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A yoga practice in chaos

It’s been 13 hours so far. It’s hot and stuffy; busy with aggravated people, crying children, tired bodies and minds. Airport delays – that familiar situation and the accompanying sense of frustration, being trapped under the command of the airline, a continuous wait to embark on the journey ahead.

In amongst this chaos – where we are being challenged, pushed to our limits – is where I practice my yoga. No one sees or understands they are in their own world as I enter mine. I’m practicing my yoga but not my asanas. Here I find a comfortable position to sit in. I close my eyes and take a deep inhalation, feeling my lungs expand with air. I gently exhale as I allow my body to settle into a stable and balanced place.

Airport meditation
I begin to focus on my senses. I feel the cold, hard ground my body rests on, the fusty moistness of the air against my skin. I can smell the coffee being brewed in the departure lounge cafe and the mixed smell of perfumes from the airport store. The sounds are the most dominant: the mixture of voices, accents and languages that merge together to create a continuous muffle; children laughing and crying; announcements and calls for flights.

With my eyes closed I am in the middle of a jungle, in the mist of society.

I begin to draw in my senses, first noticing the noises farthest away and then drawing closer to me. I bring my focus closer and closer into myself until I can only hear the gentle flow of my own breath, feeling the air as it enters my body through my nose and then exits again as I exhale. I am withdrawing my senses, bringing my awareness within. I completely detach from the distractions of reality, distractions from my internal mind.

Now I am aware only of my breath – how it feels against my skin as I welcome it into my body, how it sounds and the rhythm of its flow. I notice it mirrors the ocean, the gentle flow of the waves against the shore. My breath becomes a part of this ocean. I understand I am a part of the world – integrated into the biorhythms of the universe. We are one. I am detached, light and free, sensing an overwhelming calmness, stillness… santosha.

To the eyes around I am resting, maybe sleeping. In actual fact I have left this realm, this reality. I no longer hear the voices, smell the perfumes, feel the moist air. I am comfortable, content, relaxed. I have surrounded myself with a beautiful and protective aura, fresh sea air, calming colours, I have entered my world, a haven of serenity experiencing all with my senses. I allow myself to lose concept of time as I float in my silent stillness.

I return as I begin to expand my senses, I feel the air, the cold ground. I hear the noises – the ones close by, then the ones furthest away. I inhale fully, noticing the scents in the atmosphere. I bring my palms together and rub them creating heat and energy between them. I cup my palms over my eyes and allow the generated energy to comfort my eyelids and stimulate the eyes. My eyes open softly in the blackness of my hands, and keeping the focus on my palms, I slowly move my hands away from my face without blinking as I allow my eyes to readjust and focus back into the world.

I look around – the people, the chaos. It is all still here, all around. I notice their energy, frustrations, as they focus on their final destination, they don’t stop to be aware of the journey we are experiencing.

I allow myself to merge back into this reality, understanding that i am from this world but not attached to it.

I am happy. I am light. I am detached as I hold my beautiful paradise within and project it out into the chaos for all to experience.


About the author

Emma MalarkeyWhen she isn’t studying yoga in India or exploring the world, Emma Malarkey teaches at Azul Yoga & Pilates Retreat always bringing back new inspiration for the team and guests. Her wide ranging yoga experience means her personal practice and teaching style incorporates many different styles, including traditional hatha, tantra, Mysore ashtanga, sivananda, iyengar, vinyasa, and more modern forms such as yin yoga and Bikram.