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REDNECK PERSPECTIVE: Higher thinking at hot yoga
I stopped by Shades to scan the selection of day-olds. Lisa was in back so Susie snagged me a muffin.
“It’s bran,” I complained indignantly. “I was hoping for orange poppy seed.”
“Those sold out,” she explained apoplectically, quickly adding, “I need a favor.”
“Sure; I’m free tonight,” I said
“No silly, not that. I signed up for hot yoga at Inversion but I don’t want to miss my book group’s discussion on the Twelve Tribes of Hattie,” Susie said. “Will you take my place at Inversion?”
My interest was piqued. Yoga, I knew, shared geographic and cultural connections with the Kama Sutra and I am considered the trailer park’s Kama Sutra expert. I had in fact tried to learn Sanskrit to better understand the ancient erotic art, but gave up after the fourth beer. Both Kama Sutra and yoga involve weird names and bizarre body arrangements. Kama Sutra is a celebration of pleasure; perhaps yoga offered similar delights.
“I’ll go,” I told her.
I strolled into Inversion’s studio and noticed I was the fattest person there, which I took as a good sign. Yoga is steeped in ritual, honoring ancient traditions and in primitive cultures packing a few extra pounds is a symbol of affluence, proof of a man’s wealth, his ability to provide for a mate – a definite chick magnet. Plus, yoga has roots in Buddhism. Surely the resemblance between Buddha and myself would make me even more attractive.
The hot yoga room was 105 degrees with humidity at 40 percent. No reason to make it easy on people, I suppose.
I rolled out my mat, turned to the woman next to me, (a cute one who feigned disinterest in me) and whispered, “How often do they provide cocktail service?”
She ignored me, probably playing hard to get in hopes of getting me to buy her a margarita. But instead of a cocktail waitress, our instructor marched in. She was highly evolved, fit, connected to a higher level of consciousness and, as I was soon to learn, on a spiritual quest seeking her inner drill sergeant. After running us through some breathing exercises, she told us, without a hint of humor, to “shift your weight onto the left leg. Bend the right leg, lifting the foot from the floor and cross your right thigh over your left. Hook the right foot around the left calf, bringing the arms out in front. Cross the left arm over the right and bring the palms to touch. Lift the elbows while keeping the shoulders sliding down the back.”
Despite position names that suggest amorous activity (Downward Facing Dog, Standing Straddle Forward Bend, and Bound Ankle, for example), hot yoga is not about seeking pleasure; it is about suffering, about despair, about an imminent and expanding sense of doom and a yearning for quick and painless death.
Twenty minutes into the class I crawled outside on my hands and knees, breathing in the cool air as if it were free Budweiser. I noticed a woman panting on the sidewalk next to me.
“I know a bar a couple blocks away,” I said. “I think I can crawl that far.”
“Let’s go,” she said.