I took a yoga class a few years ago. There were many different sizes and abilities doing the pretzel-like positions, led by a pretty fatly instructor. (She had to fight for her yoga degree/license because the governing board didn't think she could do the sport/exercise justice. She won.)
I've never been back and have zero desire to do yoga ever again.
People burped and farted... a "release" those in the yoga-know say; they chuckle and roll their eyes at me when I scrunch up my face at the distaste of it all. "At least I didn't fart in class," I want to say every time. Inside my head I add, "Because if I had, class would have adjourned toot sweet."
During that fateful class, I tried my damn'dest to "settle my mind," to think of nothing, to just be. But, I kept thinking of the Coco's on the corner and how they have the best pies in the morning and if I slipped out right. about. now., I could probably get a slice of hot cherry pie with whipped cream swirled on top.
"Oh, for crying in a bucket, Barb. You're supposed to be quieting your inner thoughts!"
"Quiet, quiet, quiet, shhhhh, shhhhh, shit, shit, shit... I suck at this, I suck at this, I suck at this, why am I here anyway?!"
I make up songs in my head as I consciously shove pie a la mode out of my head. I want to be shoveling it into my head via my mouth.
I remember I laid on my back a lot. Or sat up tailor sitting. Others had the agility and skill to stand like cranes or do a variety of animal-named poses; cat and downward dog are the only ones I can ever recall because kids and pregnant women do them a lot. My fat body seemed crippled compaired to these other yogatheletes, so I "breathed" and "cleansed" and thought about pie.
Oh. My. God. Class was fucking for-EVER long, too. I seem to have picked the longest yoga class in history. I kept waiting for the Guinness people to come punch our cards saying we were going to make it into the World Record books.
F-I-N-A-L-L-Y, class ended. "Namastes" were whispered and nodded back and forth and, goddess bless, I was excused to go shovel pie.
I'm on the sidelines watching people ooohh and ahhh about yoga, the latest hula hoop craze (oh, and those are back, too) to make it really big. I wonder what my great-grandkids will think about yoga, will they chuckle at the contortions and exhortations? Or will yoga be like Tai Chi is in China; the national wake-me-up.
In some ways, it's a drag being on the outskirts of a popular activity like this. I am not hip to the lingo, can't wear the tight-fitting, but queerily cute clothes and, for criminy's sake, I can't even do the basic shut-the-head-up exercise.
I was sitting at the beach the other day, pondering my yoga aversion, wondering what I do do to quiet my mind. Do I? Can I?
My breath slowed as I dreamily walked into a laboring mama's home, the curtains drawn, the chanting (fill-in-the-blank) music accompanying her waves of moans, sensuality thick in the air. I could see myself next to, and never taller than, her if I could help it, breathing long and deep... in... in... in... hold... hold... out... out... out. Woman smells swirl around the select few invited into the sanctified space. They are holy to me. Holier than any incense I've smelled in muted churches around the world.
Sitting here, writing this, I am softer, slower, very careful of what comes out of my mind without being a cruel editor. My heart, always sappy, has melted into an oozing, flowing, enveloping, crystalline mass of feelings... feelings that all lead towards the laboring mother and her soon-to-be-born baby. I am her sentry, quietly "holding the space"... sitting with a clarity I don't have in the outside/real world. This attuned place keeps me alert, even when I am exhausted; I note time passing, yet it is never anything but right now that exists.
When I realized that Birth was my Yoga, I breathed a huge sigh of relief that, finally, I had worked my way into the yoga club. I might not be pulling my leg up behind my head or leaning over, balancing on tippy-toes, but I am, just as precariously balanced, in that place that serves women and families... while, at the same time, helping all of us in the vicinity to stay here on earth while also touching the strands of heaven... all at the same time.