Three or four months into my “lost year” I started attending what I call my kick butt yoga class. Sunday mornings had become a lonely affair with little reason to linger in bed for and breakfast could only be stretched so long. So, bright and early, one Sunday I dragged my butt to the local studio I had been attending for years and joined the strangers waiting for the teacher outside the still locked door. Lydia is tall, beautiful, with the perfect dancer’s body and more than a passing resemblance to Jennifer Aniston. She is also fun, doesn’t take yoga all that seriously and her class has little place for meditation, long “om” sessions or airy fairy theory. A few years ago I would have eschewed such a class, with a touch of snobbism brought upon by my preconceived ideas of what yoga should or should not be.
To this day, I still run a thousand miles from the hip studios LA is populated with, full of beautiful people, clad in beautiful outfits, sporting perfect bodies and blinding teeth. It’s the crowd that spends most of the class checking each other out, either in an attempt to score once the sweating is over or to make sure no one else can perform the same feats of acrobatics. Loud music usually accompanies these yoga marathons and teachers go in and out of fashion quicker than the slave sandals.
When I landed into Lydia’s class I was as thin as a reed, suffering from insomnia but still convinced of my fitness. A the end of those 90 minutes I had to reconsider my abs and my lungs – it was hard, I barely made it through but I persevered and, after a few times, besides the routines becoming easier, I noticed an added bonus: on the tenth chatturanga (basically a push up for you non yoga insiders) I was mentally vomiting my rage out of me. All that pent-up acrimony that had settled inside following a defining moment in my life started to surface in the forms of epithets that I would mentally spit out with every challenging pose held too long for my comfort, with the exhaustion, the shortness of breath. I got to the point of craving those classes in order to let go a bit more. Frankly, no amount of “omming” or of suave suggestions that I had to just let go could have worked such wonders. These days, I approach the class with a more balanced state of mind but if there is anything that bugged me during the week, it tends to resurface while I am standing on one leg, head to the floor and torso twisted to one side. Not that dissimilar from the punching bag that teenagers are advised to hang in their room and use to relieve their anger with. But with abs of steel to boot.