Teaching yoga while the world goes nuts

 

I teach an ongoing Saturday morning class from 8 to 9 am at the base of Diamond Head in Honolulu. I tend to keep a pretty strict no cell phone policy, and my long time students adhere and enforce it to newcomers. Today, Hawai’i residents had the horror of receiving this alert just shortly after 8 am:

emergency-alert-message-640x488.jpg

Growing up in the 80s, I can remember a good part of my teenaged years were spent wondering if they were going to drop the bomb at the height of the Cold War between the then Soviet Union and US. I haven’t really had this feeling since the Berlin Wall came down that nuclear annihilation was a possibility. This gave me chills.

Fortunately, it was an error. More fortunately, I did not get the alert during class, nor did my students because of the said phone policy. My class actually went well today for my seven attendees. I could see all my student’s faces in Savasana being very peaceful. How could we have known that the outside would be still be in absolute panic as the word that it was a false alarm did not come until about 45 minutes after the alert?

Others were not as fortunate. Video came in of a man trying to get his young daughter to go into a manhole in the street as she cried that she did not want to go in to it and wondered why. Also, University of Hawai’i students were running around campus in a panic like a cheesy 50s armageddon sci-fi movie. It was bedlam for many.

Today I had to have a conversation with my wife about what we would do if we were at our job sites during the week if this happened. Basically, call to say “I love you” and get to shelter, hoping for the best. If we were at home? Fill up the bathtubs with fresh water and get my mother in law on her wheelchair and go to the middle of the house where impact many not be as devastating? Not to mince words, a scary fucking conversation I wish to never have to have again.

In this age of heightened tension, I feel we as yoga practitioners have a duty to work for peace. That can come in many different forms. I am grateful that my class spared my students an hour of unnecessary panic from a stupid bureaucratic mistake. I feel we need to have higher standards for our elected officials who have seemed to get us into this mess on both a local and national level. As 2018 is an election year, I feel we can make a difference if we feel things are not running as well in this country as it could. So perhaps another way to work for peace is to make you way to the voting booth in November…if we can make it until then.

 

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18 thoughts on “Teaching yoga while the world goes nuts

  1. Patti Martin

    Thanks for writing. I was hoping you would. I was hoping to hear your perspective. I’m glad all are okay. Sadly, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop on this story. I’ve done some Emergency Management work and this public story doesn’t make sense to me.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. yogibattle Post author

      Thanks Patti. Wife and I were shaken, not stirred 🙂 Humor helps in these situations. Although I’ve never been in this situation. To put things in perspective, I’m no longer afraid of hurricanes or tsunamis.

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  2. mishedup

    oh man! that was some scary shit! I am so sorry that your beautiful state had to endure that, I’m sure the repercussions will follow for a while.
    But i love how the no phone policy saved you and your students the unnecessary fear.
    This will always be your great “where were you when…” story! savasana!

    and ditto to our practice being one of peace. my classes end with the reminder that we do not only practice for ourselves but for all those around us, rippling out to alll mankind I truly believe that…one person at a time we can change the world.

    I’m so glad you are safe michael.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. yogibattle Post author

      Thanks mished! That is probably my top Savasana story now for sure. I’m realizing that the more of these kind of misfortunes happen, the better my writing gets 🙂 I don’t always drop the f-bomb, but when I do…

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  3. so...

    The blessings of a quiet savasana, how can any missile destroy the now… Your post got me thinking about our eventual mortality and the fullness of our present. Thank you for another lovely lesson

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. yogibattle Post author

      The alternate thought that has been crossing my mind about this incident lately is that I would have been obliterated, blown to bits teaching yoga without knowing what hit me. That’s a heck of a way to go out. From that vantage point, I wonder what would have awaited me in the next life…

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  4. elgrabar

    Not that we this kind of event to reflect… but obstacles and challenges for a peaceful mind (sukha) is everywhere and can happen anytime. Thank you for sharing a reminder of the importance of including action in our dedicated practice to help us stay in the sukha (ease) when challenged.

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  5. ambfoxx

    I hate to think such an emergency could ever be real. People were clearly unprepared. I remember fallout shelters in the 50s and 60s when I was a little kid.
    As a college professor I had to go through trainings on what to do in the case of an active shooter. Scary. One of the recommendations was to designate one person who would leave his or her phone on during class, in case an emergency alert came through. If there’d been a false one, we would have reacted to it, of course.
    I end yoga classes reminding people to take their yoga into the world. Yes, we need to vote for peace and peace-makers. Vote wisdom into office,

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    1. yogibattle Post author

      Funny how New Mexico is a big cold war state (Los Alamos Nat’l labs, White Sand Missile Range, etc). I remember we would go to White Sands during the full moon and had to wait until the missiles have all landed safely at the range. That is some weird atomic karma. One of the better books I read in high school was “Red Sky At Morning” which was about a Southern family who relocated to NM to get away from the nuclear threat during the 50s. And of course Red Dawn (80s propaganda flick with Patrick Swayze) was filmed in Las Vegas (NM not Nevada).

      Sorry you have to go through active shooter training. Just the prospect of that is traumatizing. We Iive in a weird point in history.

      I may have to debrief my students on Saturday and see if they would prefer to leave phones on. Still grateful I taught through that whole ordeal.

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  6. swtspontaneous

    Wow! I need to have an assertive No Cell Phone Policy for my classes too! Those things drive me nuts while I teach class! This is proof that we don’t need to have our cell phones on constantly! Thank you! No cell phone interference can translate to ahimsa too! 😀

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  7. Pingback: Guest post: Yoga is my only purpose | Vikrant Sawant – HUMAN WRITES

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