My eyes were closed while lying in savasana, which is basically the best kind of yoga pose for a nap. Usually my savasana pose (laying flat with closed eyes) entailed deep relaxation and my brain going quiet for a good 10 minutes. That wasn’t going to happen this time.
The instructor, Will, put on the song “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” the Simon & Garfunkel soft rock hit, and belted out the words. Granted, Will’s singing was spectacular—he sounded like Donnie Osmond on crack (and I mean that as a compliment). I just wasn’t used to this from my typical yoga class.
When Will first walked in, I noticed he was wearing a thick coat of eyeliner. This is a workout faux pas—he’s going to have raccoon eyes and some painful burning. Oddly, as soon as we started the class he had the music blasting. He yelled at us over the music with some words of advice: “You have to be leaders! Follow your dreams! You won’t succeed by sitting your fat ass on the couch watching Oprah every day.”
He’s really broke ground with this one. I thought if I sat on the couch all the time, I’d get ahead in life. Next he’ll be telling me to seize the day, carpe diem. He’ll tell us to stand on our desks and get us to call him O Captain! My Captain! Although, Will is less hairy than Robin Williams. Big surprise, the highly motivational “Hakuna Matata” was cued up next.
As we biked to the next song, I noticed Will’s insecurities coming to light.
“Criticism is a form of bullying,” he said. “It reminds me of being thrown into a dumpster in high school.”
I guess I’m a huge bully, then (although I’ve never thrown anyone into a dumpster).
“All these other yoga teachers think I preach the devil’s yoga because I wear eyeliner. Sorry I’m not one of those yoga teachers who plays Pink Floyd!”
Oh, almighty Will! Save us from those other corrupt instructors who listen to Pink Floyd. It’s the music of stoners and vagrants!
Will then stressed that we have to be ourselves and not live through anyone. He followed this up by saying his dad wanted him to be a doctor, but now he is a “yogi/rocker.”
“That’s my dad’s Dharma,” he said. “Not mine.”
I cringed at his usage of yoga lingo.
All the advice he was doling out was on par with ‘90’s teen movies. This whole “daddy wants me to be a football star so he can live vicariously through me” is such a cliche. It’s Varsity Blues all over again: “I DON’T WANT. YOUR LIFE.”
When we got off the bikes to start our cool down, Will started dancing on the spot. “Don’t you wish you could dance all the time?” he said. “Society wants to stop us from having any fun, because people who have fun are a threat.”
I couldn’t count on two hands how many clubs there were in Vancouver where people could dance. And that was just the clubs. Now people are into the flash mob thing. Are we supposed to be dancing all the time? Maybe instead of walking I should be dancing. Daddy, I’m gonna be a star!
Everyone in the class started dancing. I don’t know how many danced out of guilt or of wanting to actually dance. All I knew was that my comfort zone had been compromised. So now I’m dancing on the spot so I don’t appear to be a total chump.
“We all have these social norms,” he continued. “In India, they don’t have those notions.”
This idealistic notion that it’s better somewhere else is such bullshit. If one of our worst problems as a society is that we have to be socially correct some of the time, I think we will be just fine.
And why do we have to have fun all the time? Yes, most of the time I like to have fun, but sometimes I like being miserable. Sometimes I like being a critical, neurotic piece of shit. I think feeling your uncomfortable emotions is healthy.
No one will tell me how to handle my emotions. Especially someone who doesn’t seem to be happy himself.
I will say this: I left the class somewhat amused, mostly at Will’s expense. I feel like a bit of an asshole because he had good intentions. However, I think I’m going to stay in my comfort zone and go to regular, “boring” yoga instructors from now on. I suppose Will’s attempt at enlightening me had failed.
Bring on the Pink Floyd.
Terris Schneider has written articles for The Snipe and Metro News Vancouver, and has had short stories published in LItterbox Magazine, Shelf Life Magazinew and Dark Fountain Journal.
If you’re interested in Vancouver’s pop culture disasters or want to laugh at an irritable grouch, you can follow her on Twitter @Terris_AK or check out the blog: theovereducatedgrumbler.wordpress.com