I'm basically the worst match for yoga in the history of ill-fitting romances. I'm not one to just "let go of what I'm holding". I need that shit. Also, I'm not satisfied to just be present in my body. That body has things to do, and I still haven't quite reconciled that fact with me allowing it to lay still for fifteen minutes "softening." When I "follow my breath" I follow it to the ground. It took me two months to figure out the instructor meant follow it into your body, not follow it after it leaves your nose. In class, I compose frenetic to-do lists, figuring out how to best compose my day after this basically groundless excuse to stretch for an hour while listening to Gregorian chants.
You could say I'm an anxious sort of person. Which is why I started doing yoga. So…well done?
I'm not quite ready to "receive the effects of the postures" and I thought maybe I'm not the only one who hears something other than what is said during this hour of "being present."
With that in mind, here's a short run down of how yoga terminology translates to in the competitive, scattered mind, and how one might react to such phrases:
There is no achievement, there is no goal.
Achievement right now would be doing a correct pigeon, thank you very much. Actually, that's the goal, too. There is achievement and goal, right here! Why are you lying to me?
Discover who you are without struggle.
Without struggle I am...nothing. Well, that's depressing. Let’s quickly move along, shall we?
Find your edge.
Actually, I'm interested in finding your edge, instructor. That's why I'm here. To be as good at this as you are.
Be curious about where you can go.
Can I jump right over my edge? That's where I'd like to go, please. This edge is kind of in my way.
Doing the posture will not make you a better friend or neighbor.
Good thing I'm not here to be a better friend or neighbor. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm trying to force my knee to the floor with my mind, and you're interrupting The Force, here, lady.
The worst that could happen is that you fall.
That will never ever happen. Like neve--WHOA! Well, shit. That was embarrassing.
Think about crawling your fingers back.
Crawl your damn fingers back. Now.
You might even hold onto your foot with your hand.
You will hold onto your foot with your hand if it kills you. God, I hate my edge. HAND. GO TO FOOT. HAND. WHAT ARE YOU DOING? GO. TO. FOOT. I COMMAND YOU.
If you are struggling, let it go.
Suffering is not required.
Thank God it's still optional, then. Because until I am my most beautiful tree, you can bet your ass I'm going to suffer.
Breath, relax, think, feel and allow.
So…I have a grocery list to compile right now, if we're just going to stand here for a sec.
Let your body move any way it's asking.
Is it my fault my body always asks to cross its arms, slouch and look at the instructor impatiently? I think not. I'm just doing what she said.
Soften the space between your eyes.
What? There is a skull there, dudes.
Without lifting your head, lift your ears.
What in the hell even?
This is a beautiful place to practice.
Translation: You totally suck at yoga. Don't hurt yourself, big guy.
Let go of what you are holding.
Um, no? That is a really scary prospect, and if you don't mind, I'll just cling to it, lest it get away from me and then ambush me later.
Be in the present moment.
But, like, the present moment is kind of boring, though. I'm pretty boring, to be honest. Can we be somewhere else? I hear zen is pretty rad. Let's go there.
Consider deepening the twist.
Deepen that motherfucking twist, right now.
Let your hands come to wherever they rest.
Touch. The. Floor. Without. Bending. Your. Knees.
Honor your edge.
Translation: Hahahahaha, I see you failing this pose. Give up now before you humiliate yourself.
One side might want something different than the other.
Translation: Man, you really suck on the left side, huh? I guess that side just wants to lie down. Maybe eat a bonbon.
Nothing to do, nowhere to be but in this moment.
God, why am I such a privileged piece of shit? All the other people have things to do and places to be. TRY HARDER. AT EVERYTHING.
Of course, I am fully aware that you are not supposed to think these things, but I don’t care.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a book to write, a marathon to run, two children to raise, dinner to cook, school to go to, manuscripts to edit--omg. Where's the coffee?