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Thursday, June 10, 2010

I See a Little Silhouette of a Man

There are many things that constitute a yoga practice, and not all of them involve sweaty contortions.

Some of the things that constitute a yoga practice fall, as we say, off the mat.

Shall we consider Tuesday’s practice?

I don’t know if you are aware of this, but Minnesota can be a notoriously humid place. My hair, of course, having been certified a competent and reliable detector of humidity by the National Weather Service, warned me of this early Tuesday morning by standing on end, expanding to three times its normal volume and screaming nonsense at passers-by: “Microwaveable meals are both quick and nutritious! Properly trained, your butt will expand to the size of the largest chair available!”

I had the warning. Yet I proceeded.

As a person whose train of thought enjoys spinning first this way, then that, yoga is what keeps me from hurling office chairs out of windows. Yoga is my sanctuary, a place of focused breathing and useful for getting as close to calm, pretty brain waves as possible.

It was with this in mind that I went to yoga, dropped two mats (one for me, one for Amy) only to return, 15 minutes later, to find that both mats had been moved and that another had been wedged between them.

These things happen in a crowded room.

But the mat between our mats left less than three inches on either side; and standing in the center of this mat, arms swinging wildly despite the 100-degree temperature of the room, was Jeff.

Have you met Jeff? He’s quite attractive in a Cesar Milan sort of way.

He also stands when others sit; tries to make eye contact, particularly when you are upside down; and smells like a cross between a hot wool blanket and, for some reason, salted sunflower seeds.

He is less than three inches from me. The walls are running wet with tropical humidity, and he’s trying to make eye contact.

And the groaning! Have I mentioned the groaning yet?

“Augh,” he moans as we hold plank position, our arms trembling, our monkey minds urging us to give up. “Auuuuuuuuuugh,” he groans.

“Ugh. Ugh. Ugh,” he grunts during boat pose.

We are in headstand when he starts to growl, and my mind starts to wail. “Ack! He’s three inches away and he’s growling! Sit down! Stop trying! It’s too hot! Why don’t you give up and concentrate on how agitated you are becoming?”

I do not, of course, listen to the chattering of my brain but close my eyes and ignore him. My mind, against my will, forms a picture of a mostly-hairless biped throwing feces at my attempts to better myself.

I refuse to acknowledge my brain.

Due to the closeness of the mats, by the time class is over he has hit me twice with his arms, once with his feet, and has grunted his way – at least in my mind – through Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

And so it goes.

My quest to defeat my monkey mind remains.


Sweet Cheeks said...

I can't believe you don't have some sort of 'safety circle' at yoga.

Pass a new law...No two Yogians shall occupy the same country at the same time!

Simply Suthern said...

Well could be the Yoga Whisperer mistook you and your frizzy hair for poodle in need of some training. Just Sayin.

Next time take some 2 sided tape and stick them mats to the floor.

a Broad said...

I think in my own very un-Yoga way, I would have to 1- hit him back . . in a perfectly accidental way of course... 2- move. To the back of the room. or out in the hall. Anything to avoid being mere inches away from someone like that .... My Yoga works better if I am the only person in the room .. I have a weak attention span.

My Poodle actually has really nice hair .. really. He also avoids Yoga..but he is very good at the Downward Facing Dog.

Pearl said...

Ah, the room was packed, or I just might've picked up and moved!

But in all honesty, I tend to look at yoga-time annoyances as part of the practice. The Yoga Whisperer (I like that) was sent to me for a reason, if only to test my powers of concentration.

Oh, and just so everyone knows, my home computer has resigned. Seems he finds the working conditions unacceptable. (insert heavy sigh here)

What will happen? As the kids are saying these days, IDK!

In the meantime, if you see a woman on the side of the road holding a sign that says "Will write for internet/keyboard access", help a sister out, will ya?

p.s. I think if I were to cut my hair rather short that it WOULD poodle-up...

Jodie Kash said...

Girl we have that guy in class, regular. Older gent in black tights (fer effs sake) and t-shirt with the sleeves cut off. During every-gee-dee-balance posture he wiggles and flails and hops, all the while looking about to notice if we notice noticing him. And like how you have to yawn once someone around you yawns, I must focus on a point high in the sky, like the space station, as to not flail along.

Jodie Kash said...

...and p.s., when I read this blog title and first few lines placing the event in yoga class, I thought the little man silhouetted would be something entirely different. Old man black tights leave little to the imagination.

powdergirl said...

I only took my husband with me to indoor yoga one time, my only comment to him as we left: "We don't grunt at yoga."


He's better suited to the open air yoga class.

Pearl said...

Jodie, annoying, isn't he?! There are few people I dread being next to in class, the the guys hoping for attention are at the top of the list.

powdergirl, it should be embroidered on a mat somewhere: We Don't Grunt At Yoga". (Ha! Looks like I gots me a winter project!)

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

It all just seems so much trouble - people, stretching, no grunting, people, funny smells released by grunting, people - as 'Bill the Cat' would say..."OOP ACK"!

The Jules said...

Wait, can't yoga mats fly?

That was the only reason i was considering it.

Beta Dad said...

I used to do Bikram (Yoga for the Aggressive) and there were always turf battles as we laid out our mats. Most of the Yogis had no qualms about telling one another to back the fuck off. At least the instructor would usually intervene and tell people where to set up before fights broke out.

Pearl said...

Cal, you're cracking me up.

Jules, I think I've been doing it wrong then...

Beta, I do enjoy the aggressive yoga! I do the Vinyasa flow style in a heated room. As I go three and four times a week, I can, at any given time, take magic markers to my skin and outline exactly where it hurts...

Douglas said...

You certainly make yoga class an attractive option... I used to work out at a gym (where it is perfectly acceptable to grunt) in my younger days. I gave up all that when I realized it was doing me no noticeable good and was actually making me ache.

Bossy Betty said...

The Monkey Brain is strong!!! I know! I think I might have two monkeys up there.

Jon said...

Never tried yoga. Not to put too fine a point on it, I am worried that I might fart while in the position of the "man stuck up tree suffering from strychnine poisoning" and be asked to leave.

Cloudia said...


did you do the fandango?

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

biped throwing feces!! LOL!! You definitely should not try to tame your mind!!!

Fragrant Liar said...

Well, now that I'm in my new digs, I thought I'd scout out a yoga class, but now, after reading this . . . I'm scared.

IndigoWrath said...

I always got the giggles. I can't go any more.

Barbara Blundell said...

Hi Pearl
Have you ever fallen off your Yoga Mat ? I did and cut my arm. When anyone asked me about my injury I had to make up a pack of lies so as not to appear completely stupid .
PS Think Yoga is great-it's certainly helped to keep me supple and what's more I can still do the plank ! So there !

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I'm so glad you posted this on BPOTW, because I totally missed it when it ran. And I love it! The yoga teacher really should limit the number of people and make sure the mats are spread out. And maybe just have a rule: no eye contact. WTF.