A fine mist of rain kept me moving fast from the parking lot to the Makawao Yoga space.  Always pushing it to the last minute I’m relieved to arrive on time; Maui time, that is (which really means just a couple minutes late).  Clover, the yoga instructor, warned me as I had my hand on the doorknob to enter the yoga studio that it was going to be a packed class, and as I looked up, a few others were coming in behind me (whew, I wasn’t the last one). Upon entering the hot, enclosed space I noticed how right she was. It didn’t look possible to fit one more mat in the room, let alone four. I announced to everyone waiting comfortably on their mats that we needed to make room for the few  people who were signing in. Without hesitation people began adjusting their mats in order to accommodate us. Nobody grumbled or looked put out or annoyed. We were tight. Cheek –to-cheek, if you get what I mean.

Three more students entered the room, and following them was Clover. We mashed closer to the walls, staggering the mats and getting very cozy. Filled to capacity, with our sense of humor intact, we were asked to turn to our neighbors and greet one another. Soon we would be breathing the scent from one another, so why not get familiar.  One hour and fifteen minutes later after a sweaty workout, three Om chants, and a Namaste before taking our leave; I asked if people minded if I took a picture with my cell phone. I explained that it was for this blog post and that if they didn’t want to be photographed I’d understand, after all, we were sticky, flushed, and looked wrung out.  Nobody was opposed to the idea. In fact, several others grabbed their cell phones and asked if I’d take a picture using their phones, too.One Lane Bridge sign

I left there that day not only at peace, but feeling like I had made instant friends with everyone in the room. It’s not always that people are so accommodating. But I see it often here—people letting cars cut into the line of traffic upon entering the one road that backs up for miles going into town, only to go a few feet before stopping to let pedestrians cross the same road. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times; you can’t be in a hurry in Hawaii. When I am in a hurry I create my own frustration which serves no one. Usually when I’m in a hurry driving I inevitably get behind someone going 10 miles under “my” speed limit. We have a lot of windy roads that go up and down the mountain, so it makes sense to drive slowly, especially because we never know who or what is around the corner. It could be a biker, pedestrian, or another vehicle.

These examples illustrate how one situation of accommodation can apply to other areas in our life. I’d like to slow down, breathe, and be mindful of my movements and my words – both in and out of the yoga studio. So often I get annoyed with other drivers because they aren’t moving fast enough or they’re not the perfect driver that I am. It’s easy to roll my eyes and say a few “chosen” words when I’m in a separate vehicle. But when we’re all sharing a room together and we’re face-to-face (or cheek-to-cheek) it’s more difficult to show annoyance.  We all share common interests – in this case, it was yoga. It didn’t matter how annoyed or not annoyed anyone got because we weren’t going to start anyway until everyone was situated. The few extra minutes, from what I could tell, was not spent grumbling or in agitation. We were willing and pleasant while we exchanged a few words with our neighbors. This can be our driving experience or any other experience we are in where there is an opportunity to accommodate others.

In the end, we’re all going to “get there.” It’s the journey that matters and how we allow ourselves to feel along the way, connecting with others or separating ourselves, feeling peace or agitation.  I’m making a concerted effort to be more accommodating, to notice my breath when I start to feel annoyed, angry, nervous, or afraid. I will take some deeper breathes to slow it down and ease the tension. Thank you to all my fellow yogis who led by example that day in class. You taught me the art of accommodation. We’re all in this life together, sharing a world (or a road), like it or not, and I may as well enjoy the ride while I can. I would only hope that if I annoy or anger you that you, too, will take some deep breathes and exercise patience and understanding when necessary.

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