I like the idea of yoga (like with parks,) but it’s not for me.
I used to do gymnastics. I’m very flexible, so it’s not that.
I guess I get a little bored. I’d rather be moving fast, like running or doing something with fast music – like step aerobics. But mostly, I don’t like the elitist attitude. And before you tell me it’s not elitist, I’ll tell you some stories.
The very first time I took a yoga class, it was in the mid 90’s in New York with my friend Nancy. She was obsessed with yoga and told me how much I’d love her class. I think her exact words were, “It’s the greatest yoga class on the planet.”
When we got there, Nancy went in to find a spot and I went to the bathroom. When I came out, some person stopped me; I assumed she worked there. “You should take of your glasses and put them in a locker, so no one steps on them.” I’d ripped a contact that morning. I was in my mid 20’s. I put my glasses in a locker. I was legally blind.
I could see enough to realize that by the time I’d gotten into the yoga room, it was very crowded. Nancy’s blonde hair and blurry body were on a blob of color I assumed was a mat, in the middle of the room. I carefully walked towards her. “Sorry, I couldn’t save you a spot,” she said.
Some one called out, “There’s a spot here.” I followed the direction of the voice only to be beat out by another spot seeker.
I shuffled around with my fraying, borrowed yoga mat until I got to a corner of the room that had a little floor space. “Excuse me,” I said to the bald man in a black long sleeved unitard, “Can you scootch over a bit so I can squeeze in here?”
The man didn’t look so happy (I can see better up close,) but moved over anyway, leaving me a very tight area for my mat.
The teacher had already begun speaking, “Those of us who do yoga have elevated souls.” she was saying. “You know this because you are here. We are the ones who will soar beyond. Our spirits will transcend this life.”
As she spoke, I noticed black unitard man getting into Indian style (or criss cross apple sauce, as you are supposed to say now or lotus position as I believe it’s called in yoga.) I copied him.
“Those people who do NOT do yoga, well…” she laughed with disdain, “they are not enlightened. Their souls will not travel into the next dimension.”
Um, I was offended. Clearly, she didn’t know my soul and that was a pretty rude thing to say. I looked to black unitard man and he was eating it up and from what I could tell, so was everyone around me, blurrily. A loud disconcerting noise hissed right behind me, followed by a lot of clanging. I was right by the wall and couldn’t tell where it was coming from.
The teacher started calling out poses for the enlightened students to get into. I looked to bald unitard man for instruction, but couldn’t quite figure out the logistics. “Where’s your right arm?” I whispered to bald unitard man. He glared at me then looked back at his focal point. Not in a helping mood, I guess. I copied him into various positions. But god it was hot in there. Like miserable hot. Then, I heard the sound that everyone one dreads in such a warm, close quarters – a fart. It was sputtery and long. It was coming from bald unitard man. A few seconds later, I got the smell. I’m not going to describe the smell but suffice it to say, it was truly unpleasant. Bald unitard man made no indication that he was sorry/embarassed he’d let one go.
It continued to get hotter and hotter and I realized that this was probably on purpose. I was a big Billy Blanks Tae Bo kick boxing person and they turned the heat up there sometimes… but nothing like this. Billy’s had central heat and air (which they’d turn on during cool down) and this place had a steamy, New York heater right behind me. Being a California native, I didn’t really even know what it was, at first.
I was the only non transcendent spirit in the hot, smelly, blurry, room and I wasn’t feeling so well. I wanted to leave.
The teacher was making her rounds to check everyone’s form. When she got to bald unitard man, she said, “beautiful.” He lifted his head higher with pride. She looked at me and said, “No,” like she was talking to a dog. She moved my body around a bit. With her face near mine I saw she had bad skin and a nose ring. Her hair was long and brown and she wore a flowy dress over tights. She wasn’t actually doing any yoga herself, just instructing. She was a large woman. “Hold it like that,” she told me. She may have had garlic breath.
“It’s my first time doing yoga,” I told the teacher.
She nodded and walked on.
OK, so now I was in this uncomfortable pose… and I was holding it…. was I worthy of an elevated soul yet?
“Headstands,” the teacher announced.
Ah, this I could do, I thought. I was an ex gymnast and was very good at handstands so I was sure I could do a headstand.
Bald unitard man farted again.
The teacher circled around to me, “Let me help you with this,” she said.
“Oh, thanks,” I replied. I was going to impress her, actually. I was going to be pretty good at the headstand.
The teacher came around to spot me and…
I kicked up into a headstand (gymnastics style) thus whacking my foot into her nose ring. She screamed and fell backwards onto a few other students, pushing me down so that I rolled over my hand, spraining two fingers.
The yoga teacher got up off the floor, winced in pain, the other students who’d been hit got all upset and fingers were pointed in my direction. Me; the spiritually common one. My fingers throbbed in pain. “I’m so sorry,” I said loudly in the direction of all the injured.
No one responded. I couldn’t see, but I felt eyeball daggers.
Somehow, class ended and I found my glasses and Nancy. We walked out to the street. “Wasn’t that just the best class you’ve ever taken?” Nancy asked.
I kept trying yoga because I know it’s supposed to be good for you and so many people who do it look great. I have many more yoga stories for you… some prenatal and others….