The cult of early and the race for calm

I do a weekly yoga class, to help with my rage and anxiety issues, which are many and legion. The class starts at 9:30am. I usually find myself leaving the house slightly later than planned, but getting into the building roughly on time and then bounding up the three flights of stairs like a much younger person. Then I get into the room and see everybody else already there, lying on their mats as if they’ve been there for centuries. And I feel awkward and embarrassed about being late, so I kick off my shoes, get my mat out, go to switch my mobile phone off – and then spot from the time display that it’s still 9:25am. I’m in the room and ready a full five minutes before the start of the class, yet I feel stressed about being late because most of my fellow yoga practitioners are so fucking early, every time.

I once tried turning up at 9:15am, a full fifteen minutes before the start of the class. That’s early to the point of being sodding rude, in my worldview; what if the teacher needs that time to prepare in peace? But it made no difference. The fuckers were still already there, stretched out on their mats like beached whales. There’s only one person who ever arrives after me and she’s my favourite person in the class because I suspect her of having an interesting life.

I’m the youngest person in the class and I think I’m the only one who works full-time, which may have some bearing on this. I’ve written in passing about how older people seem to get up naturally early (hell-o, have you SEEN them queueing outside the post office before it opens?) and how the fewer responsibilities you have, the less sleep you need. I’m also the only person in the class who doesn’t travel there by car, which makes my journey slightly more difficult; there’s a free car park less than a minute’s walk away from the building, while the nearest bike parking is further away and you have to cross several busy roads to get from it.

Many people would say that I should stop moaning about the factors outside my control and just start leaving the house early enough to get to the class as early as everybody else. But it winds me up. Why agree a start time at all if nobody’s going to respect it? If the class started at 9:15am or 9am, I would be there for 9:15am or 9am. But why the fuck should I turn up at 9am if the class is scheduled to start at 9:30am? It’s dishonest and frankly loopy behaviour. Do you think you’re going to attain enlightenment faster by swapping 20 minutes lying in bed for 20 minutes lying on a mat?

This morning, I was actually bona fide late for the first time ever – as in, I got through the door at 9:31am. And the beached whales were all lying there, smugly doing their deep breathing. And you know what I wanted to do? I wanted to run around the room kicking them all as they lay there and screaming at them. So yes, the yoga is really helping with my rage and anxiety issues.

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