Thursday, March 24, 2005

Power Trip Yoga

When I first moved to San Francisco, I refused to "om" in yoga. It made me uncomfortable. I would sit there with my mouth shut, daring the teacher to comment, much as when, back in my schooldays, I refused to sing hymns. In the handful of yoga classes I’d taken in Boston, I never had to om. There, yoga was just a workout. In San Francisco, it was a spiritual practice, with Indian deities painted on the walls and burning sage scenting the air. In Boston, the teacher said “Press your feet into the ground”: in San Francisco, the teacher said “Feel the earth’s energy.” In Boston, the teacher said “Lift your chest”; in San Francisco, the teacher said “Feel the fluffy cloud inside.” But no matter how hard I tried, I never felt a fluffy cloud. It was bad enough that I wasn’t as flexible as the other students; now I had to put up with not being as enlightened too.

Then I invented Power Trip Yoga. PTY is designed to show your fellow yogis that, while you may not be able to do a headstand, you tower above them spiritually. While it takes years to achieve many of the poses in Power Yoga, you can learn everything you need to know about Power Trip Yoga in five minutes:

1. Always sigh rather than say the word “yoga” and pronounces it in an overly emphatic way. “Yog-ahhhh.” This indicates reverence, and possibly that you know Sanskrit and are using the original pronunciation.
2. Use the word “practice” a lot, as in “My practice is evolving every day.”
3. While waiting for the teacher to arrive, do not pick at your toes, but instead adopt full lotus in the exact middle of your mat.
4. At the start of your practice, you may get the option to send the “energy” from your practice to someone else. Always send it to yourself.
5. Throughout the class, keep your “dragon breath” as loud as possible, and maintain a beatific smile.
6. At the end of the practice, when everyone lies silent during Savasana, give a quiet chuckle, as if tickled by the absurdity of the cosmos.
7. The piece de resistance of PTY is the Power Namaste. When, after the final blessing, you bow down for namaste, stay there for as long as possible. You could even take a power nap. While the other students are rolling up their mats and wondering what to cook for dinner, you have triumphed over them, for you are still communing with the divine.


Blogger Tommy Barrett said...

Clearly, you are still scarred from your time on the East Coast. (I suppose it could be from your English upbringing, but I prefer to hate on the east coast.) It would seem that all your scheming is geared toward generating the form of spirituality rather than substance. That is so east coast (just like its emphasis on family names, schools attended, and all that other rigid and suffocating mindset ). Your lack of flexibility is the best thing ever. How lucky you are! --TB

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Mark Middleton said...

Finally, it's been defined. God, do I hate those power trip yoga-ers. Especially that 'yog-ahhh'. I know exactly what you're talking about. I think that part of being enlightened is not taking yourself too seriously.

3:29 PM  

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