I go to yoga. I’m a wannabe yogi. You could say I do it to stay limber. It’s the most measured indication I’ve taken a class; not the spiritual ergs of my rainbow of chakras.
I’d be lying, though, if I said I didn’t sort of enjoy the “om”s and “ah”s and even the occasional erotic moan let out by a neighboring Warrior-2-lululemonite [I am not, however, as big a fan of “George Hamilton in a banana boat” slow-beating it on his chamois, but I accept him in my vicinity as well]. It’s nice to breathe and move as one, and in New York it’s important to have nice things. God knows it’s hard enough to afford bad things (rent on stalls they call apartments, the copay on private health centers, leaking barriers against neighbors, miscreants, people who eat shwarma on the subway…).
I go to yoga mostly because I have body-image issues. In this I am 100% not different from any other woman. I diet and go to the gym for the body part of my neurosis and to yoga and the local bar (i.e. my bathroom), for peace of mind and the occasional bottle of secret-tequila.
Yesterday I caught my reflection in a mirror, and in ways that are impossible to justify, I felt abject shame.
Why am I aging? Why does my belly look like that? The gays are secretly judging me. Some of them not so secretly. Oh God, why do I care? This is why we all left Asia, isn’t it?
I went into the yoga studio and tried hard to “let it go.” Then I tried to “hold onto everything with all the strength I could muster.” It was a little messy.
Yet like psychic clockwork, by the end of the class I was approaching savasana (corpse pose) in a state of pure peace. I didn’t care how I felt, or where I was going. I just wanted to play dead.
I was grateful to the class, the instructor. I like this instructor. She has always managed to render platitudes informative, and interprets emotional Janus to every physical contortion. By complicating the simple and simplifying the moribund, I managed to find a little light in me.
Savasana. “Feel the earth support you.”
Savasana. “Let it all go.”
Silence. Big silence. The kind that could peel the skin off electrons.
Then, I kid you not, she decided to end the practice with this…
What I saw in the mirror after that class was a beautiful woman full of confidence… Beautiful because she was failing to contain hysterical laughter. Confident because she couldn’t wait to make everyone else laugh at this along with her.