It isn't always about your practice.

Sometimes, it is really about another person's mat.

I had very little desire to practice yesterday, but something was tugging at me to go to class.

I had spent 6 hours on a plane, and was beginning to feel the early signs of jet lag. That 4.30 class-but-it's-really-7.30-to-me feeling.

Also, I was pretty numb after two straight days of saying goodbye, watching people grieve, of hugging, of mourning. Death is draining on the living.

I went to class anyway. I don't really know why. The class is called Happy Hour Yoga (Fridays - 4.30 -Yoga Tree Valencia). As part of every single one of Pete's classes, the first minute of class is spent introducing yourself to the person next to you. I met my mat-mate - Cara - and then we settled into downward dog.

It is hard not to like Pete's class - no matter what mood you are in - particularly when he announces that he is challenging himself to make this "the best class ever."

I was feeling a little more myself on my mat when Pete started demonstrating inversions. I love a handstand. As we were working through handstand, Cara asked me if I would help her get up in to handstand on the wall. I didn't share with her that I'm not super talented at helping, but I was able to help her get up. Thanks to my Forrest friends who always ask "show me what leg you are kicking up" - no one was hurt.

I popped back up into my own handstand, as Cara watched. I laughed when she told me I was making it look easy. She should have seen me 6 months ago! Those who know my practice know that I really don't have that many fancy yoga moves :o)

I never offer anyone suggestions in class (I'm a student - not a teacher!) - but as I watched, I noticed that Cara was not keeping her head down as she tried to kick up. This was the biggest problem I had when I first started. I put my rings down on my mat as a spot to demonstrate how I kept my gaze down (compliments of Alex Austin) and mentioned that I always go up on an exhale (a Peter Crowley trick).

So Cara set herself up on her mat, this time spotting downward. I watched her try again and fall back - so close! And then once more. This time - she went up all by herself.

It was absolutely awesome to watch someone go into handstand on their own for the first time. I recognized the smile she had as she came down- it looked very similar to my smile when I did my first handstand last December.

She turned to face me - "You have no idea how that just changed my practice. I've been working on that for soooo long."

And I almost skipped class to feel sorry for myself on the couch. 

There are reasons beyond ourselves to practice. Yoga is about participating. Yoga is also about community - about sharing and being a part of something larger than you.

Nothing like Happy Hour to remind me of that.