I do yoga all the time, but I’m a little ambivalent about it. Half the time when the instructor starts opining about life, I think, “Oh, yeah! How incredibly deep!” The other half, I’m thinking, “God, this is the most incredible bullshit I’ve ever heard in my life.”
But yesterday, I was having one of those more placid karmic times. We had a class of about 10 going on, all of us silent and mindful and breathing up a storm. All of a sudden, two women walked in the back of the room. They were talking loudly. Screaming, practically. It was like being in a movie theater when the two clods behind you begin a very boring conversation about the state of their relationship that you don’t want to hear, since, after all, you’ve paid to hear professional dialogue, not drivel.
The two women gathered their mats and props and came into the room, still talking loudly. I started acting the way I do in a movie theater with the talking clods. “Shhhhhhhhh,” I said.
They went on talking.
“SSSSHHHHHHHHH!” I sounded like a radiator and almost passed out from the sheer exertion of all that hissing. Around me, my yoga friends were rolling their eyes. They think I’m a little too excitable most days.
But finally, the talkers got the message. “I don’t think we should talk,” one of the women said to the other. I believe she was the genius of the pair.
The class went on and I watched them in the mirror, gloating every time they fell out of a posture, watching them sweat and slip. If this doesn’t sound like harmonic yoga behavior to you, you would be right. But I was feeling a little spiteful by this point, happy to mentally criticize the two interlopers. You know, this kind of thing happens sometimes, no matter how enlightened you like to think you are.
Class ended and we packed up our mats and the two women seemed to be too exhausted to talk much. I told myself I needed to work on my level of yogic tolerance and tune out the noise and be one with the world or something like that.
Then, walking out of the gym, I noticed the top of someone’s head that looked very familiar. He was bending over an application form, evidently joining my gym. He is also the hairdresser I’m in the process of breaking up with, even though he doesn’t know it yet. Oh, great. Just what I needed. After a few years of going to him, I had realized he’d just seen the movie “Shampoo” a few too many times and I was weary of trying to be fabulous all the time and worthy of his attentions. Also, he charges a lot.
I sprinted out the door before he could look up and see my inch-long roots and threw myself outside. You know how it goes with yoga: Half the time, it works for me. The other half, I evidently bring my own incredible bullshit into the works. Forget peace of mind. I just needed to get out of there before I started a fistfight with somebody. Namaste and all that. Maybe I should take up one of the martial arts, instead.
(Copyright 2009 by Ruth Pennebaker)