Yoga and Everyday People

May 23, 2010 By: Michael E. Crowley Category: Mind Body Spirit, Yoga

Namaste Print by Cara Gardner

Namaste by Cara Gardner

When I left off last week I was scuttling around the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport hoping for a last-second reprieve from having to fly to Chicago.  My wife was holding my hand a bit tighter than usual as we waited in the terminal to soothe my nerves.  More and more frequently prior to boarding, my wife and I would break into a well-rehearsed question-and-answer routine:  “People do this every day?” I would ask.  She would respond in the affirmative:  “People do this every day.

Repeating that phrase helped me see that, on entering the aircraft, I would become part of a community of millions of people who would all, barring the rare accident, get where they were going and would return home again on a daily basis.  Some nights before the trip I imagined an ongoing stream of airplanes sailing over my head, filled with people already doing what I was planning to do.

Yoga provided me with many benefits on this last trip besides the strength to carry heavy luggage up and down subway stairs or the calm to manage a phone interview with a potential employer on my last day in Chicago. In addition to the quote by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn from Healing and the Mind that I posted last week, I found an explanation of yoga in the same interview that I hadn’t heard before.

Dr. Kabat-Zinn said that the word yoga “…comes from the ancient Indian Sanskrit language, and it means ‘yoke’…’Yoga’ refers to yoking together the individual mind and the totality of the universe…In other words, you experience yourself not as a separated, individual billiard ball bouncing around with all these other billiard balls, but as part of a larger whole, and at the same time, whole yourself.

The understanding that my fellow passengers and I were all simply people trying to go somewhere, and the calm that connection provided, went a long way towards overcoming my fear of flying. I relied on hard facts and statistics as well but yoga helped me by showing me that people are doing things like flying, or being mindful and kind and aware, every day.  People do it every day.  And if they can do it, then with help, guidance, and practice, so can I.

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4 Comments to “Yoga and Everyday People”

  1. Michael what a wonderful way to approach the fear of flying! Thank you for reminding us that whenever we drop the ego and identify with our highest self – that which is connected to all other beings, we are more readily able to find peace in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.

  2. Michael, this is a great article. It is very brave to face your fears and forge on through! It inspires me to do the same. Great job. And I’m sure glad you came to Chicago!!!!

  3. Thank you Michael. I love your posts and insights and love your relationship to yoga. Thank you for your presence.

  4. michael crowley says:


    Thank you so much for the kind words! I love writing for the site, and I’m so glad to have been allowed to be a part of such a great community.


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