June 30, 2016

If You’re On Time, You’re Late

I was blessed to spend last week with my yoga teacher, Paramaguru R. Sharath Jois.

As you can see from the photo, I was not the only one in attendance. Hundreds and hundreds of students came to practice yoga with Sharath in the days and weeks of his tour through the United States.

Among the many things students at KPJAYI, our yoga school, are attentive to is “shala time”: shala is the name of any yoga school; shala time is 20 minutes prior to the time you were told to be somewhere.

We all make a point of being on shala time.

Last week Sharath opened our conference (essentially, an informal talk with students) in Miami by saying, “I am sorry I am two minutes late. There was a problem with parking.”

Two minutes.

In these days of so many ‘celebrities’ being on celebrity-time (anywhere from an hour to an hour+++++ of being late), this struck me as a beautiful thing.

Because—like a celebrity—there is no doubt we would all wait as long as is necessary for Sharath to show up.

This privilege is one he would never abuse, however. His respect for his students is (one of the many things) that engender our respect for him.

And despite anyone’s ability to turn themselves inside out or upside down on a yoga mat, this is an aspect of yoga we can all practice: We can demonstrate our respect for others by respecting their time.

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