Yoga at Starbucks
There was an incident after our led primary today that I almost couldn't believe.
I, and hundreds of other ashtanga yoga practitioners, are in Miami for the week to take classes with our paramaguru Sharath Jois. It is an honor to practice with him, and I think we all (well, not quite everyone, apparently) are humbled by his presence and reminded of the true purpose of this incredible practice.
But back to the incident.
My FI ladies and I walked out of the practice space and headed over to Starbucks for post practice coffee and chai. As I’m waiting in line, the woman in front me gets to the register and is told she can’t use her starbucks card at this particular store. Instead of taking it with patience and understanding, she screams at the barista, who, obvious to anyone who took a moment to think about it, was certainly not the one who was in charge of making these decisions. She is yelling loudly enough that the whole store can hear. “I’ve been waiting in line for 15 minutes!!” “You should have a sign!! “I can’t believe this!!” “I’m so irritated!!” It was quite a scene. I felt very sorry for the barista.
As she stormed out, I saw that she had a yoga mat with her. She had been in the class with Sharath.
My jaw dropped. I couldn't believe someone who had just experienced a yoga class with Sharath Jois, someone who was undoubtedly a regular practitioner of ashtanga yoga, would behave in such a way. Admittedly, I am sometimes naive about human behavior and tend to be very optimistic about what people are capable of.
But seriously, what is the point of doing this practice if you still act like an asshole? The purpose of it is to learn to be steady minded and non-reactive, which in turn leads to more patience and kindness. If you spend the morning on your mat but then lash out at the first person who slightly inconveniences you, you’ve wasted your time. It was a very stark reminder that doing an asana practice doesn’t automatically make you a student of yoga.
Let me add that I believe that woman was doing her best in that moment. I don’t know what she has experienced in her life that might have contributed to her outburst. I truly don’t mean to judge her. She may be a lovely person who just had a really, really ugly moment. None of us are better than her. But I do hope that she reflects back on this incident with some regret and commits to choosing kindness in the future. I hope that the practice takes a stronger hold and she learns to manage the inconveniences of life with more love and compassion for others and herself.
And I hope the barista had more pleasant customers for the rest of her shift.