“Dear God, please don’t let tonight be the night I break wind in yoga for the first time,” has been my mantra since I began taking yoga classes six months ago. Most other people’s mantra is “om.”
I know people do it. It’s even supposed to be healthy, and from what my nostrils have gathered over the past few months, these people are definitely eating their cruciferous vegetables.
I guess I’ve finally gotten that Yoga “high.” Waking up on Tuesdays and Saturdays, knowing I’ll be sitting on my mat in a darkened room in a few hours aligns my chakras like nobody’s business.
Our instructor, Werner, speaks in a soothing voice and doesn’t just announce poses, like other yoga instructors I’ve had before. It’s just flowy and fun and I find myself able to do things I never thought I could without having to be airlifted to the nearest trauma center.
And, I do it without obsessing about my backfat, or my muffin-top, or how my hair looks, and… I EVEN GO SLEEVELESS in class.
This class is full of amazingly friendly people who hand each other props like straps and blocks, to those who forgot to get them at the beginning of class. There’s a woman there who I feel is my guardian angel of Yoga. During my first few classes, if she saw me struggling in a pose, she’d take me over to the wall and show me how she does it with the support of the wall.
This ain’t like the ballet classes of yore where one was required to only wear pink tights, a black leotard (no t-shirt covering up the flab allowed), and a tight bun. Try a tight bun with curly, frizzy hair. No amount of Aqua Net and bobby pins was going to hold that Tasmanian devil in place for an hour. And, oh how I loved always being the “this is how not to do it” example, while Rena Solomon stood in the perfect ballerina stance in front of me at the ballet barre and was always applauded by Madame as the epitome of correctness.
A few weeks ago in yoga class I found myself in a one-legged handstand against the wall. I loved it! It felt great! I was just hanging around upside down, without crunched-up shoulders, with just one foot on the wall, being supported by my hands on the floor, and my once-dormant abs.
And then my brain kicked in.
I’m doing a what? Now we’re going to do the other side? I don’t even know how I just did that side! And then, of course, I couldn’t do it on the other side because I was so amazed I had done it on the first side!
Note to self and other yogis: Never, ever think during yoga!
Richard and I used to go to yoga classes together. One Tuesday night I couldn’t go to class for some reason, so he went without me.
When he came home he described a new pose he had learned that night that he referred to as “changing baby diaper pose.” He then got down on the floor and demonstrated the pose by lying on his back, bringing his knees into his chest, and then holding his toes up near his ears which looked like an efficient way to air out one’s bum if one’s bum needed to be aired out.
He then told me that during that pose that night, someone in class “let one rip” with loud abandon. After that I had to place my mat on the floor in such a way that I couldn’t see Richard at all, or I’d start laughing just thinking about that story.
During the next class we took together, even though we couldn’t see each other, I was very aware of his presence as we did the “happy baby” pose. I tried so hard not to think about Richard’s story about the person who “let one rip” during what he referred to as “changing baby diaper pose” that I lost it and started laughing. I tried to mask it with a hacking cough, but Richard told me later after class that it sounded as if I were expelling a hairball.
Eventually, I composed myself, but it was hard. Anytime I’m supposed to act my age it’s a challenge. Now that I saw an entire class of people airing out their bums, I thought to myself, “Please, God, don’t let anyone let fly a fart, or I will surely have to feign a coughing fit, excuse myself from the class, and probably pee my yoga pants on the way to the bathroom.
I loved when Richard and I took yoga classes together because it was something I never thought I’d see him do, and because it was a built-in date twice a week. He eventually eschewed yoga for “displacing heavy objects,” the phrase he uses for lifting weights.
Richard also said that he found yoga to be painful. I am not attached to his nervous system so I just have to take his word for it. I used to have a Pandora’s Box of pain and now, thanks to yoga, I can’t even find it.
Another reason I like the classes is because I think Werner says the most hilarious things. Of course, I’m usually the only one laughing, but I don’t care. He’s playful and says whatever comes to mind. Every single time for the past six months that he’s referred to the two sides of our derrieres as “cupcakes”– even if I’m in the tallest, fiercest, strongest, most elongated, Warrior II pose, and the rest of the class stays focused on his or her asana — I just collapse onto my mat in hysterics, focusing on my ass.
But, thanks to yoga and Reiki, I’m in touch with my chakras on a daily basis and check in with my breathing so I remember to take in deep breaths of oxygen and release deep breaths of carbon dioxide throughout the day.
Which brings me back to releasing other forms of gas. I was brought up in a home where women didn’t pass gas. Men did, but not in the company of women.
Noticing my frequent stomach aches, Lucas, who was around six years old at the time said, “Mommy, you probably have stomach aches because you don’t fart.” He was probably right, but we’ll never know.
So, tonight as I don my way-cool yoga ensem I bought at Target, I will repeat my mantra over and over. I don’t want to be, you know, “that person; the one who farted during ‘changing baby diaper pose.’”