hot, hectic, demanding and stressful kitchen. Getting out of this kitchen (to go live, where, in a cave?) –isn’t, for most of us, a realistic option.
Our best option, then, as yoga teachers and yoga students is to learn to deal with the heat– to stay and breathe. That’s our work. That’s certainly my work. To stop trying to change the externalities–other people, the noise levels, the traffic congestion, the temperature. Instead we need to learn to change our responses to them. To manage ourselves rather than controlling what can’t be controlled.
I’m working on taking the heat, on this bus, in this life, in the studio. I’m working on this with you. And so, with love in my heart and even if you ask very nicely, in my simulated kitchen of life called “your yoga class”, the thermostat is set high. I believe that you will make it through. I have faith that I will too.