Originally published by our elephriends over at Recovering Yogi on January 6, 2011.
The fast road to enlightenment.
By Nadine Fawell
The Fast Road to Enlightenment (it’s not a journey…)
I’m not entirely sure my boyfriend ‘gets’ my yoga. OK, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t. He still thinks Down Dog is foreplay. Often, he takes PHOTOS of me while I’m doing my practice. Yeah, I know. Too much information, right?
He won’t do yoga either, unless we call it ‘stretching out’. And when we are ‘stretching out’, his preference is for poses where he REALLY feels the stretch, like some of the hamstring stretches, or ones he can’t quite do – arm balances, say.
If there’s no challenge, no burn, he’s not interested. It’s that way in the rest of his life too: he works insanely hard. He rides fast motorbikes to relax. Yup, those are his zen moments, going way too fast on two wheels.
And yet, he’s often more yogic than me, and he’s certainly better at handling the nastiness of life: more logical, more resilient. I went to him the other day, tail between my legs, because someone had left a slightly nasty response to my blog about how my body doesn’t bend right for yoga (when it was on Elephant Journal). She’d said I obviously need a lot more YOGA if I’m still hung up on my ass.
‘Well, babe,’ he said, ‘nobody’s perfect. You know you need to do yoga every day. Imagine how boring it would be if we WERE all perfect!’
He also said he liked my ass. Oh, wait, too much information again. Oops.
Back to the nobody’s perfect thing. Why didn’t I think of that? How is it that I do so much yoga practice, and yet I need my bike-riding, speed-obsessed boyfriend to point out to me that bitchiness from yoga people is no different than from any other people. We are all just human, and flawed.
He’s never heard of it but he’s basically just talking about the yogic concept of Purnam, or wholeness, isn’t he?
Purnam: even though we are all whole and perfect on some level, we are all uniquely flawed too.
Like a bike with scraped up farings. Doesn’t make it any less of a bike. In fact, if you were my boyfriend, you’d probably be pretty excited about those scrapes, if you got them in an interesting way.
Also, they’d give you an excuse to go out to the garage and spend many happy hours disassembling, re-assembling, and generally tinkering with the bike. If the bike was perfect, there would be no fun to be had repairing it.
The man gets the yoga thing better than I do, goddammit!
Not fair. I mean, he has to bend his knees to touch his toes!
Doesn’t he know that means he doesn’t qualify for enlightenment?
It seems that he, Robert M. Pirsig (author of Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance), and all those other bike guys and gals, might be onto something. Alternative yoga, where the shit talk is generally lighthearted rather than earnest, and they tell each other where the speed cameras are. It’s odd: I sometimes think the motorbike folks have more of a community than we yogis, with our styles, our in-fighting, our earnestness.
About Nadine Fawell
Nadine Fawell’s edit button doesn’t work: if there is something inappropriate to be said, she will say it. Often in yoga class. She drinks coffee and swears and sometimes she thinks deeply about life. You can find her at www.yogawithnadine.com.
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