Yoga for the Civics-Challenged

Yoga Stretching
Photo by Steven Depolo (Creative Commons license)

The word she was looking for was “self-evident.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” and so on and so forth. No one held these truths to be sacred or special or far out. They held them to be self-evident. I’m sorry to belabor the point, but if you’re going to stand up and give a speech implying that your yoga class is in some way akin to declaring independence from England, you should get the quote right. You should also know this is not the opening line. I know I’m being picky again, but the declaration actually begins by discussing the dissolution of political bands, which is, after all, the point of the thing.

Also, you’re an idiot.

I’m sorry to be so harsh. It’s unlike me. But seriously? You’re teaching a yoga class. From looking around me, the only independence anyone there was declaring was an independence from personal grooming.

It was my own fault. I have a particular yoga studio I always go to. It specializes in working with runners and triathletes and such. That changes things. It’s really more like having a group physical therapy appointment. We’re all in training for something, and we’ve all hurt something. We are the walking wounded. No one chants. Ever.

But you have to mix it up, right? There was this other studio near me and they had this special and…and…and…

I was first in the class. I sat down on my mat in front of the door and watched the other students file in. I had only one thought. “These are not my people.” I sometimes feel this way in Berkeley. There’s too much granola and karma-worry. It makes me snarky. It’s not my best side. I’m working on it.

I’m almost certain the woman beside me was wearing her pajamas. She definitely had not combed her hair. Someone else bent over in short shorts and shoved her butt in my face. Someone else had rolled in patchouli, which smells like butts, so at least we had a theme.

After we had that five minute lecture that left me weeping for civics education in this country, I was asked to choose my intention for the class and then chant. The teacher suggested my intention might be that I wanted to be one with my breath cycle. I was pretty sure my intention was to strengthen the stabilizer muscles around my right knee.

It’s hard to chant for that.

For the record, I tried. I was, after all, a Girl Scout. Scouts try.

Then she asked me to make the sound of the ocean in the back of my throat. And that’s really when I checked out. I decided to change my intention to “at least I’ll get a blog post out of it.” That really helped when I had to hop like a bunny and pretend I was a multi-armed Hindu god. Not, fortunately, at the same time.

My knee was not helped. I hope my blog was. If so, I pray that it is self-evident.