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Friday, April 24, 2015

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.

Image result for downward facing dog

"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.


vanilla said...

So much for "emptying out" and "centering." eeee ee eh?

jenny_o said...

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

Truth. One more reason to smile at people.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Smiling. Not enough of it I say... 'cept when we share time with Pearl and her monkey! YAM xx

Anonymous said...

That's why I smile at everyone....so I won't be criticized.

Jocelyn said...

I'm such the right audience for yoga posts--seeing as I spent yesterday's class marveling at how I could be six inches away from the nice grandpa named Mark next to me but still feel like I was floating on my own island.

Daisy said...

Breaking down barriers, one smile at a time. :)

I've got one of those monkeys in my head too--he's a noisy little guy.

Catalyst said...

My lotus has done folded and died.

River said...

I've thought about starting yoga, but there's all that sweating...

Diane Tolley said...

Yep. The smile gets me every time!

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Oh yeah I know that bloody monkey it never shuts the hell up

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

What a delightfully disgusting post!

Rose Blackthorn said...

A timely reminder to take up yoga again. Thank you.

My chattering monkey has ADHD most days.

Rosemary Nickerson said...

Sweating and yoga don't go together in my brain. Yoga and falling on my face, tipping over, splat on the mat, teetering on one foot.... No sweating isn't it for me. It's all about broken teeth and bones.

savannah said...

i should try smiling more at the gym *don't ask* xoxoxox

Linda O'Connell said...

I deal with my monkey everyday! Luckily mine has a friend who keeps one hand over my mouth.