Galveston, Texas: Flattened in 1905 by a massive hurricane, home to the University of Texas Medical Branch and your basic south Texas beach town. Not the type of place you would look for yoga.
But I was in Galveston and I found myself wandering around downtown towards my favorite coffee shop, Mod. I found myself at loose ends because I was there to visit my sister and she was at lab working on finishing up her thesis. I noticed that right next to Mod was a new place that looked oddly like a yoga studio. I knocked on the door and a lady opened the door.
“Are you Sharon?”
“Nope, I am not, but do you offer yoga in addition to pilates?”
“I am afraid not, but just down the street at Market is Yoga Haven and they have the best yoga on the island. If you would like a schedule Mod has them.”
I walked off to get my coffee with a big smile on my face. I grabbed the flyer at Mod and ordered my coffee and sat down to study the schedule. There was a class at 10 a.m. the next day. The next morning it was pouring. As I drove to yoga, I have to say, I wasn’t expecting much. I was just hoping for a chance to stretch out and just be at bit. As I waited in my car for a break in the rain, I peered through the rain to study the building in front of me. Galveston was once a very prosperous port town, but since the big hurricane of 1905 it has been a bit empty. In certain parts of the island, I always feel like I am wandering through a ghost town of empty buildings where people once lived and dreamed. The yoga studio was on one of these such empty blocks with many big building lined up side by side.
The rain finally broke and I ran out of the car and across the street. I opened the door and the scent of incense met my nose. I stepped further in and looked around. The inside was warm and inviting with high ceilings and a large expanse of wood floor beckoned from the studio further in. An older gentleman came up to me,
“Are you new here?”
“Yes,” I replied. “I am in town for the week and saw your flyer at Mod.”
“How you have a regular yoga practice at home?”
I told him that I did and we talked more about where I was in developing my yoga practice and previous injuries. He was warm and genuinely seemed to want to know my yoga related history so that he could help me with the class he would lead. As I talked to him and the other students, I remembered just what can be good about Texas and Texans: they lack the need to be “busy and important” as so many on the East Coast do, but instead are straight forward, honest and are just enjoying the here and now of what this particular moment in life has to offer. I went into class feeling warm inside and protected. The teacher led us through a class that seemed to just fit what I needed that particular day. I left with that lovely calm grounding feeling that yoga leaves in me: that there was good in the world and that I had a piece in it.