The other day, I had parked my car at the bottom of a road to go for a swim at the outdoor pool in Oxford. I came out feeling hungry and was looking forward to getting home. As I drove out of the car park an ambulance pulled out in front of me, lights flashing, blocking my exit. “We don’t know what the problem is, we’ll only be a few minutes,” the driver called out cheerfully. I switched off the engine: I had nothing to read, no phone, nothing to do but wait. The minutes went by, and I strolled aimlessly up and down. Relax, I told myself, you aren’t going to get all those things done this evening you thought you were. 

An angry motorist
There was nothing I could do. I wandered over to some trees and gazed out towards a lake, quietening my thoughts. Another car drove up, and a young woman jumped out. She followed the ambulance men into the building, emerging a few minutes later none the wiser. She jabbed angrily at her mobile, sat in her car, got out again. Went into the house again, returned, spoke agitatedly to me. She was angry with the ambulance for blocking the road, and told me of a few other things that made her angry, too. She didn’t/couldn’t listen to me, she was too stressed. 

Does yoga help?
That’s me, I can react like that sometimes, I thought. Life throws up an obstacle and I go into stress/panic/angry mode. I can’t say if practising yoga will always give us the tools to better cope with situations like this, but it’s one we can all try. Finding a bit of inner stillness within ourselves is a joy when it happens. Of course, yoga can be just about keeping fit and flexible - and that’s fine. But it can have other benefits, perhaps deeper and harder to find. Twenty five minutes later, the ambulance moved on, and we returned to our cars, the traffic and the rest of our busy lives.

This week’s class - a standing warm up 

A slow and gentle sequence of stretching and breathing is a great way to get into the right frame of mind for yoga (please note: this is not a ‘how to’ guide but a gentle reminder of a little of what we did in class this week).