Warning: Adult language ahead.
There’s my mat, propped up in the corner. I’m not proud to say it, but it’s been there for a week. Yup.
It’s 7:15 in the morning when my alarm goes off. Class starts at 8:30. I have 45 minutes to talk myself into going to yoga, and all I can do is think about the leftover lasagna in the fridge.
Hey #yogaeverydamnday, bite me.
There I was, up late last night watching “Valley Girl” and eating ice cream in bed, all fired up about getting up and out of the house early for yoga. Not even an army of tarantulas could stop me.
But at 7:30 this morning, I’m cranky. Ends up, I just don’t fuckin’ feel like transforming today. Believe me, you’ll know when I’m in the mood to evolve; my hair will be dyed some variation of red, Amazon packages with books about parasites and Hindu deities will start to arrive at an alarming rate and the kitchen will be fully stocked with tasty gluten-free stuff.
Why is it so difficult to rally this morning? I’m on thin ice; it’s too bad I can’t play rocks, scissors, paper all by myself for the answer here. I need a sign from the gods, or at least a good slap on the ass from Shiva to push me out the door. If it were a trip to the fudge factory, I’d probably be long gone already.
7:45 a.m. I’m on the couch, playing Words With Friends. What the fuck is my problem here? This is bad.
These are the in-between moments, when it’s not all purple unicorns and lovely heart openers. Yoga is a sneaky bitch, and it’ll stop at nothing to get your attention when it feels ignored. I can see that unicorn now, galloping toward me horn first in an effort to plunge it into my guts and grind it like a swizzle stick in a cocktail.
How is it I never see this coming, this hideous, self sabotaging should-I-stay-or-should-I-go bullshit? Maybe because this is L.A., where everything is pretty on the outside, even emotional pain and the bondage of the supposedly infinite soul. In the 90s we called this despondent type of look “heroin chic.” Now it’s hipster chic, and it’s walking around in overpriced second hand clothes and an Etsy addiction.
By the way, this isn’t the time for inspirational sayings. I’m not in third grade, and this isn’t “Davy & Goliath.” I won’t blow smoke up your ass with nonsensical, silly dialogue and pithy adages, like “it’s all good.” Actually, it’s not. I have a bad taste in my mouth, like I just drank a sip of cigarette-butt-beer by accident. This is no way to achieve triumph over the human condition.
It’s almost 8:00 a.m. I made a cup of tea, and I’m getting dressed.
Yes friends, this is when the road starts to get a little bumpy. The way to enlightenment ain’t always smooth and glittery. I’ve had breakdowns, breakthroughs and profound moments of truth in yoga. I’ve slapped my mat down in the beginning of class, and I’ve left in the middle. I’ve cried on my mat, and all the way home in the car. I almost made a scene because one teacher had the audacity to hold us too long in Chaturanga.
It’s a sad situation, partly because without the physical practice, I might as well start counting the days until my spine disintegrates into ashes and my internal organs become like hard, dry rocks in a desert wasteland. I gotta get happy here—maybe I’ll go get that bottled water from Erewon that’s been blessed by Cambodian Buddhist monks.
I already have a foul-smelling candle for health in the proper feng shui area, and—obligatory side note about looking on the bright side—every time I watch the movie “Titanic,” I secretly hope the ship will miss the iceberg.
And the other part of the practice? Somewhere inside, between heaven and earth, there’s a fantastically roaring bonfire, ignited by wisdom and sustained by marvelous beauty. With no beginning and no end, it’s the Everlasting Gobstopper of truth and victory, but way bigger. It’s real, and it’s so beautiful. In some cases, it’s all for the price of a Slurpee and a scratch-off.
Let’s go, lazy. 10 million morning types can’t be wrong.
8:10 a.m. Zero hour. Time to summon up some… something. Enthusiasm? Some balls? Breath awareness? If we don’t have that, we’re a serious bunch of goners.
Last week, I was teaching my Saturday class and during opening meditation, when everyone was supposed to have their eyes closed, I looked up to see one of the students staring at me.
I looked away, and back at him.
I looked away again, and back at him again.
I looked away again, and back at him again.
There’s always one rebel who confuses being led through a yoga class for conformity. No worries, I don’t want to break your spirit, but please close your eyes, dude, you’re freaking me out.
I realize our strange stare-off probably wasn’t about me, or how I rolled into the parking lot earlier blaring Led Zeppelin, or my new Star Wars leggings or anything like that. Maybe he just wasn’t in the mood to raise his pressed juice as a toast to the gods, and spend the next 90 minutes trying to elevate his consciousness to a higher level.
We’ve all been there. And I wanted to let him know that I understand it can be daunting, going inside, deep down in the murky bowels to face your fears and missteps in life, not to mention that clusterfuck of karma you’ve been accumulating for the last thousand lives. Maybe you would like to spend a half-an-hour in chaturanga today. And you can fall apart and make a huge mess of yourself on the mat, but don’t expect yoga to pick it all up. It’s not your mommy.
8:15 a.m. I’m on my way to yoga with the convertible top down and the heat on—just like when I was 16, cruising down Sunset Blvd toward the beach in my dad’s 280ZX with the t-tops off. What a way for my life to come full circle.
I get to the studio, quietly unroll my mat and I take a moment to remind myself: I love this badass practice. There’s nothing to be afraid of—unicorns don’t exist, and most likely nothing is going to come along and impale you. And to be grateful for everything this practice has to offer, and everything we offer it back.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Travis May
Photo: YouTube Video Still