I wrote most of this while waiting for my turn to practice this morning. I arrived around 5:45am.
Another day, another hour plus long wait, outside, to practice. Today I didn't bother comimg extra early to get a good spot in line. Practice and all is coming, as they say...but I'll have to wait my turn first. No cuts, either. Nobody has, but I wonder what would happen if someone did.
What I am starting to appreciate are the people who have worked to make yoga accessible and relevant in America. This yoga here, at Saraswati's shala, is anything but. First, it's not cheap. It costs $500 for the month - far more than I would pay to practice regularly at home. It is also time consuming, between the wait and practice itself.
The long wait makes me feel unwelcome, like there isn't room to accommodate me. Sharmila seems to feel bad about this; she comes out now and them to check on us.
At home, yoga teachers nearly always go out of their way to say, "Welcome." At Equinox, it's very nearly mandatory to introduce yourself and ask students about limitations and injuries they might he working with. Rebecca would always introduce herself, always. I miss this.
People come here more than once, sometimes for months at a time, with the hope they will be given authorization, blessings and the a-okay to teach Ashtanga. Paying the tuition and waiting patiently are no guarantee of getting that authorization, either.
It's before 6am, and I'm fifth from the end of the line. It looks like I will be practicing with the newest students, ones both new to Ashtanga and new to Saraswati. I hope this means I'll be able to practice without much attention, since the assistants and Sharmila will be busy helping them.
There is one guy, right behind me, doing shoulder shrugs and hip circles. I'm guessing he's just trying to stay warm but he looks ridiculous, like a background person in a Sweatin' to the Oldies workout video. On my first day, he was gently scolded for being much later than his assigned 5am start.
6:17am - A dog joined the line. I don't remember seeing this one before.
6:23am - The latest person to the line is the guy who practiced to my left in the hallway at the big shala for yesterday's led primary. We didn't chat, but did have a solid shared eyeball roll and laugh over our exile to the foyer for practice.
6:27 am - Sweatin' with the Oldies just pointed out the line moved forward without me. Whoops. I'm now on the landing before the last flight of stairs. I'm now 10th in line to practice. The guy first in line - the next one in - is balacing his mat on top of his head while he waits for his queue to enter.
You don't simply walk into the yoga room. Here, students have to wait for the teacher to acknowledge them before entering. It's sort of like waiting for permission to enter, but not really. It feels like more of a politeness, like saying please or thank you, or addressing a stranger with sir or ma'am.
6:35 am - Daybreak. Still waiting. The girl ahead of me brought a book and is reading. I could probably use the time to listen to an audio book. Maybe tomorrow.
6:40 am - There are 9 or 10 people behind me, and 9 in front of me. Mat on his Head was chatting when Saraswati called for one more and didn't immediately enter. He was pretty quickly and sharply reminded to get a move on by another guy, the one who practiced to my right yesterday in the foyer.
6:46 am - Sixth in line. Twelve behind me. A man wearing a peaky blinder hat, walking a dalmation, just passed by. Okay, then.
6:53 am - Sweatin' just dropped his yoga mat off the second floor landing to the ground below. Good thing it didn't bonk the guy selling coconuts on the lawn. Similar thing happened the first day...a yoga mat fell from this spot. It's owner didn't notice so I stepped out of line to grab it and pass it back up.
6:56 am - Fourth in line.
6:57 am - Third in line.
6:58 am - I can see the whiteboard outside the door with the etiquette rules and announcements. The next moon day isbJanuary 21st. There are 3 people in line wearing socks with articulated toes. I wish I had a pair to wear with my sandals. Mornings are pretty chilly.
7:01 am - I'm at the door.
7:04am - I'm in!
8:25am - Done and out, and free for the rest of the day.