Thursday, October 28, 2010

No Joy In Yoga (written by Cindy Clarke)

Me?  Shallow?  Hmm.  I wasn't always this way.  There was a time when I was on my own spiritual path.  I was connecting to nature.  I smelled the roses, hugged a few trees.  I was on good terms with the universe.  I collected small buddha's, placing them around my house and rubbing their bellies for good luck.   I went to psychics and transcendentalists and received messages from the other side.  I attended "do good" and "feel good" seminars.  I complimented strangers.  At Broadway shows I would often give up my spot on the ladies room line to anyone who was squeezing their legs tighter than mine.  I even ate lots of iron rich vegetables and drank smoothies.  Bergdorf Goodman was no longer calling my name.  I discovered Canal Street.  I was on a journey, and doing quite well with it.  But then something happened.  I decided to take up  yoga. 
It was about six years ago.  I had a problem with my hip.  My doctor said it was an arthritic condition treatable by drugs.  After one month of being on the drugs and countless hours of physical therapy all I felt was frustration.  I decided to take matters into my own hands.  I enrolled in a local and well-respected yoga studio just outside of my neighborhood.  When I walked through the door I sensed a calm in myself that I never felt before.  After two months of down dogs and other animal inspired poses, my hip problem was history.  I was hooked.  I would sometimes walk into class feeling like an eighty year old and walk out feeling like eighteen.  It didn't take long for me to feel like a yogi.  I immersed myself in yoga journals and attended workshops.  I became a Rodney Yee groupie.  I had a coming out party for my feet.  I always had this thing about my toes.  I was never one to put them out there for the world to see.  But now, my once a month yoga pedicure gave me the confidence I needed to throw caution to the wind and take off those socks.  I even spent ninety dollars on a yoga mat that was so heavy, it unfortunately, spent most of its time in the trunk of my car.  And so, the years passed and I was happily doing my yoga and trying to convert friends along the way.  I was planning my trip to India.  But, then it happened.  Just like a bowl of Rice Krispies my body started to snap, crackle, and pop.
I used to think that yoga cured everything, from arthritic hips to a bad hair day.  I couldn't accept the fact that yoga might be the cause of some of the aches and pains that I was experiencing.  Not my beloved yoga.  But, then I got to thinking.  Before certain postures the teachers would say, "Don't do this if you have knee problems."  "Don't do this if you have neck problems."  "Don't do this if you have shoulder   problems," and so forth.  One teacher came right out and said, "This is bad for the knees."  Wait a minute!  My Knees, neck and shoulders all bothered me.  Could yoga be the cause?  I have a doctor friend who won't practice yoga because every time he took a class he pulled his back out.  Now, I know I am being politically incorrect here but maybe he has a point.  Maybe I have had too much yoga wear and tear.  Of course, there are those that swear by it.  Just like I did.  But when I ask around, I find more and more people, good people, who are living under the yoga radar, hiding out in aerobic and spinning classes, refusing to go to any restaurant that serves fusion cuisine.
I have lost my focus.  In my daily life, no one has to tell me to breathe.  I do that all by myself many times a day, with total success.  But in yoga class, if the teacher forgets to tell me to exhale, I don't.  Not good for my health.  Meditation gives me anxiety.  It forces me to think of all the things I need to do that day.  
I also have some yoga pet peeves.  For some reason, a lot of people blow their nose in yoga.  Now, that alone is okay, but they always put that used tissue right next to their mat.  I don't like looking at that and wondering what is growing inside.  Feet.  As I mentioned before I am not a foot person, and it's not like my feet are ready for their close-up.  But when someone's feet are in my face, which happens often in yoga, I've started doing foot examinations.  People need to take better care of their feet!  
Flatulence, I know, I know, it's a hush hush word.  Especially for women.  No one did it, heard it or smelled it.  But everyone's doing it.  There are some poses in yoga that create the perfect environment and opportunity to just let it out.  That's okay.  It happens.  I'm not complaining.  After all, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.  But come on.  After one or two rounds lady, get a grip, tighten those buns and bear the pain.  
Lately, I find myself peeking at the clock.  Not good.  I have also been comparing myself to what others are doing.  A big no-no in yoga.  
Hold on!  Before you throw those props at me.  I admit it.  I am having a yoga nervous breakdown.  I need a yoga therapist. I need to go into yoga rehab.  I need help!  Actually, what I probably need is......YOGA.....Namaste, I think.     

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