lessons from yoga: lateness and compassion

by Joanna on August 21, 2013

I went to a lunchtime yoga class on Friday. The class was pretty filled and as we started our practice with breathing, someone came in late. The instructor was expecting one more and knew exactly where she’d place her mat. She took the yogi’s mat from her and placed it in her spot. The woman apologized for being late and the instructor responded: “It’s ok. We’re all late sometimes.”

As I witnessed this, tears started to form in my eyes. The way the instructor had compassion and was welcoming to a late-comer, helping her get settled quickly and fit right in really touched me. She could’ve been annoyed, ignored the woman and continued teaching. But she chose differently. In that moment, she chose love and compassion.

That morning I walked into a meeting 15 minutes late. A meeting with an external consultant in the nice conference room. I missed my normal bus that morning and honestly, I had forgotten about the meeting so I wasn’t even able to give notice that I was on my way. I felt very bad walking in late and apologized to the consultant when we were leaving. I sensed some emotion in her eyes but couldn’t make out what it was–frustration, sympathy, compassion.  She commented that she was looking at my LuLu Lemon water bottle and the quotes all over it. We left the room and I still felt a little uncomfortable.

In yoga, I felt like the instructor was talking to me when she said “It’s ok. We’re all late sometimes.”

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