My mother, fabulous as she is, invited me to join her at her yoga class last night, offering to pay my drop in fee and introduce me to her crew. Mom’s decided to encourage my recent foray into health (quitting smoking, going to the doctor, etc.) by bribing me with spa treatments and access into her treasured yoga class. I met her after work yesterday in my yoga duds and pigtails, slightly wary but willing to try anything for free.
The yoga class takes place at the Community Center, in a jazzercise room next to the gym. The lights are dimmed, the dance-bars are covered in Christmas lights and weirdo Tibetan music is played softly in the background.
My mother instructs me to remove my shoes and grab a mat as our little, bra-less, middle-aged yogi teacher comes over to greet her.
“Hi Stephanie. This is my daughter, Beth.”
“Oh my god! This is so exciting! A mommy and daughter! This is wonderful. Welcome, Beth!” She then hugs me, overwhelming my senses with patchouli and conditioner-less hair. “Have you practiced yoga before?”
“Not in a very long time. I have no idea what I’m doing.”
“Not to worry. This is all about breathing and connection.”
No one is allowed to hide out in the back. We’ve all got to put our mats in a semi-circle around Stephanie and immediately begin focusing on our breathing. I actually enjoyed the yoga. Most of it was easy, although balancing on one knee with my right arm holding my left foot over my arched back was a little challenging. How the hell is one supposed to focus on both breathing and not toppling over? Also, there’s a huge mirror on one wall so I became fascinated with watching not only myself twist and contort, but everyone else.
My mother, apparently just back from studying yoga at a third world ashram, had no problems and seemed surprisingly familiar with every move and breath. We elongated our backs, opened up our lungs and cleansed our chakras. Over the CD of gong sounds and chanting, Stephanie whispered to the room, “Focus on your chakra. Place your index and middle finger on your third eye and cover your right nostril with your thumb. Inhale through your left nostril and hold. Place your pinkie over your left nostril and remove your thumb from your right nostril, exhaling through it. Continue this until you see your chakra color.”
Following these complicated and bizarre directions, conscious of any booger activity or weird sounds, I saw the color red.
Finally, we lay on our mats and Stephanie covered us with optional blankets. According to Deepak Chopra, every cell in our body is eavesdropping on our brain. Each and every negative and positive thought has negative and positive physical ramifications. Visualizing “sparkly beautiful energy” protecting our bodies, I floated above myself as per Stephanie’s instructions. We were supposed to be watching ourselves lying on our mats, protected by sparkly energy and thinking positive thoughts. I actually could visualize myself lying there, feet akimbo, palms facing up. I don’t know what everyone else was thinking, but I was thinking, “Cute pigtails.”
We finished the class, returned to the lotus pose and Stephanie, ironically, brought us back to earth.
“And now, as we re-enter our lives with peace, love, light and positive energy, let us end with the chant we always end with.”
What? No one said anything about a chant. I don’t know the chant. All of a sudden, my mother on the mat next to me starts to chant with the class. “Oooommmmm. Shaaaan-ti, shaaaan-ti, shaaaan-Tiiiiiii.”
Oh my god, who are you?
Class ended and people started to get up, but Stephanie wasn’t done.
“Joanne, would you like to introduce us to your daughter?”
“Sure. This is Beth.”
“Welcome Beth. It was wonderful to have you.”
“Thank you. It was lovely to be here.”
Stephanie hugged me goodbye, we gathered our things and I headed to my car. As I drove through Mill Valley, on my way to meet my folks for dinner, I smelled something.
Patchouli. All over me.
Positive thoughts, Beth. Positive thoughts.
Actually, I liked the class. And my mother generously offered to comp me whenever I want to go. Hmmmm. I wonder what I’ll get for going to the dentist…