Like many of you, I was very excited last week to see Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe back together...long lost 'Friends' returning to our living rooms!
They seemed to just slip naturally back into place on the couch, all the years just fading away. Yes sure, after 17 years there was a slight difference in appearances, but it was actually quite comforting to see!
It made me think of anxiously preparing for a school reunion not long ago. The thought of walking into a room full of people, some of whom had last seen me several decades ago, filled me with dread! Would they judge me on my wrinkles, look for grey hairs, notice the thicker ankles?! How must these Friends have felt last week being faced with millions of us waiting on the other side of the camera? And yet there was no need to worry in either my or their scenario. As true friends, they were happy to just be reunited; enjoying laughs over past times, sharing memories and rewiring the connections.
Thinking of this, I decided the theme for the first week of our June Yoga for Charity Pop Up would be 'Friends Reunion'. We had some old friends returning after a break for puppy training, broken toes, home schooling and new jobs! We had some new friends join - always great. Then we had the friends we had only said 'Au Revoir' to last Friday at the end of the last Pop Up. For some it was a reunion with their old friend the Yoga mat. It didn’t matter though, as we all started the experience of this new Pop Up together at 7.30am on Tuesday ( 8.30am for our French class members and somewhere in the middle of the night for our friend Patty in Virginia, USA !) and the connection formed between us with the first collective breath.
Joining a group can be a little terrifying. I'd like to tell Rachel & Co that it's much easier to join from behind a screen though than walk into a crowded room! However, the chances are that everyone, whether virtual or in person, understands how you are feeling, having also chosen to come along at some point and there is therefore no judgement involved. The only judge is You! This may still be you on your first day though...
We humans do love to worry, good reason or not!
Coming back to something familiar can oddly seem more difficult than trying something new. It puts a pressure on us, or rather we put a pressure on ourselves to pick things up exactly as we left them. Like meeting old friends, it doesn't always happen immediately. The solution is usually to relax! Release all that pressure and expectation and you will be free to go back to who you were and where you were before. Over the last few years I have been able to meet up with my dearest old school friends and yes, there are a few more wrinkles between us, but these disappear when we get together. We become in each others' eyes those teenagers again, sharing old jokes and literally laugh the years away.
It's very like that when you find yourself back on your Yoga mat. The muscle memory, if sometimes a little less flexible is still there somewhere! The Sanskrit names are just as confusing as ever they were! Down Dog, Cat/Cow and all those good old friends are just a recognisable though and finding the connection to the Breath again can shed us of all worries we have carried since the last meeting. It may be days, it may be 17 years like our Friends at Central Perk, but that great feeling of being together and connected with Friends old and new is what we humans live for, on and off the mat!
I'll leave the last words for today to my very favourite Philosopher and in my view, a wise, old Yogi.....
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