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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Distracting the Monkey

I wipe away my sweat mustache. 

The man on the mat next to me swipes at his own face at the same time, which, given our proximity, seems almost intimate. 

But to tell the truth, in a class this size, we’re all almost intimate.

I close my eyes, breathe in deeply.  I don’t come here to criticize, I remind myself.  I come here to focus, to stretch, to embrace the beauty found in an absence of thought, to leave the clutter of my life on the winter-grit dirty sidewalk, and to –

-- pretzel yourself next to perfect strangers!  The monkey in my head chatters gleefully. Eeee-Eeeee-Eeee! 

Oh, shut up, I think.

The man next to me grunts.  Sweat runs off his outstretched arms, pools on the floor between us.

The monkey grabs the inside of my skull, pulls himself up and plants himself behind my eyes. 

Holy cow!  Look at him sweat!  Oooooh!  Have you seen his feet?  What’s up with those toes, huh?  And where’d he get that hair?  Thatch!  Absolute thatch!  Hey – do you know where the phrase “raining cats and dogs” comes from? I'm bored!

The monkey goes on for several minutes, from his opinion on a thick head of hair to the tensile grip strength found in your longer toes.

Oh, shut up, I think.

I pull up into Mountain Pose, then fold forward, attempt to press my nose between my shins.  The sweat runs from my face into my hairline, distracting the monkey, who revels in the feel of it.

I put my hands on the floor, press back into Downward Facing Dog: feet hips' distance apart, head down, butt in the air: I am a human V.

"Breathe in, and breathe out," intones the yogi.  "Let your head hang heavy.  For the truly advanced out there, look under one armpit, say "hi" to your neighbor."

The monkey jabbers, rolls his eyes.

I turn to my left:  Amy.  I grin at her from under my armpit.  "Hey, Amy!"

She smiles:  "Hey!"

"Now turn your head, look to the other side," the instructor says.  "And say hello to the nice human being."

The monkey throws his arms into the air:  Eeeee!  Eeeee!  Eeee!

I turn my head.  The man with the running sweat, fabulous head of hair, and funky toes grins at me.

"Hi," he says.

I smile back.  "Hi."

And the monkey rolls his eyes again, gives up and goes elsewhere in search of distraction.  It's no fun criticizing someone who smiles at you.




34 comments:

vanilla said...

Filed under "I need a vacation." No kidding. eeee, eeee, eeee!

Shelly said...

If your monkey's a poo slinger, you might want to warn Odd Toe.

Delores said...

Group sweating...who knew.

Sioux said...

I know about that thatch. What are men thinking, leaving the house with hair like that?

joeh said...

"It's no fun criticizing someone who smiles at you."

So just wait and do it in your blog!

Pearl said...

Wonder if ol' Odd Toe (nice, Shell!) knows that the middle-aged broad next to him spent part of her time secretly critiquing him during yoga. :-)

I really need to learn to focus.

Leenie B said...

Laughing. Monkey brains. I have deep respect for you who can sweat and happy baby in a room full of similar sweating monkey brains. I salute you. Laughing also at joeh's comment.

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Only this morning I was thinking how little I like being out of breath. Interesting definition of advanced. I shall, from now on, say 'hello' to everyone I meet from under my arm and they will think how enlightened and inspiring I am.

bill lisleman said...

great thing about blog reading - no sweat and I can still imagine being on a sweaty mat trying to move.

Jono said...

All toes are funky. They remind you that your feet may be starting to fray.

The Vegetable Assassin said...

But have you tried HOT YOGA? Truthfully, this sounds hot enough for me. :)

jenny_o said...

"It's no fun criticizing someone who smiles at you."

Actually a deep truth, in my experience.

Pearl said...

Actually, this was not considered hot yoga as it was only 94 in there. :-)

Once you get used to it, you welcome it -- especially in Minnesota!

Pearl said...


Vegetable Assassin, why can't I read you anymore? Anyone have access to her blog??

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
'Tis true...but do you wonder what his mental monkey might be chittering and chattering...??? Keep smiling! YAM xx

Elephant's Child said...

How do you, and your monkey, respond to those of us who would dissolve into a sad and soggy (but bravely smiling) puddle beside you?

Twisted Scottish Bastard said...

No wonder your Monkey is getting out of hand.

All that sweat and energy being used up.

Have you tried a banana?

Pearl said...

Oh, Elephant's Child, anyone who shows up and gives it a shot is welcomed with open arms. It's when someone comes close to sweating on my mat that the monkey really starts screaming. :-) It is my monkey mind that I'm most trying to still, so the ability to hear him and then push him away is one of my favorite activities!

Daisy said...

Well, that's enough exercise for me today!

Jayne Martin said...

Kudos to you! I can never shut off my monkey mind to do something like that. If I'm going to a class, there must be pounding music so I can't hear the chatter.

Joanne Noragon said...

My trainer was just finishing the lady before me. Debbie was in downward facing dog. After some more instructions Carly said "and up." Debbie dropped to her knees and stood up. Carly and I stared at her. Debbie dropped to downward facing dog and walked back up.
I tell Carly, "I don't do downward facing dog." So far so good.

Kymbo Whitty said...

I'm glad your monkey has not taken to flinging it's poo at people as monkeys often do...
As an aside, locally there is a Yoga craze (in the big cities of Australia) that could bring new insights to your yoga and your writing. Yep, Naked Yoga. . they showed a room of people (thankfully with tastefully blanked out bits)doing all the usual stuff with words such as 'freedom' 'concentration' and 'all the same'
I can almost feel your enthusiasm...

Geo. said...

Great post, Pearl, but how do you reconcile the monkey with the squat, bald man in your head? Do they get along? My homunculi end up fighting over cigarettes in there.

HermanTurnip said...

It's funny how the tension can be broken with just a simple "hello"...

Rose L said...

There is now way I would do those positions. I just KNOW if I thrust my rear into the air like that, a long and loud fart would come out!
Then I would lose all dignity and be a story the whole class passes around until everyone has heard it!!

Beach Bum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beach Bum said...

Tried yoga once with my wife, afterwards she said I could come back but I had to act as if we didn't know each other. One small passing of gas during class and I'm tagged for life.

River said...

"I am a human V"

I'm a little envious, I haven't been able to do that in many years. Too many years. I think about exercise, but it just seems like too much work.
Do you wear a sweatband to keep the drips out of your eyes?

Remembering Grace said...

So it's the monkey inside me that makes fun of people all day! I'm so glad to know I'm not the one responsible... LOL And the monkey is right! When they smile and are nice to you, it takes all the fun out of making fun! Time to find another victim...sadistic yoga instructors, maybe...

Rosemarie Blackthorn said...

I'm off to a Yoga Day tomorrow. That will be me and my troop of monkeys.

Tracy said...

"pretzel yourself"... I love that! ;o) Smiles always win, don't they? I love that too! So it's really the Monkey and not me when it's a "bad" day?... LOL...Wonderfully written moment in time, this Pearl... So nice to meet you today!

Daisy said...

After reading this, I think I would be afraid to hear what the monkeys in other people's heads are saying about me!! :D

Suldog said...

I attended yoga classes for a very short while. I found that I (much as your monkey) could not concentrate on nothing (especially since I was the only male in the class and I not only was preoccupied with the many amazing ways the females were stretching, but also acutely aware that some of them might be looking at me, for goodness' sakes.)

Suldog said...

Oh, and that I was pouring buckets of sweat and wheezing (while trying not to) didn't help. And being bald. Yeah, that, too.