I wanted to write a post about Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, which is a beautiful mosaic cove on South Street. I wanted to talk about finding my zen in a public place. I wanted to tell you all that the sound of the universe doesn’t live in the action around you but rather it lives within. I was planning to take pictures of myself in intricate poses in front of the beautiful art that is PMG’s walls, so I emailed a rep to see if this would be okay. But it was not. I requested to come on a Sunday, but since it is one of their busiest days they said they couldn’t accommodate me taking up lots of space for a yoga shoot. I am disappointed to say I have still yet to go.
I was pretty sad that I couldn’t go and write my post about practicing there. At first I thought about just writing about something else completely. Then I considered taking a class somewhere locally but my workload these past few weeks simply did not allow it. The very day I decided that I had to figure out an alternative, I had spent most of the afternoon on the landing in the Castle doing homework. I had my yoga mat with me and figured I would just go to the aerobics room in Kuch, do a few poses, and talk about finding my center at school, but as I gathered my things and descended the steps, I peeked into the Mirror Room. I love the Mirror Room. It’s my favorite room to show and tell people about when I’m giving campus tours in my red and black ambassador jacket, and it was my favorite room when I came to visit Arcadia. I walked to the middle of the room and stopped. I felt like an absolute idiot right at that moment. There was no better place to talk about finding my center in an environment that is not specifically my own, where I’d be challenged to listen to the sound within as apposed to the noises around me. I dropped my bag, rolled out my mat, set up my tripod, and decided to get right down to business. It was yoga time.
My practice changes depending on my environment and is thus consistently inconsistent. I like this about my practice. I decided that a room in which the walls are almost completely glass would not be the best place to try any crazy inversions or do too many vinyasas, so I did a relatively slow flow and practiced simple floor poses. I was finding my zen underneath the elaborate painting and within the walls adorned with gorgeous woodworking and reflective glass. I could look at myself from every angle, and this changed my practice for the better because I was able to see areas that needed correcting which I can usually only identify while I am teaching and looking at others rather than looking at myself. Joni Mitchell’s voice echoed off the walls from the speakers of my laptop and my practice became a dance. I created a completely new environment in a space that was both familiar and foreign to me. I made it my space. It was not so much that I was alive with the sound of the universe but that the universe was alive with the sound of me. Background noise of people coming in and out of the foyer, of construction workers chatting, of the hum of the piano-playing upstairs were absent as I practiced. I was simply in my own body and mind, in the space I had created for myself.
Sometimes it takes a “Duh” moment to elicit an “Aha” moment. We often try to find new and incredible experiences in new places instead of looking around us, where we already are. Often times, the greatest of adventures can be found in your own backyard. As children we are well aware of this. We play make-believe games and transform the benign to become extraordinary. I am glad that I was unable to go to PMG or take a class. I am grateful even, because had I done either of those things, I never would’ve looked at the places already laid out in front of me, waiting to be used differently than I had ever imagined. If you’re looking for a creative space, head to the Castle Mirror Room. And if you are simply looking for a new adventure, perhaps try just opening your eyes to the possibilities already staring you in the face (in my case, from every angle).