Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Fierce Chairs, Drips and Bob Dylan
180.2 lbs. Not a word. Not a bloody word.
By the way, the “G” in Kenny G? Yeah; that stands for “GAG”! THAT is jazz like Britney Spears is hard rock. Monk, Davis, Gillespie, Brubeck, People. 88.1 KKJZ or www.jazzandblues.org online. Consider it homework. There will be a quiz. Duke Ellington? Extra credit.
Interesting sighting this morning: the actual edge of my rib cage. YES! I never thought I’d see it again and had been investigating the cost of putting its picture on a milk carton, but when I “fully engaged my core muscles” (formerly known as “sucked in my gut”), there it was! Well, the outline of where it will be. Nobody’s going to mistake me for Kate Moss, but at least I can see things that are supposed to be there and not just in my imagination. Happy dance, happy dance!
Well, I am stiff and sore in some interesting places. It was Yoga Day, aka Tibetan Twister (with an element of “Simon Says,” apparently. Never work ahead of a yoga instructor. They don’t like it).
Lila likes to start her class off with an invocation (just something else about her way of doing things that keeps me coming back) and told us that today’s class was about joy. I am usually quietly joyous in her class because I so enjoy being there.
There were the usual suspects and there were the usual greetings of “How’s your shoulder?” “That color looks great on you,” “Are you going to hit the Early Bird at Denny’s?” (well, it’s a mixed age/mixed ability group). We were settling in to our usual spots and oh joy, we are joined by about a half-dozen young women with noses in the air and who promptly set up camp at the front of the room and blocked my view of Lila (Remember, when it comes to learning yoga, I am Monkey See, Monkey Do. The more polite term is “reverse engineer.”) Lila even had to move one of them out of her spot. I had to interrupt my practice because one of these stuck-up floozies set up camp so close to my ALREADY ESTABLISHED mat that she nearly kicked me in the face.
And thus, we had our first round of Competitive Yoga. How do you play? Simple: it’s regular hatha yoga combined with looking contemptuously at the other students in the class. Oh and don’t make eye contact, don’t smile. Lila talks about our “sweet energy” that we bring to the room and they definitely didn’t have much sweetness.
Whatever. That’s their deal. I felt FANTASTIC after class. Seriously. I needed it. My upper back has been knotting up like a Boy Scout earning a merit badge (they used have to earn merit badges in tying knots, you know. How old are you? What are you doing here?) Given the tension I’ve been experiencing, I needed this. I needed it badly.
I was ready for standing poses today. I even practiced a bit before going to class. I could actually grab my foot and jam it into my crotch while standing. Yes! Grab my toe and extend my leg? Yeeeeah, not so much. But when we hit that Tree Pose, I was loaded for bear and ready to go.
Nope. Somebody cut down the forest. No Trees. A lot of Chair Pose, though. WE are told to "tighten up the perineum" while in Chair. Honey, I'm way ahead of you. Perineum, sphincter, anything to keep from interrupting the class.
How about this: Half Moon? Never heard of it? Let me enlighten you: get on all fours. So far, so good. Extend your right arm, palm facing inward. Okay. Now extend your left leg. AND HOLD. Just when you’re ready to go back to all fours, the new instruction comes: “Now extend that right arm to the side like you’re signaling for a turn and extend that left leg so it’s parallel to the arm.”
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME????? My wrists and shoulders are already screaming!!!! And this is the point where I nearly got kicked in the nose.
But, of course, if you’re advanced in your practice (I am not. Let’s just be clear. I am not an advanced yogi), you can always pull that leg off and really extend the right arm. Reattaching the leg is part of the vinyasa flow, especially if you can do it in Dancing Warrior (balanced on one foot. Not the one you removed).
What made this even more interesting was the musical background. Think it’s going to be sitars and chanting? A little “Gandhi” soundtrack with a dash of Ravi Shankar? Not so much. We regularly stretch and breathe with Pearl Jam. No, I’m not kidding. And the Beatles (which, if it’s “Here Comes the Sun” with George Harrison it just works. Come to think of it, we get a lot of cuts from “Abbey Road”). Today, the sound system cut out for a few minutes and cut back on with…Bob Dylan. Yeah. It was a slow tempo but, God love Bob, his voice has not improved with age. I caught a couple of eye rolls from the drop-in girls when Dylan came on. The regulars were desperately trying not to make eye contact with each other to stave off giggle fits (We’re bad. We’re really bad).
To emphasize the joy, along with the Pearl Jam (I have to investigate because the songs she chose were GREAT. And they did have Eastern instruments like tablas and sitar), she hit us with reggae. It wasn’t “Jammin’” or “Iron Lion Zion”, but it worked. Of course, I found myself in Down Dog not so much stretching and holding the pose as bouncing to the beat.
At the end of the class, the Drop In Drips all grabbed their mats and headed out the door without so much as a word to Lila or anyone else. It’s a shame, really. Why go to all the trouble of attending that class and working out if you’re not getting anything out of it?
Screw them: We of the Purple Mat Platoon (and it’s a variety of shades) shall return on Thursday and try not to make eye contact during Down Dog.