Every Tuesday at 6:30pm, Briana Welke Turpin leads an amazing Flow class at One Down Dog. I have been fortunate to have schedules that have allowed me to attend this class for the past three semesters. Coincidentally, my Tuesdays during each of those semesters have been pretty packed, generally starting on campus around 8 or 9 and finishing around 5, just in time to make it to class. Needless to say, after 8-9 hours on campus, I am more than in need of some moving meditation.
Sometimes things come up. Tuesday evenings can be weirdly popular. Random dinner dates. Fun events with meetup groups. Events featuring special guests on campus. I’ve had all of these things occur on Tuesday evenings, leaving me to choose what I’d prefer to attend. It honestly depends on the circumstances, which one I pick. If it’s a friend who I generally don’t get to see much, I’ll probably go to dinner. If it’s a meetup activity that’s particularly unique or fun, I may go. If there is a special guest who I’d really like to hear speak (like Juno Diaz, who came to USC last month!), I’ll probably opt for that. There are other times, however, where I’m approached with a Tuesday evening activity and I simply decline. If someone asks me if I’m free to do something, I say “no” and ask if there is another time that would work for the both of us. I used to feel awkward about this. I used to think that it was somehow dishonest or shady of me to say that I was busy when technically I could just not go to yoga. I mean, it’s just yoga right? It’s not an academic class or an important meeting or work or anything like that. It was optional and there were no consequences for me not showing up. Why was I pretending as if this were something serious that I couldn’t not go to?
I’m not sure when it happened, but since embarking upon my third year of my PhD, I have realized that I no longer have any qualms about not considering my Tuesday evening Flow to be “optional.” When I stumbled into One Down Dog over two years ago (shout out to Groupon!), I would never have imagined the impact that my yoga practice would have on my me and my approach to the world. I would never have dreamed that it would literally save me from PhD-induced meltdowns and make me confident in my abilities both on and off the mat. I never thought that One Down Dog would become the place in LA that I feel most comfortable outside of my actual apartment and that I would meet so many amazing people through that space. I just had no idea.
Coming to this realization about my Tuesdays tells me how much I have come to prioritize self-care. While I take my roles as a student, a friend, and a general social being very seriously, it is so important that I make time to nurture the practice that has so nurtured me. The practice through which I am learning more about myself everyday and which constantly allows me to grow and change.
So if you ask me if I’m free on a Tuesday evening and I say no, please don’t take offense. It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with me. I am consciously choosing to take some time for myself, with myself, on the mat. I am simply protecting my Tuesdays. I encourage you to do the same.