A Riff on Connection

It was a Thursday.  My cool audiobook audition had been postponed to Monday so, wanting to put the block of time to productive use, I headed to a late afternoon yoga class. Normally I’m in the yoga studio between 10:30a and 2p and it’s really busy with folks buzzing around. Not being familiar with late afternoon, I found the space to be much quieter and a little more peaceful before class started. Not that busy and buzzing is a bad thing … it’s totally not … the space simply had a very different vibe.  And it was just a simple observation.

Anyway, after exchanging pleasantries with a couple of women who also take the earlier classes, we set ourselves up and prepared for the session.

Located on the on the 4th floor of a building on 65th Street, Studio #1 at YogaWorks Westside sits above, the John Goldmark Practice Center for Mannes Opera/Mannes College The New School For Music.  During the earlier classes the voices of our instructors usually dance around the construction noises outside the building and the vocalists and/or pianists rehearsing something downstairs. Douglass playfully connects us with the sounds, deftly diffusing distraction, by saying something fun like “cue the piano.” Recently, and in synch with the booming male vocalist below, he assured us that our sun salutations would ignite our “inner baritones.”  He has such an intuitive way of working with “what is” and getting us all to lighten up and completely be present with everything that exists in the space. 

I have to say that, when I first began practicing at YogaWorks, I thought it was really odd and annoying to have “that music” drifting into the yoga space.  Considering that we were in a high-rise building in the Lincoln Center area and that I’ve been practicing for a while, my inner yogini took over quickly and the annoyance only lasted a hot minute.  I’ve actually grown to enjoy hearing the construction workers outside the windows and musicians practicing below while we practice yoga in what has become a form of cosmic dance. In my mind’s eye it’s like a beautiful kaleidoscope of sound and energy.  And isn’t that part of the power of yoga; accepting it all and creating space for everything in the moment?

Well, during the 4pm class, it wasn’t the pianist or vocalists but a beautiful wind ensemble that was busy practicing below us. It sounded mostly like a woodwind section of a concert band and, from time to time, some brass would make itself heard. At times during the class the flutes, piccolos and other lighter sounding instruments made it feel as if there was a rippling stream flowing under the floor. At other times, when the bassoon and oboe and some brass joined in, it sounded like there was a carousel below us. While it was easy to hear them, I was compelled to pause from my practice (pretending I needed to rest) and place my ear directly on the floor whenever we were prone. The sound coupled with the vibration of the floor just opened my soul.

Yeah … I’m a goofball sometimes. I will OWN that … happily. It makes me …ME.

So there we were at 4:30p just like at 11:30a or 1:30p, locked in that cosmic dance; yogis practicing on the 4th floor, musicians practicing down below, construction workers outside our windows, simultaneously connecting without connecting. The kaleidoscope of sound and energy.  It was a beautiful experience. 

As I processed the experience after class, I realized it’s happening everywhere … right now … and every moment.

You … and me … and everyone else on the planet.  I’m here you’re there.  We’re reading, writing, singing, cooking, working, teaching, studying, sleeping, waking, practicing yoga.  

Human beings, being human; doing whatever it is we do to keep ourselves in play on the planet.  

The universal kaleidoscope of sound and energy.

We’re dancing our own beautiful dance; making our own beautiful music.  Together …  and apart.   At the same time … in different spaces … with a universe of others.

Connection without connecting.  

And that thought, in my snow globe at this moment, is mostly so very beautiful and … a little bit not.


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