March 1, 2012

A Little Love Letter to the Class Douchebag.

Dear Arrogant Asshole on the blue mat,

When I say that you were my first, I’m not being coy.

Truly sweetie, you’re the first utter douchebag I’ve ever had in yoga class.

I’ve been doing this yoga thing for years, yet I’ve never experienced someone quite like you.

Admittedly, Bikram is the kind of yoga that is most likely to attract “asshats” like you, but even after these many months, it seems that you still don’t get how our hot yoga works. Bikram’s not like other yoga; it even gets criticized for not being like other yoga. But we Bikram yogis like it the way it is.

Photo: Ashley Thalman

And here’s how it is: You move as a group.

For real. When the teacher says “Change!”—sometimes with a sharp, offensive, militant clap—you change, dammit. You don’t just stay in the posture, showing off your delts (which, dude, aren’t as hot as you think they are). In Bikram, the “moving as one unit” thing is a thing. And if you don’t like it, if you insist on being the only person in a room of 50 who is late in and out of ever single posture, maybe this ain’t for you.

Yet I digress, ’cause this is a love letter, and I should probably go on about why I love you . . .

I may cringe when I see you walk into the studio in your special haughty way, but I have to love you right then.

‘Cause when you walk through the door, well, it’s then that the real yoga begins.

Without you, my practice is just too easy. I do the poses. I breathe. Sure, I may be doing it all in 104 degrees with 35 percent humidity, and that can be grueling, but compared to when you’re in the room, the basics are cake.

When you are there, I get to practice the kind of yoga that’s especially useful off the mat: ignoring things that piss me off, breathing through stress, focusing on my own issues.

I get to see what in-through-the-nose, out-through-the-nose can teach me. And I get to work against my natural inclination, which is to get personal and competitive and think things like “Your Standing Bow’s a wobbly joke” and “If you think that Full Locust looks good, wait’ll you see mine, punk.” It’s best that I overcome such hateful things, and you—you generous sonofabitch, you—you give me that opportunity.

Photo: Ashley Thalman

So dearest douchebag of the blue mat, thank you.

Thank you for the flagrant disrespect you show the teacher and the class as you do whatever you want from the room’s dead center. Thank you for disregarding the teacher’s request that you stay with the class. Thank you for setting decibel records as you honk your monumental nose into tissue after tissue and toss them onto the floor instead of discretely tucking them under your mat and towel like the rest of us.

Just thanks, man. You’re the real deal.

The divine in me is doing her damnedest to locate the divine in you, I swear it. So—



Author has been given permission to use photos from: Ashley Thalman Photography.


Editor: Brianna Bemel

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