#365yoga day 280: Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground


For some strange reason, the owner of this video disabled embedding.  Party pooper.  Eh, well.  Do yourself a favor and head on over here  and watch it for yourself.  But leave Jack alone.  That man belongs to me. As in, he may or may not be chained up in my closet. Don’t judge me.

Yoga Sol has a lot of really groovy things that most other yoga studios don’t have: large glass garage style doors that roll up into the ceiling, a yoga deck, block parties with live music (c’mon!,) and a leaf blower.  Yep, a leaf blower.  We often open up the doors and either have the breeze and the sun come in to the studio or, as I did this morning, we hold class outside on the large wooden yoga deck. Autumn has been ushered in to CoMO, so we also have something else other studios might not have: leaves.  LOADS of leaves.  Leaves on the deck, leaves in the parking lot, and even leaves in the studio itself (hence the leaf blower.)

Last night before my class, I grabbed the leaf blower and cleaned off the deck.  This morning before class, I opened the doors (the outdoor class was a last minute – perfect – decision,) and started sweeping the studio floor.  Students said, “let’s have class outside,” and I’m always game for that, so I got out the leaf blower to clean off the deck.

Have you ever used a leaf blower?  No?  Let me tell you, it goes a little something like this: turn on leaf blower, leaves fly all up into the air and settle other places, aim leaf blower, be amazed at how the leaves are leaving the space, turn around to unplug the leaf blower, find 5 million leaves that have whipped around and settled down behind you in the exact space you just blew clean.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  The deck got fairly clean, but as I went back into the studio to put the leaf blower away, I found that the majority of the leaves had taken refuge on the studio floor.

*bangs head on wall.*

Eventually, I just had to declare it good enough.  Students rolled out their mats, I rolled out mine, and we got started in class.  Sure enough, not 2 minutes into a guided meditation, I saw leaves falling from the sky and settling, not just on the deck, but on my students’ mats.  This triggered that type A demon I have living inside of me, but what could I do?  It’s not like I was going to go over to a mat each and every time a leaf fell on it and blow it off with the leaf blower!  I mean, talk about distraction during Sirsasana!  Impossible.  So, instead of freaking out, I resorted to a little tip my friend Jason taught me awhile ago: Throw it in the Fuck-it Bucket.  What else was there to do?

It brings me all back to this Buddhist (or 12 step, take your pick) concept of Detachment.  Buddhist say that life is Dukkha (dissatisfaction, discomfort, suffering, poop.)  It’s not the Dukkha that causes the problem, it’s the attachment to avoiding  the Dukkha that causes the suffering.  Think about it: bad things are going to happen.  Your feelings are going to get hurt.  You’re going to occasionally be sad / angry / uncertain / uncomfortable / worried / disappointed / treated badly.  Those things, in and of themselves, are harmless to us.  It is our constant attempt to avoid them, to prevent them from happening, from controlling the situation that makes us crazy, in pain, wild-eyed, neurotic, and full of suffering.  Driving yourself crazy to avoid this things that are going to happen (being attached to only having positive experiences and nothing ever going wrong) will only, well, drive yourself crazy!  Wait, see what happens, and then do something.  In other words:

Shit happens, clean it up!  (HA!  The new Brawny campaign slogan!)

I could have gone insane cleaning up those leaves.  I could have driven myself right up to the doorstep of Nurse Ratched herself had I tried to control those leaves.  I could have felt guilt or shame or embarrassment that my students might have been “inconvenienced” by leaves falling on their mat (honestly, who cares about leaves on a mat?) I could have done any or all of those things and lost the moment, lost the purpose, lost the practice.  I could have lost the yoga of the dead leaves on the dirty ground (okay, so the deck isn’t dirty ground, but you get what I’m saying, yes?)  Class ended up being amazing, a wonderful class under the sun.  Class ended, I cleaned up the leaves, and everyone was happy.  Including me.

Leaves will fall on your mat.  How you deal with them is up to you.  I prefer to watch them dance in the breeze.   After all,

every breath that is in your lungs is a tiny little gift to me.



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