a Different Sky
cousin called me up to ask if I would accompany her to a certain
yoga class, I gave a quick reply of yes, as I had always wanted
to find out about the yoga trend in popular American cities…
in total style among the metro-culture, detoxifying, cleansing,
getting in touch with the soul…blah blah blah…In
conclusion, to me, it was nothing but a hoax with a bunch
of skinny metro-dwellers locked in some position repeating
'ohm" till they felt semi "diverse". I wanted
to see the sipping fakeness among the veggie-pizza-lover crowd,
so I went.
also explain this is not the first time I had been to a so-called
yoga class. If there is a touch of bitterness in my voice
it's due to a past experience which took place a year and
some back. A co-worker's friend had invited me to some anonymous
yoga session and, without thinking and with deep interest,
I had gone. The whole thing seemed like a horror episode from
some HBO special, the ex-hippi-gone-rich crowd had their mantras
memorised, calling each other gods and goddesses. It wasn't
about bending your body but more a game of twisted minds.
I bolted out of there like a bat out of hell during the first
break and have avoided going back to that neighborhood since.
Later I figured out there are many mini cults in different
cities of such. Yoga crowds wearing bead necklaces and skirts
or shirts woven by Mexicans, greeting with "Namastes"
and parting with unkosher gestures…
had assured me it wasn't going to be the same. This certain
yoga class was a popular one among many different crowds.
Washington Post did an article on it, therefore,
it was widely "approved'. So there was my chance to find
out about the movement out there and experience it first hand,
and came the day I was ready with my water, towel, proper
attire and bare feet.
the middle of Washington DC on the fourth floor of a building
which lacks an elevator, we arrived half an hour early. After
registration we picked up our yoga mats when the previous
class just broke and the participants came out. I stared at
their faces, spaced out and serious, dropping sweat from all
parts of the body, too into themselves to even notice who
and what was around…I was confused. I thought this was
suppose to be some light work out in the name of "yoga".
After all, this trendy crowd couldn't put up with some real
strenuous yoga session, they are just doing it for fashion's
into the room; the heat reminded me of our attic during unbearably
steamy summers of Bangladesh. Apparently the yoga class was
to take place in a 105 degree environment. I thought, that's
no big deal, I grew up with frequent disappearance of electricity
all year (especially the summer months) around, in a country
where deodorant is of no use.
class started, a full house. I guess this was a big hit among
the DC crowd. They were of all kinds, shapes, colours and
features…representing what I wasn't yet sure of…the
face of modern day yoga perhaps. So I followed the instruction
and soon I felt nauseated. I could hear my heart pounding…everyone
around me moved in perfect harmony, in smooth steps, taking
their bodies to that extra limit, stretching till you can't
reach anymore, bending till you don't twist any longer. Slowly
the smirk on my face was erased, I was sweating top to bottom
with the others, trying my best to fit in. I, a Southeast
Asian girl born near the birth place of yoga, learning yoga
from the westerners who performed it better than I had ever
ended finally, after 90 minutes. The instructor thanked all
and turned the lights off, while 40 sweating bodies lay on
the floor, still, breathing, shadows of street lights on our
faces, eyes closed, recuperating, rejuvenating, tired to the
point of ecstasy.
out of there a few minutes later, my tongue had rolled back
too far into my mouth and I couldn't and didn't want to speak
for a while I didn't want to ruin this feeling of irreplaceable
pleasure that I had created myself, with my own body, and
with the help of a few instructors.
I slept like a log, I woke up the next day feeling refreshed,
my spine, my chest, my throat, my lower back, the palms of
my hands, the small of my back, my ankles, they were all open,
each muscle was breathing, and I could hear the beats. And
with it so was my mind, the narrow closed mind finally opened
a door to exhale out a bit of its sarcasm, bitterness and
bias. So here I am with what I believe is a slightly different
and new me, learning to breathe over again...on my way to
learn "Savasana" from a girl named Joelle.
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(R) thedailystar.net 2004