in depth


Accepting Interruptions

The Path to Inner Peace

Having forgotten to bring his usual background music, our yoga teacher decides to use the CD that happens to be in the player. “Surya Namaskar A,” he instructs. Soft sounds of nature flow from the speakers, accompanying us through our first sun salutation. As we move through the series, a gentle breeze rustles through late-summer grass.

“Surya Namaskar B,” he says. Water laps against a boat, or possibly a dock, as we began the second sun salutation. As he calls “Trichonasa” (triangle pose), a duck, somewhere in the distance, calls in response. More birds serenade us as we turn to the second side. One arm down, one arm up, quack, quack, lengthen the torso, lengthen the spine, quack, quack, quack.

“Prasarita Padottanasana.” We turn sideways for wide-legged forward bend. Our heads reach toward the floor; dozens of ducks flap, squawk, and squabble above.

As we lift out of the pose, an unmistakable CRACK! and a rush of frenzied wings and frantic squawks shatters our familiar rhythm. We stand, dazed. A shotgun? A shotgun in yoga class?

The unruffled voice of our teacher resumes. “Dead duck pose,” he says. “Dead duck pose.”

The erupting laughter brings us together in an entirely new and unexpected way. Though we’ve been practicing as a group for months, we’ve never felt closer than at this instant—and the wisdom of accepting exactly what the moment is bringing and incorporating it into whatever we’re doing has never been clearer.

In a yoga class, as in all of life, this wisdom might take the form of viewing all interruptions as reminders to sink more deeply into your body rather than reacting to the disturbance outside. Instead of becoming irritated when someone opens the door during class or a cell phone breaks the silence, you can learn to experience appreciation for the reminder to be “present” in each moment.

When you notice that your body isn’t as flexible as last week, you can use that observation as your reminder to honor exactly where you are right now. And if the music is not quite what you expect or prefer, bless it as a reminder to be grateful for the luxury of being right here, right now.

Mali Apple and Joe Dunn
Authors, The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships and Sensory Walk: A Guided Meditation 

Recommended: A Simple Act of Gratitude by John Kralick


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