If you are like me and have just discovered the whole new world of yogadom, you’d no doubt have stalked numerous yoga blogs, websites (like this one) and started following yoga celebrities on Instagram with their impossibly beautiful, death-defying, paradigm-shifting selfies. Just check out #hollowbackpincha if you don’t believe me. Beyond the body beautiful however, many have touted the life-changing benefits of practicing.
Calmness, self-acceptance, compassion, enlightenment and all matters transcendental are pretty much up there on the list. Sure, these are all good. And I for one, am convinced yoga is a lifelong journey towards the inner self. Still, while most yogic scribes are happily breathing in their own spiritual ether (or as a renowned yoga instructor put it “stewing in their own juices”), I can’t help noticing some non-rarefied, oh-so-trivial kicks of this remarkable practice. Totally random. Totally underrated. Like those times when:
1. Your Arms Are So Tired They Can Hardly Peel That Damn Top Off
You are so destroyed by that last vinyasa flow class, getting that sports bra off over your head demands every last ounce of energy left in your triceps. We all know the tops are meant to be tight, to provide support, and of course.. to show off our toned-to-perfection torsos. But dammit, in the shower you totally regret choosing the S over the M.
Well, it did make my shoulders stand out more. Shrug. After an epic struggle in which you thought you’d never extricate yourself from the suffocating death grip of your yoga top, you finally experience joy and liberty in nudity under a rainshower. Ok maybe not all of us have a rainshower head but we can close our eyes and imagine…
2. 7AM Yoga Class
Don’t judge me now. I used to be someone who cannot wake up before 10AM on days I don’t have to be at work or an appointment. The first time I pulled myself out of bed for a sunrise yoga session, I fully expected it to be my last. But then, I kept going. I can’t explain it, to be honest. All I know is early morning yoga classes are a gift to mankind. Most gyms aren’t even opened at that time. And imagine doing zumba or bellydance or tango at dawn. Shudder. Just doesn’t happen. You have a mini epiphany that you are actually doing sun salutations the way they were intended.
Like I said, it’s a mini one, because you in fact don’t even notice the sun coming up while in the throes of a really vigorous flow sequence punctuated by excruciating asanas. After class, you are struck with the realization that it’s only whaaat? 8:15AM, and the day with its infinite possibilities stretch temptingly ahead of you. Perhaps you gotta work. Bummer. But hey, you go through the day knowing you’ve already fought and endured through one challenge. You secretly smile as you think smugly to yourself, “I’m done with my yoga for today”. Blasphemy of course. No one is ever “done” with yoga. But oh, you know what I mean.
3. Planning Your Yoga Wear A Full Week In Advance
You consciously make a decision NOT to wear boom-boom colored cum wild-patterned leggings two days consecutively. Cos doing so might earn you a yogatramp stamp. You also want to coincide the donning of your newest, most state-of-the-art yoga pants with that cute instructor’s class, just so he knows how seriously you’re taking your practice. The trusty all-black tights is reserved for the time of the month when you feel all bloaty and unattractive. Oh, and the bright teal yoga top with the fancy, criss-crossing back straps that arrived in the mail this morning? Sigh, decisions decisions decisions. I’m shallow. Whatever.
4. Not Being The Newbie In The Class
Everytime the instructor asks, “Who is new to a power class here?”, your sympathy goes out to the tentative shy hand that is raised. First of all, nobody enjoys the moment when all eyes in the room dart towards you. Especially if these are supercharged shards of laser-beam intensity gazes emanating from highly advanced yogis and yoginis. Secondly, nobody likes being labelled a rookie. And you know this rookie is in for a wild ride. You settle comfortably in the complacent anonymity of what must be your 256th class (ballpark), thinking back to that DAY when it was you who raised your hand. Thankfully, those days (or rather, that day) are over.
5. Being Able To Communicate In An Ancient Language
So cool right? Not only does yoga make you feel hot, it makes you feel smart. Sure, every asana has its equivalent in English. But it is sometimes simply more straightforward to refer to it in Sanskrit. “Put the soles of your feet together, open up the hips and let the knees fall to the side.” Err.. Come again? “Go into your Baddha Konasana” Ahh.. Got it! Your confidence grows as your vocabulary does. You know you’ve graduated from Yoga 101 when names like Pinchamayurasana and Utkatasana roll effortlessly off your tongue. Yoga spelling bee anyone? My favourite is Paschimottanasana. So tricky, that one. Want a real challenge? Try Utthita Hasta Padangustasana. Do we really need to use the Sanskrit names? No. We do so cos we CAN. So there. You jelly?
When all else fails, there is always OM.