will the real yogis please shut up!?: on the gift of silence

559f62c66f5b45d0a2e7adc2b0d96589Every so often, I visit the Sacred Heart Jesuit Retreat House to escape the demanding distractions of American life and meet God in silence. I remember my first time there noticing that on all their publications, they had a slogan that went something like:

We give each other the gift of silence.

Such an expression both surprised me and touched me deeply; I’ve never thought of silence as a gift to others… a gift to myself.

But it is. And it is the gift I long to get and give every time I walk into a yoga studio to practice present breathing and mindful movement. I spend my entire day in noise–delightful and important noise, but noise nonetheless. I hear the chatter of my students discussing a text and how it moves them; I hear the collaboration of my colleagues; I hear (from my mouth as well) the complaining during unhappy moments; I hear myself trying to transmit information as eloquently as possible; I hear the bells signaling transitions and the halls loud with middle school chaos; I hear music motivating me on the commute. All day long, I hear…and it is exhausting.

On the blessed days when after all this noise I reach deep inside for the energy to walk through the doors of a yoga studio, I am humbled and eager. As I walk past the sign that reads, “Please practice silence in the studio,” I am grateful. And as a rule-follower, I am also expectant, assuming others will honor this guideline as I do.

Most do. But, some don’t. And when they don’t, there is a loud uproar (ugh, more noise) within me, a sense of injustice in regards to something precious, but unnamed, that has been stolen from me. In this post, I name it: the gift of silence. I do not, whilst bowing my head to the ground in child’s pose to heart-whisper my intention, want to feel the energy of a New York dancer’s studio, bustling with hello’s and how-ya-doin’s and other declarations of social obligations. I do not, whilst on my back in Savasana, coming into my breath, feeling the rise and fall of my belly, want to hear the girls’ latest gossip or health reports of their families or updates on romances or careers.

What I want, and what I gift you, and other yogis, is the sweet and sacred space of silence. So I kindly request, for and from all the yogis who treasure their practice as much as I do, both the quiet and the talkative, the following:

  1. Please designate your conversations with your friends for before or after at the bar next door, or the coffee shop next door, or at the very least the wooden bench near the changing rooms. Your catching up time should never be in the sacred space of a yoga studio, where so many come for silence and internal contemplation.
  2. As teachers I work with frequently tell their students, whispering is still talking. If your mouth is moving and any kind of sound is coming out, you are a disruption. Sometimes the I’m-trying-to-be-subtle-whisper-conversation is even more distracting than the all-out-volume-appropriate-for-a-bar.
  3. Yogis: be mindful in a space and practice ahimsa: non-harming of the sacred silence. Are other people around you quietly folded into an asana of quiet intent? Are some mats occupied by people who look hungry for the sacred space of silence? Are some people rolling their eyes at you or mean-mugging you? There are a lot of reminders from the Universe–or your neighbor–to kindly shut up if you just would pay attention.
  4. Teachers: please honor the responsibility of protecting the sign’s intention on those doors declaring a space of silence. When you come into to spray your essential oil, wipe the sweat left behind from last class’s quiet yogi, and format your intentional music, look around the room. Or take a quick break from checking-in students and peek into the studio. Are yogis talking? Politely ask them to protect the quiet space. Or remind them after class with private dignity that the studio is not a space for conversation.

I recognize in my honesty I may not sound much like a yogi, but more like a curmudgeon. But I guarantee, if I could just get a little peace and quiet, maybe, just maybe that might change.

Namaste.

7731194d7a63e545f8b865e7b7fe17d9

Advertisements

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. edpeters06
    Jan 25, 2015 @ 23:32:35

    Loved this honest reflection , and couldn’t agree more!

    Like

    Reply

  2. gospelisosceles
    Apr 02, 2016 @ 13:14:26

    I believe praying is listening to God, not telling God your desires.

    Like

    Reply

  3. Trackback: training the monkey… the mind that is | lifeinthedport
  4. Trackback: training the monkey… the mind that is – Life in the Dport

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Life in the Dport

Expats Abroad

A Tree On Fire With Love

But it's still scary sometimes because most people think love only looks like one thing, instead of the whole world

Curiosity Travels

"Replace fear of the unknown with curiosity."

Young Adventuress

The Solo Female Travel Blog

Young Adventuress

The Solo Female Travel Blog

teaching With "Ang-sigh-eh-tea"

The life of a teacher who struggles with anxiety and depression.

Sampa Sympatico

A Yankee Teacher's Experience of Sao Paulo, Brazil

LINDSAY JILL

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

Once Upon a Time in México

Living my dream of teaching, traveling, and discovering culture

Teach. Travel. Taste.

A peek into the life of an American teacher in Colombia

2seetheglobe

Adventures in Globetrotting

Meditating Millennial

A Millennial's Journey Into Meditation and Mindfulness

Nomad Notions

Tales of Expat Living, Teaching, and Tramping in Taiwan and Beyond.

Sojourners' Journal

“Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people." —Albert Einstein

Middle East by Midwest

Observations and Experiences of Bahrain

Ex(pat) and the City

The life of a twenty-something Canadian living & teaching in Korea.

International Schools Review

ISR Blogs are open to site members and visitors alike. Your Voice Counts.

Teaching & Traveling

The Life of An International Teacher

LOVE.LIVE.LIFE.ABROAD

THE ADVENTURES OF A NOMADIC TEACHER

pedagogyofthereformed

Teaching in Brooklyn in Spite of Everything

Actively Dying

by Peter Fall Ranger

Practicing Presence

An attempt at mindfulness in life, learning, and love

chanyado

Chanyado. Shade. Respite from the sun. A place under the tree to rest my head, and wiggle my toes out in the sun.

The Educationista

Life. Lessons. Inspiration.

Words Half Heard

writing into meaning.

gadflyonthewallblog

"To sting people and whip them into a fury, all in the service of truth."

Greatfull

A snapshot of my journey to living each day with gratitude and striving to be full of greatness

Imperfect Happiness

Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it. ~ Mary Oliver

tspelczech

"I'm too old to live my life in fear of dumb people." - Charlie Skinner, The Newsroom

Perfectly Pleased

I take the little moments of life and write about them. Always with Love.

Cultivate Clarity

creative writing and mindfulness-based coaching, workshops, and retreats

Crawling Out of the Classroom

In everything that my students and I do together, we strive to find ways to use reading and writing to make the world outside of our classroom a better place for all of us to be

ADVENTURES ON THE YOGA MAT

writing into meaning.

AFFECTIVE LIVING

Teaching. Learning. Living.

Mostly True Stories of K. Renae P.

My Adventures in Teaching and Learning

candidkay

Taking the journey, bumps and all

jenny's lark

the beauty of an ordinary life

Nonlinear Compilations

Parenting, teaching, writing, and learning to find beauty in the present

Education Thunk

Thoughts and musings on education as it is, was and will be.

talk from chalk

What I've learned while teaching

Thoughtful teaching

Thoughts on teaching in the modern world.

Hope, Honor, and Happiness

A blog for the book “Kingdom of the Sun” and discussions on finding the Hope, Honor, and Happiness in education, life, and the seemingly impossible.

%d bloggers like this: