One of the things I disliked most when I was new to my practice (well, I still dislike it till now, I believe) was coming late to class. For one, I wouldn’t be able to pick “my” spot. Secondly, I hated feeling agitated right before stepping on to my mat. I was notorious for coming half an hour early and sometimes even sitting outside the studio because it was still closed.
Yesterday, however, due to circumstances outside my control (a.k.a. Joe taking forever to wrap up his morning exercise and potty duties), I found myself running short on time to make it to class. Our studio does have a 15 minute grace period and so because I was just about 8 minutes late to class, I decided to show up for my practice.
While I am glad I did, a little bit of me acknowledges that it wasn’t the wisest choice. Because I missed the entire sun salutation sequence (save for one and a half rounds of Surya B), I barely had time to warm up before coming into deeper forward bends and so on and so forth. Additionally, it took much more effort to quiet my mind. As a result, today I woke up with a pain on the back of my legs/knees which I believe was due to a rushed movement and unmindful practice.
It made me really realize the value of coming to class on time. As a teacher, there are times when students come in late and what I took from yesterday was really being more strict and consistent about not letting students just jump straight in to the practice when they enter the room. Yesterday I contemplated on doing two extra rounds of sun salutes before joining the class but since I did not get to ask permsision or was it a Mysore style class, I felt it would be rude.
Other than the risk of strain or, God forbid, injuries due poor warming up, being late also takes away that opportunity to come into the breath in a relaxed and mindful manner. While yesterday’s teacher was familiar with me already, first timers or those new to the teacher will not have the chance to get a briefing from the teacher and in the same way, not be able to let the teacher know about what is going on with their bodies.
Understandably, circumstances beyond contol such as traffic and the like may cause delays as it did me yesterday. When this happens, it still would be great to have the chance to show up for practice. A practical tip I will offer is to step on to the mat, come into childs pose for maybe 10-12 breaths than slowly ease one’s way to practice.
For now, let me go ice my leg. Har.