I am not a yoga person.
It’s not that I haven’t tried. (This, by itself, is odd, isn’t it? Trying to like a purely recreational activity)? It seems there are two types of people that do yoga: those zen tofu-people who emanate peace. And those angry stretchy people who drive over the sidewalk and flatten you while screaming “I’VE GOT TO GET TO YOGA CLASSSSSSSSS!!!”
The benefits of yoga abound. From enhanced focus to improved sleep quality, yoga fosters a harmony of mind, body, and spirit I was eager to enjoy. So despite reservations class was going to be an experience not unlike that time I witnessed a woman worshiping a box of raisins in the parking lot of a natural-food store, I bought a mat, searched for a reputable studio online, and went to a class.
The instructor was very stretchy. Technically it was a “community class”, open to all levels. I showed up on time and realized stretchy-man meant business. His tight-fitting shorts left nothing to the imagination for his adoring audience of soccer moms, including that one I could swear was smoking weed before class in her van full of drug-addicted stuffed animals. I didn’t want to see his danglies, and so I oriented myself facing the wall in the back of the room, which I attributed, when asked, to being slow-witted. Fortunately, there were enough stretchy folk in front of me I realized I wouldn’t have to see all of stretchy-man inverted. During class, I was implored to explore a heart-place, which, in my case, was a vision of Care Bears with hatchets hacking apart a village of rebel insurgents while singing a joyous song of love and harmony. I also thought about food, and specifically how all the yoga people appeared photocopied with different heads attached. Yes, they had that lovely yoga body, all litheness and sinew, including those stretched and wrinkly danglies the soccer moms ploughed over squirrels, dogs, and children to come view. Yet I realized I could never be a yogi, for I was bored, and thinking of food, and wondering how many would be offended if I left while meditating and came back before their eyes opened and had a burger, a big, juicy burger, and the smell wafted into their little nostrils as they tried to stay within their vegan heart-place, and realized that evil bitch murdered a moo-cow and left her heart place and was sitting here licking the wrapper like a psychopath. And then they’d be mad and stretchy, and make mean faces at that weird girl and her burger, and then they’d go smoke weed and pick up their children and make a run to the liquor store, with van full o’ tripping stuffed animals, because drinking is vegan.
I didn’t get the burger, but I did survive class. And most of the people were fine. (And full disclosure? I don’t eat red or processed meat). But I did spend the class in a bored stupor, wondering when this got more exciting, or alternatively, when we got to that part that involved sleeping.
I didn’t go back to yoga class until a wonderful friend of mine, a long-term yogi who is the portrait of the (many) benefits of yoga, invited me to come with her. Indeed the studio, and the instructor, and the fellow students, were phenomenal.
I just couldn’t get into it.
I attribute it to persona. I want to see, and to know, and to move, and to live, and yet still I could not name why I wished to continue yoga when I knew it was not for me- when I felt, well, bored.
To some this is heresy. Another yogi friend of mine ots ked why she felt the need to run at all, or indeed cultivate an enjoyment. “Because running’s good for you. Lots of people enjoy it. It’s something you’re supposed to do.”
I proposed perhaps she craved some aspect of running, and indeed this was true- she found the thrilling intensity of cycling fit the bill.
I found myself in the same predicament. I tried additional classes, and I craved some aspect of yoga- yet I didn’t enjoy yoga. I realized it was the emotional connection I most craved. That I wished to cultivate a connection to the present, and that I had no wish of yoga as exercise- hiking and biking and kayaking do that for me. In my moments on the mat I instead wanted to experience the world more intimately in every moment I was not on it.
So I do yoga at home, with a view of nature before me. It will be before or after some other exercise, yet it is in those ten minutes I find a restiveness for a restless spirit.
You need never be a yogi, or a runner, if these things you are not. And I’m a non-yoga yogi who finds peace in murderous Care-Bears. Namaste.