Previously published at Yoga Modern.com.
“Lie down, on your back, legs rolled open, arms slightly apart from the body, palms facing up…
“If you want to cover yourself with a blanket, or put a bolster under your knees, do that now. Close your eyes. Relax your body. Do a quick scan starting at your feet, and if you feel any tension in your body, just make a mental note to release it. Allow your breath to find its natural rhythm. Let your mind empty of thoughts.
“This is the time to let the positive benefits of the practice sink into your cells. Absorb into your very deepest being. This is where the transformation happens. Corpse pose is when you die to this very moment, allowing your “‘personality” to pause and the true essence of who you are, your pure Atma, or soul, to emerge.”
Your yoga teacher stops talking. There is some flute music and drumming coming from the stereo. Someone farts. Someone sneezes. You notice you are squeezing your eyes shut tight. You try to relax them. You want to fidget, but you refrain.
You do not feel relaxed. Someone starts snoring next to you. You want to hit them. Immediately you think, that is not very yogic of me.
You try to cultivate compassion. You do not feel compassionate. You wonder if it would be too disruptive to move your mat away from the snoring man next to you. Your foot falls asleep. You roll it back and forth, trying to be quiet. You really want to leave now.
You felt so good and sweaty doing all those asanas, and now you feel resentful that you are being forced to lie still, like a child at nap time in kindergarten.
That’s exactly how you feel right now. Like a child. Lie still. Lie still. Your mind is racing. Did you put enough money in the meter? It would really suck to get a parking ticket. Then whatever vestige of yoga calm you might have had will surely be gone.
You wonder if the health food store will still be open, and if they will have that organic chicken at the deli counter that you’re craving. You hear your stomach growl. No, it is not your stomach. It is the snoring man next to you who did a snore/cough/snuffle/gasp. You softly bang your sleeping foot on the floor. This is not “Eat, Pray, Love.” You do not feel released from your “monkey mind.”
She probably isn’t really happy either, you think, that world famous author. That guy she married probably doesn’t look anything like Javier Bardem. He probably drinks too much and doesn’t work, and is mildly depressed and using up all her book royalties while she tries to look happy for the press. She probably doesn’t meditate any more. It was just for a book, right? You think, did she really change her life.?
Once Oprah and Julia Roberts and the Forbes power rating came out, that meditation thing probably went right out the window. You wonder if this yoga teacher, what’s her name? Indira? Indigo? Inspired?
Why can’t they just call themselves Susan or Sally? Why do they have to go all “India?”
And with that stupid dot on her forehead. You want to take your thumb and rub it off. And could her yoga outfit be any smaller? You think she could at least put a real shirt on. It is so distracting to wonder if her tits are going to fall out when she demonstrates handstand. And come on, does she really think anyone is going to jump up onto their hands in the middle of the room like that?
Of course that hairy guy who wears perfume that smells like dirty socks tried it. He looked like a three year old. Oh, you catch your mind. There it is again, being anything but yogic. When will this damn nap end so you can get up and go home and take a hot shower and eat some food?
Enough with this self-improvement stuff, you have some serious work to get done tonight. You wonder again if you could just sneak out. But surely it must be over soon. Surely this has to end sometime.
And then Intrepid rings her stupid little gongs together. Now you just have to suffer through the ear cracking chants, and she’ll probably read some uplifting prayer. And then you’ll be free. Free to go. Free at last! You’ve got this yoga thing all figured out.
Lauren K. Walker runs the yoga program at Norwich University. Her article about teaching yoga there to military cadets was featured in The New York Times in April. You can find more of her work at LKWalker.com.
Editor: Anne Clendening
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