“I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”
~ Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
Sometimes you can’t practice yoga without the dirty devil watching.
If you’re a city girl like me, you’re used to chaos in the streets, loud noise and organized confusion. People out there are awfully angry, prone to hysteria over the smallest thing. That 12 minute drive to the yoga studio alone can put you over the edge. Even a line seven people deep at Starbucks has the power to destroy your soul if you let it. It’s three in the afternoon, doesn’t anyone have to be at work?
It seems things just keep getting louder and noisier. Not that I’d be able to tell; I have what we in the bar biz call “club ear” from working in too many rock venues.
But even if your hearing is shot, you can still be sensitive to a whisper…
Hey lazy, you better go to yoga before your organs harden like fossils and your spine disintegrates into a sad pile of ashes.
Not what you want to hear.
He’s back again, the gravelly-voiced little troll on you’re shoulder, the fiendish master of temptation who would sooner lead you to bloody slaughter than allow you to find a fucking moment peace at yoga. It was just a murmur, a familiar muttering from that dark place inside where we all find ourselves at one time or another, but you definitely heard it. Even if you do fear the reaper, this freakish hellion will drive you to sin.
Damn, it’s only 7:30 in the morning, and you’re already feeling murderous. And while you’re minding your own business putting on your yoga pants and looking for your shirt, there he goes again: On second thought, maybe you shouldn’t go. You suck at yoga. Fatty.
You grab your mat and make a fast getaway before you can change your mind. And the whole way down to the studio, you’re hoping to god people aren’t already there, so you can get your spot. And…fuck. Wishful thinking. It’s front row center for you. They’re all gonna laugh at you.
It’s not easy, but you sit for the opening meditation and try to leave all your annoying distractions at the door. But all you can think about is coffee. Obviously you’ve had more than enough, but you’re caffeine addiction is way out of control these days.
They should put an espresso bar in every yoga studio. It’s the glue that holds some of us together.
Soon enough, you’re in Adho Mukha Svanasana. A minute and a half later and son-of-a-bitch, you’re still in Adho Mukha Svanasana. You’re being tortured. And you’re getting pissed. You try to breathe through it. You should just leave. Go. You still suck.
Anxiety and self-loathing are swirling inside you. Would it be so bad to take a smoke break and score some donuts from the place across the street? Your mind is spinning; it’s whizzing faster than the speed of Space Mountain. But this ain’t no E ticket, friends. After a few deep breaths you decide to stay, mostly because you’re still breaking in your $110 new Manduka mat, which smells like burning plastic.
What started as a little tickle in your ear is now a full blown howl of the beast. And you’re convinced he’s looking down your top.
This is stupid. You’re just a chick from West L.A. You should stick to sleeping ’til noon and rotting away on the couch. Now go home and relax, have a drink. Maybe “The Omen” is on.
Things have reached a fever pitch. And if the demon on your shoulder looked anything like Tyler Durden, you might be tempted to misbehave…what a lovely way to burn.
“The sinner is always so much more interesting than the saint.”
~ Susan Schaeffer
There comes that point in every yoga class when something, some kind of remarkably powerful, witchy life force rolls in like a heat wave and all of a sudden, you’re moving and sweating and gliding through every hairpin curve of the Surya Namaskar B. A warrior would never listen to a satanic pig talking smack in his ear, would he?
Somewhere, between heaven and earth, beyond all the Vinyasas, the hip openers and the self-sabotaging, there’s a place where the fear of staying in one place becomes worse than the fear of moving forward. Maybe that’s why I have trouble in Savasana; I find it more than a little confrontational. It’s just too fucking quiet.
They say every evil brings its own remedy. If I could throw acid in the face of that trash talking imp on my shoulder, I would. The soft approach was never my thing. But I’ll find my own way; I know myself, and I’m not afraid of that fiery, bottomless pit where some folks are destined to end up. I’ll just Chaturanga my way toward the light.
So take that, Satan! You lose!
By the time class is over, you realize the little bastard hasn’t said anything for a half an hour. Everything inside has settled, like water settles. You make it home, go straight to the kitchen and the first thing you find to eat is an apple.
Dig in, silly mortal. Apples are good for you.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: Marina Avila/Deviant Art; elephant archives