I’m going down-ward facing dog

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I like the East. More specifically, the Far East.

I generally like things that come from that direction. Yoga, sushi, incense, pad thai, smart people, pho, sandals, cows, Buddha, egg rolls. I like Taekwondo in theory, but not practice. Much like the way I feel about Tai Chi.

Yesterday, in my relentless pursuit to try all things Oriental-yet-terribly-sabotaged-by-the-West, I attended the most interesting yoga class of my entire life. Now, when I say yoga class, I should clarify that, yes, the “curriculum” taught was yoga in nature, but the “classroom” setting was an aerobics studio inside a gym. I don’t consider yoga classes offered between Zumba and Cardio Crazy Pump Level 2 to be real yoga classes. I don’t care how Asian the instructor.

My instructor was not Asian or Indian or Far Easterneese. Although, due to a series of cosmetic enhancements that magically pulled her cheeks back to her ears, her eyes were slightly slanted. But that’s as Asian as it got. Her hair was dyed the exact same shade as a Sanford Major Accent Highlighting Marker and she was…how can I put this…fat. Well. That’s harsh. She was fat for an instructor. Morbidly obese by Hollywood standards. During certain poses her belly would flop over the elastic band of her flowy yoga pants. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

As I laid my mat down at the back of studio, a student asked the instructor why she missed last class.

“Well, earlier that day I had an allergic reaction to a mosquito bite and then my sister was held hostage,” she answered.

I looked up from my mat in disbelief. Kicking myself for not bringing a notepad, I made a conscious effort to memorize every word.

Between the gasps and the murmurs of the students she spoke again, “So, I had double the reason to not come to class.”

Class began with a meditation. The background music was relaxing, but not loud enough to drown out the grunts and bangs from the free weight room directly behind the back wall. We collectively sent Mother Earth positive energy with a green light from our eyebrows. Luckily, I had just had mine trimmed, so I felt my light was especially potent.

You’re welcome planet.

Once practice started, I noticed that the instructor did not remove her shoes. Her Vibram FiveFingers stayed securely fastened. Maybe she was concealing ugly toes. Maybe she suffers from chronic foot sweat. Maybe her feet smell. I don’t know. I can’t be sure. But, what I do know is that her shoes prevented her from executing a lot of the positions.

Maybe it wasn’t the shoes. Maybe she really couldn’t do the poses. She would try, though. She would really give it a shot. And then, she’d get up and try and help the students with encouraging words like, “Oh, come on, you can do this.”

When it came time for handstands I stayed put, on my mat. First, I was wearing a weak sports bra and didn’t want to suffocate myself with my own boobs. And, second, I wanted to watch because, as I suspected, nothing good could come out of a room full of menopause led by botox.

Not thirty seconds into the handstand exercise, one student slams full force into the mirror, as she kicked up her legs with too much force. Her elbows buckled and slid down the mirror like a tree being chopped down. She took two other students with her. Like dominoes.

Three women tangled on the floor. I couldn’t tell if they were laughing or crying. I was doing both.

During the cool down she kept asking me to relax my face, which I found very hypocritical, considering her face was permanently stressed. She sprayed me down with “aroma therapy,” to help, but it made it worse, as I was convinced she used that same spray bottle to spritz down her possibly putrid feet.

Were the mosquito bites on her toes?

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