I’ve never been a very peaceful person, but I was trying to think of something to do to get me to chill the fuck out so, that is how yoga and I met again. My first experience with yoga was my mother dragging me along to classes because she was super into it and, as a former gymnast, I figured it would be easy as shit and would make her happy so I just did it. We even went to Bikram yoga together—the kind where the studio feels like a Las Vegas desert. It was really intense and had lots of breath exercises, so intense that 15-year old me was convinced that I breathed smoke from a joint from the day before out during a post-practice session of whatever the hell those hundred little breaths are called, I don’t know. Mom–if you’re reading this, my bad. Pretend 15 says 18 and we’ll call it a day. Now, my mom is a certified yoga instructor as a hobby outside of her career, so I figure it must be rewarding in some way. Deciding to go to a yoga class in 2014 was more of a “I just need to DO SOMETHING” rather than a “man, I wish I could find inner peace…oh wait, frickin’ yoga, duh!” so I dragged my roommate to a studio a few blocks from our house to begin a long journey of…not being a Netflix-zombie for an hour and a half?
The studio is clean and cute, and in a building that is essentially a dorm because hey, it’s Bushwick, aka post-collegiate campus of life. Luckily only 3 other students are attending with us, so we get to see everything and the teacher is super attentive and helpful in correcting our novice form. I go into this with a positive outlook, like hey, maybe I will find some sense of calm and be proud of myself for being somewhat active. I take the first few breaths and even quietly do the beginning of practice ohms (VERY. QUIETLY.) and as we go into our first downward-facing-dog (which in itself, tells you I shouldn’t be doing yoga with others because the phrase alone cracks me up) and think “this isn’t so bad.”
Then I heard a faint hissing of a radiator. No, wait. That’s just the girl in front of me. Breathing.
I carry on, assuming she’s just relieving a lot of stress.
No, wait. There it goes again. With nearly every pose that is sitting or laying down, I hear a sound reminiscent of my first Brooklyn apartment in the winter. A faint, shrill, whistle that kept me up every night, wondering what I did to deserve that sound. And now it has infiltrated my auditory canal in a supposedly sacred setting? I don’t think so. However, I feel it would be in poor taste to tell a practicing partner to close her nose and shut the fuck up, so I carry on. I listen carefully to see if the rest of the class is following suit. As far as I’m concerned, the rest of us may as well have been dead, because nothing more that a murmur escaped the lips of the other 4 people in the room.
I realize that one of the reasons I came to yoga in the first place was because I have a terrible temper and focusing on something like that would probably help me chill. So I force myself to pretend the lead vocalist of the Heat Steam Machines isn’t in the room, and as we lay in corpse pose (obviously my favorite, because I would rather lay down on the floor than do pretty much anything else) I look up at the ceiling and start to chill. “Wow.” I think to myself. “This tin ceiling is cool, but kinda weird….oh. Oh no. I get it.”
And then, for the rest of the class, every time we are in a pose on our backs, all I can think about is how there are hundreds of silver vaginas, staring down at me, begging me to say SOMETHING. Of all the tin tiles in the world, this is what you choose!? It takes every ounce of willpower I have to not laugh, but as I realize this, I look over at my roommate and once again Radiator Death March lets out some seriously loud airflow and of course, we both lose our shit. I can see it in her eyes: “Leigh, what the fuck are we doing here and why did you suggest this?” but we stifle our mouths and carry on with whatever salutation is occurring at the moment.
Just when I think my imagination cannot get any more off-topic, I notice the contraptions for the aerial yoga class. This leads me to think of people hanging from them like puppets.
It’s just like that N’SYNC video! Bye Bye Byeeeeee! Or…Ohm Ohm Ohm? It could turn into a very impressive dance number if sped up, right?
Moral of the story is: if you can’t get your brain to turn off and focus, yoga class is probably not for you. If you think everything is hilarious, yoga class is probably not for you. Better yet, if you are this type of person but think you are ready for a change, do not attend a class with a like-minded individual because you will not be able to control yourself if someone openly agrees with you on the level of ridiculousness that is a room with funny shapes and sounds. Apologies to anyone who takes their practice very seriously and I wish you the best of luck. I also hope you don’t breathe out like you’ve got the air supply of a thousand humans stuck in your lungs because your neighboring yogi-in-training probably HATES YOU.