Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mean Girls Yoga

The following is a true story.
Though some of the names might be fake.

Yesterday, I tried a new yoga class.  It was Gretchen’s idea.  Well originally, it was Karen’s idea.  She wanted to go to a class in Fitchburg, but Gretchen suggested we try a new class at this place on the East Side where we sometimes go.  They sell water in boxes for 4 dollars.  Boxed water is better.  I know that because it says so right on the box: Boxed Water Is Better.  So, it’s obviously true.  

The East Side has more women with hairy armpits than Fitchburg.  It's a feminist rule over there.  I'm fine with it because I have the boxed water.  Gretchen and Karen probably don’t even notice, because they’re already way into feminist stuff like meditation and kale.  Not that Karen even made it to class.  She ended up having to go to work.  Something about being a doctor, and sick people. Whatever.

When I got to the yoga room, the class was just starting.   I asked the woman sitting next to Gretchen to move over.  Of course, she did.  What a whore.  Awesomely, Gretchen had already gotten two blocks for me, and a scratchy Mexican blanket.  The teacher, Regina, said we'd need them, because this class was called “Forest Yoga.”  I had never heard of that.  Based on some of the noises coming out of the women around me, I thought it might mean “breathing too loud, like you’re in the middle of a forest, lost and alone.”   But as the class got under way, I figured it out. 

Regular yoga is for pathetic weaklings.   Forest yoga is for WINNERS.

 “We are firing up Core right now, because Forest Yoga is all about Strong Core.”   Regina referred to our body parts as proper nouns only, and never sunk to the level of possessive pronouns.  “Put Tailbone firmly on the floor,” Regina said.  “If that doesn’t make sense to you,” Regina told Bodies in Room, “pull Pelvic Bone up toward Belly Button.”   Pelvic bone did what it was told.  Regina escalated the meaning of Strong Core. 

At first, this approach made me nervous.  For 20 years, I had been doing regular yoga, which is mostly about relaxing and finding your own limits.  This was even true in New York, where yoga class is basically a beauty contest that gay men always win.  Under Regina, though, yoga was reframed.   "You're not victims BECAUSE you're weak," Regina said.  "You're weak because you're VICTIMS."  Since we were mostly middle-aged women -- and Regina was actually a buff, 24-year old man -- I had to trust him.  He TOTALLY got us.  Mind was blown.

After 15 minutes of core work, Regina reminded us to do Ujayii breathing.  I don’t speak Indian, but I guess that means Orgasm, because the woman in front of me was now MOANING.  My inner victim got distracted.  Since Gretchen was turned on her side, breathing silently to herself like a normal person , I asked Whore how long the class lasted.   But Regina was standing right behind me. 

“STOP TALKING!” he yelled down at me.  “BE IN YOUR OWN BODY!”  I felt bad, and embarrassed.  But a few minutes later, he walked past my mat again, and squeezed my big toe.  

“You’re fine,” he said. “I just want you to focus.”   
I tried, I really did.   Big Toe was just... so ticklish.

At the end of our core work, Regina announced it was time to use Props. (Props was Forest shorthand for scratchy rolled blanket.  Regina doesn’t have time for possessive nouns or specific descriptive nouns)   “Take Prop and put it in between Thighs and SQUEEZE,” Regina said.  Inexplicably, he did have  time for bizarre food metaphors. “Squeeze it!  Squeeze that brat as hard as you can!”  

It was intense work for Thighs.  But mostly, it was hard on Core. I felt bad for Core, because Core was already shaking and now – with Brat in between Legs – Core started to feel like a victim.  Regina didn't stop.   “Groin should be zinging right now.” Regina said.  “Isn’t that EXCITING?”   Hmmm.  Exciting?  I wasn't so sure.  “OHHHHHHH,” moaned the woman in front of me, for the 24th time.   She was in the forest, bitches.  Core and Thighs and Brat were right there with her, and she didn’t care who knew it.

Before the standing series, Regina let us have a drink of water.  “This is the part of Forest yoga,” Regina pre-shamed us, “when people usually want to quit.  Legs will be burning.   But this is when you need to push through it.  On the other side, you WILL be a new person.”  

Yes, I thought, I want to be a new person.  Maybe I’ll be more like Regina on the other side. When I’m more like Regina, I’m going to charge people 17 dollars to shut up.  I’m going to use rhyming slogans like “victim face” and “happy place,” and tell people which one -- and only which one -- is OK.  When I’m more like Regina, I’m never going to finish a whole sandwich, because that would be needy. In fact, I’m going to stop eating victim food, like french fries, and take in a steady diet of low-carb protein bars, and – only when it really hurts – a little bit of water. 

Following Regina’s lead, I did Arrow Lunge.  I did Straddle While Awkwardly Holding Calf, and Wedged Shoulder behind Knee Pose, which quite possibly led to Slight Dislocation of Spine. It was long, and it hurt like hell, but nobody stopped.  We didn’t dare.  There is no rest in the Forest.  

Right before savasana, Regina told us to stretch our eyes.  “Ocular Muscle is the most atrophied muscle in Body.  Isn’t that exciting?”    Was it as exciting as Zinging Groin With Brat?  Hard to know.   But Regina did seem excited, and he knows SO MUCH.  When he’s not teaching Forest Shame yoga, he’s probably performing Lasik surgery.  And counseling children.  And moonlighting as an inspirational life coach.   

When class ended, Moaner asked him a question.  “Forest yoga,” she said. “Is it about nature?”   “It’s not Forest Yoga,” Regina answered, rolling Ocular Muscle and laughing in her Orgasmic Pie Hole. "It’s Forrest Yoga. F-O-R-R-E-S-T.”  He said more, but I didn’t stick around to listen.    First of all, I wasn’t about to speak again.  Big Toe had been through enough.  Also, as I’d learned, there is no role for Mouth in Forest Yoga.  Unless you want Regina to punch you in Mouth -- which would obviously be awesome --  it’s better just to have Arms roll up yoga mat, toss Boxed Water in Trash, and make Legs walk out the door.   Duh.