I spent the first ten years of my life in Buffalo, New York. These years included the Blizzard of ’77, which buried our AMC Pacer so much that not even a hump of the car was visible in the snow. While these years calibrated my snow tolerance meter, I was not old enough to be driving during them and don’t feel especially comfortable on the road in wintry conditions.
My Monday evening routine is so ingrained that with the prospect of wintry conditions this afternoon, I drove to Carrboro after walking the girls to school so that I would have our usual supply of Weaver Street Market bread for dinner tonight even if I couldn’t make it to the studio for class tonight. So by 4:30, with the roads still dry, I planned to head in to teach tonight, and posted my class plan to Twitter. At 5:30, I headed out, but before I even made it out of the neighborhood, I had second thoughts. Despite the brine on the roads, Highway 54 was showing signs of snow accumulation in the gutter. I called home and had Wes cancel my class; I called Lies and had her tell Alexandra to cancel Pilates. By the time I got to the studio, the Carr Mill lot was covered in snow. I went up to find a few students waiting.
As the rest of class filed in, I apologized and sent them all away with a free class pass. Anyone serious enough to show up for yoga in the snow deserves a treat! As I explained to them, with conditions worsening, I didn’t want to get them relaxed, inhibit their reflexes and reaction time, then send them into the wintry mix with other drivers who may not have learned to drive in conditions like those I grew up in. The decision I made as studio owner had to trump the one I made as teacher. Driving home, with the roads growing covered and traffic sporadic, I felt confident in my decision.
When you’re frustrated at the cancelations—especially if you are from colder climes—remember that precautions often seem silly until something bad happens. We can’t call it a Black Swan when predictions are for bad weather. Best remember the very first yama, the first principle of yoga philosophy: nonharming.