Wednesday, April 11, 2007

04-09-2007 – Yoga for Beginners

“Be aware of your breath as you relax… relaxing your thighs, your hips… your abdominal muscles…”

Oh no, lady. No. We don’t want that. This may be Hatha Yoga for Beginners, and we’re here to get to know our bodies, and it’s not a performance, and nobody’s judging us, but I guarantee there’s be an awful lot of judging – and an unwelcome degree of body-knowledge – if the stern fist of abdominal discipline were to unclench and this caucus of dissident sashimi allowed to voice its opinions. Now is not the time for a policy of openness; I’ll relax everything else, hang like a simple natural-fibre robe from the iron hook in my guts, but I can’t relax my abdominals.

What was I doing, scarfing down twenty dollars’ worth of raw fish half an hour before my first-ever yoga class? Acting from desperation, blood-sugar necessity. See, I’m knocking two items off the Hippie Checklist this week: my first yoga, and my first herbal cleanse. No bread/flour products, no sugars or sweeteners, no dairy, no fermented products (vinegar, soy sauce, beer [sniff], wine [sob]), no tropical fruits… plus, my girl and I decided we’d go fishitarian for this one. The theoretical meal options are endless and wonderful; our practical reality has been salmon and rice.

It’s actually quite an easy and rewarding diet to more-or-less stick to, especially once you manage to will your head and body out of the fat-sugar-salt-starch lever-pushing of the instant-food reflex and start thinking of meals earlier than 30 seconds before hypoglycemic coma sets in, but today I’d neglected to restock my cubicle’s larder with almonds, cashew butter and the brown-rice cakes I’d once been so enthusiastic about (I’d actually exclaimed “Ooh!” and “Yum!” when I found them in the organic aisle). And so, when those big, beautiful menus presenting all that fresh, tasty fishflesh were put in my shaking hands, all the yogic dietary advice I’d dilligently wikied was forgotten as easily as it’d been gained.

I wish I’d been smarter on the food angle, because some of these poses feel really great underneath the agony; you can almost hear the office demons being driven out of my hunch-crunched lower back, evicted from my gnarled slacker shoulders. It’d be great to really relax and lean into them; unfortunately, many of them involve pointing my ass directly at a roomful of kindly strangers. I’d hoped the fish wouldn't disagree with me so violently, but underestimated the magnitude of combat involved in Operation: Intestinal Freedom. A few little cheats on the weekend – celebrating Christ’s victory over death and my fiancee’s victory over the living death of not having your awesomeness acknowledged – had set the purification program back, and my twelve daily tablets of cleansing herbs were on the counteroffensive.

There’s regret, there, even after all the perfectly reasonable justifications for blowing the cleanse in half with a double-shot of heavy food and liquor. I feel weak and gross and foolish, yeah, but worse is my frustrated curiosity; we were on Day Five of a 12-day program when we stepped outside the dietary guidelines, and just that afternoon I’d rushed urgently to the can at IKEA – a traditional part of the IKEA experience, with or without a gutful of loose-change hotdogs – and my business smelled like flowers. I actually courtesy-flushed out of embarrassment at smelling too good. What would have happened in seven days had I not joyfully smothered that gastrointestinal garden with a herbicidal compost of Panago and Carlo Rossi? Would I have gained… superpowers?

Anyway… yeah. Here we see in action the key pitfall of a healthy, conscious, engaged, aware lifestyle: you can’t shut up about your hippie shit, because it’s all you can think about. This past week, if my mind wasn’t on what was going into my body, it was gleefully analyzing what was going out. Sorry, everybody; I’m just going to listen to this friendly contortionist with the perfect skin and focus on my breath, on what’s going on with my body in this moment.

Oh, right. That. Well, I understand now what my girl was talking about when she said yoga practice can actually add hours to your day, because it feels like I’ve been here for a million years.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i'd like to om

but am afraid of censure....must be ssardonic

like an asshole