Bali in 27

Style: Ashtanga
Teacher: Michael Dynie
Studio: Rama Lotus

Now that was awkward. Tonight I managed to bring someone with me to yoga who has never tried it. I had to basically drag him there but in the end it was mostly voluntary. Anyway, this friend, Chris, has never really done yoga and doesn't really know anything about it. I was able to get him in a studio once. It was a wall-to-wall packed Bikram class and he absolutely hated it. This time around I decided a low-key, evening Ashtanga would be more his style. Not only is it one of my favourite classes, I thought it would work because it's straight to the point and the physical benefits can be felt right away. As soon as we unrolled our mats, I was suddenly unbelievably self-conscious. All of a sudden the whole thing was weird. Yoga is weird. Exercising with people is weird. Chanting is weird. It's like I was seeing the experience through someone else's eyes, some theoretical, hypothetical, self-imagined yoga-hater. I felt myself cringing as the class moved through the first three Om's. I could feel the blood rushing to my face and I was probably blushing so intensely that I thought I might permanently burn my skin. Trust me, it's not impossible to Om through clenched teeth, but it does produce an out of key, awkward warble which did nothing to alleviate the embarrassment. I sounded like a lost cat with a hangover. Even in the poses I had no concentration. My mind was suddenly a fist-pumping frat boy wondering "dude, don't they do yoga in India? Let's grab a beer." The whole thing was a hokey, superstitious mess, something you might do in a cult and a complete waste of time.

When the class was over I couldn't even ask him how his experience was. I disappeared out of the room quickly, alone. After changing and getting back outside, I took a deep breath of fresh air and tried to shake off my adolescent insecurities. I don't care how the world sees me. If something is different it's instantly weird. I can't cater to the infinity of conflicting perspectives. Everyone kills everyone else because they can't agree on anything. Now everyone is scared to be themselves. They choose one of a few pre-constructed personalities then try to live by the corresponding rule book. I can only live for me. I'll be uniquely myself until my death. It was at this point Chris interrupted my internal motivational speech.

"Class was pretty cool tonight. I think I'll come back with you next Wednesday."


Anonymous said...

I like Chris and I love your honesty. Think we have all been there. What we perceive to be happening around us based on our reactions is not always the real unfolding. k

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