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Meaningful Adjacencies
21 August 2018

Meaningful Adjacencies
21 August 2018

Meaningful Adjacencies

Meaningful Adjacencies
 
Greg and I were in NYC last weekend to visit family and have some time in the city. One of our stops was  the 911 memorial and museum, first time for both of us.

“Meaningful adjacencies” was the phrase used to describe how names were organized and placed on the panels—the names of all the people who died. Rather than list the names alphabetically, there was an effort to identify meaningful connections between people, placing side by side the names of people who in life were linked by something or someone. Not meaningful relationships per se—in most cases the people didn’t know one another, but connections that were made later, tracing ways in which their lives, loves, work or interests intersected. The tour guide highlighted just a few of these powerful and moving adjacencies to weave in smaller stories of shared humanity. These adjacencies create a precious sense of interconnectedness that helps offset the yawning sense of grief, loss and despair reflected in the crashing water and bottomless abyss around which the memorial is designed.
 
That phrase, “meaningful adjacencies” stayed with me through our time in the city and has continued to haunt me back at home. Riding the subway later that day, observing other riders, the huge variety of humanity that inhabits a city subway car or city block on any given afternoon, I wondered if meaningful adjacencies aren’t happening all the time, with each person we meet or pass. In a city like NYC the prospect is daunting, overwhelming, but also strangely comforting. We can’t always point to a specific quality or event that connects us, but if someone had to make a connection between any two people, put their names on a wall and honor their memory by creating a kind of mystic joinery in order to lift the experience of tragedy or loss out of its own loneliness...surely we can always find something?

I kept noticing (covertly) the people we passed. The older man in the corner of the train muttering to himself and clearly mentally adrift, and the younger man nodding his head to music but periodically glancing over to notice him....the two young women on the subway bench, a little girl of 3 or 4 nestled between them with her legs crossed up on the bench, chattering away to her stuffed bunny, while the 2 women smiled at each other with a kind of parental knowing. I find back home that I am noticing people I pass, in the coop or driving or on the street, and wondering what narrative we could create to link our lives. I find I am more aware.  

I am reminded that each person who comes to the studio, unrolls their mat, and begins to practice yoga has a story, many stories. We are probably, all of us who share yoga in that space, connected in ways none of us consciously realize. Though we practice "on our own mat" and in our own bodies, can we try and also honor  the delicate threads of life and love and loss and happenstance that connect us?
I think so.

Love,
Leslie

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ACCOMMODATIONS:

The building itself was renovated to be energy efficient, and the room is moderately heated in cooler seasons to promote a good, healthy sweat, but not heated to an excessive or wasteful degree. There are cubbies in our large office to store your personal belongings, a spacious changing room, a comfy sofa and a water cooler (please bring a water bottle to fill, to cut down on paper cup usage). Two nice, clean bathrooms are located just down the hall. There are also cubbies in the studio itself for valuables, which students are welcome to use. We have a full lending library of yoga books, and encourage students to borrow freely. Gift certificates are available for purchase in any amount.

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GUIDELINES FOR PRACTICE

Please do not wear perfume or any strong scent

People with allergies can be very sensitive to scent. Also, lots of people sweating in a closed space is less stinky than lots of people all wearing different brands of perfume or deodorant.

Wear comfortable clothing

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If possible, don’t eat at least three hours before practice. If you know that this isn’t possible for you, eat easily digested food one hour before class.

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Keep your eyes on your own practice

The practice is richer when it happens from the inside out. It’s not about comparing yourself with the person next to you. Be present with your own experience.

Be kind and loving to yourself

Rest when you need to. Honor where you are in your practice. Use the energy of those around to inspire, not diminish, you. Remember: you are perfect just as you are now, and yoga is meant to enhance that understanding and let that perfection shine. Have fun!

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