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  • Stephanie Schultz

What It's Like Practicing Mysore In The Park

A yoga class taking place in Mueller Park in Minneapolis.
Photo credit: LHENA/The Wedge Neighborhood

I probably haven’t practiced #Mysore since April. I know that my Mysore practice makes me a better me, but I still have lots of good excuses to get out of practicing. My routine has been off for the last 6 months. I’m too busy. I shouldn’t ditch my partner and kid first thing in the morning. I miss Lynn.

I kept intending to check out Mysore in the park with Phoebe & Bryan but until this morning (8/21) I just hadn’t been able to motivate myself. Somehow Joe Biden’s DNC speech was the catalyst that led me to my mat. I needed to mull things over. The weight of what our world community is experiencing right now. The suffering around this pandemic, economic collapse, endemic racial injustice, and environmental crisis.

So I woke up 30 minutes before my toddler, filled up my water bottle, and zipped over to the park. It was a beautiful warm morning and at 6:30am the sky was still dusty pink and yellow. Bryan was dutifully sweeping the basketball court while I unrolled my mat. He graciously chanted with (for) me while I stumbled along. Another student who must have arrived early was already through their sun salutations.

It took me about 10 minutes to drop all of my nervous, self-doubting energy around the practice and new environment. It took me another 10 minutes to start to let go of neurotic and repeating thoughts about my day, work, politics, and the world. It’s like my brain is constantly busy trying to organize something. As if that will make the world more tangible, knowable, and predictable. But my heart reminded me that the best thing I can do for my loved ones and community right now is take care of myself so I can show up and be present for it all. All of the joy and challenges, all of the suffering now and to come.

And then for the next hour or so I was whole again. I didn’t end up mulling over much of what Joe Biden said after all. I did that later in the day. Instead I watched the silhouettes of birds dart across the sunrise. I watched the neighborhood wake up: the dog-walkers, the coffee-goers, the park maintenance workers looking to beat the crowd. I didn’t think about much except my drishti and occasionally the alignment of my hips.

And I realized how grateful I was. I was grateful to be outdoors and watch my toes up in the jet stream in shoulder stand. To share space and smiles with my fellow practitioners. To feel Bryan’s nonjudgmental, kind, and abiding presence. To be safe and healthy and held by community.

If you’ve been thinking about coming to Mysore in the park and need some inspiration, let this be your inspiration. Because amidst the chaos and uncertainty, we still have each other and we still have our practice.

- Claire

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