On Using Yoga to Avoid Hard Time

Is it wrong that it’s only the seventh day of classes and I already want to kill people? Well, maybe not kill, but definitely cause some sort of bodily harm. The first week of classes was so blissful, filled with smiling students and lots of excitement and anticipation of a great year. And it IS going to be a great year….if only my freshmen would remember their music when they come to lessons, if my returning students would practice like I have taught them, if people wouldn’t drive like idiots, if only politics and angry people didn’t exist, if only…if only I would chill the heck out. 

Thankfully, there is yoga. Tonight was Dan’s ninety-minute hot yoga class at the Downtown YMCA, my ticket to sweat-covered, downward dogging, namaste-ing nirvana. It’s also a sure-proof way to keep me out of prison for committing violence, a place I really don’t want to go to. I mean, I can only imagine what the inmates would do to me when I tried practicing clarinet (the clarinet really can be a weapon in the wrong hands, believe me). I know they wouldn’t let me bring Coops, Sophie, or Kasey- much less, Dan- and I don’t think I’d be able to eat my peanut butter Cheerios as a nighttime snack. And- don’t get me started on how I feel about wearing horizontal stripes on my ass. I just don’t think I’m cut out for prison life. 

Thank God for yoga. Yoga allows me to find my center again, to find my inner Mary Poppins- the patient woman who can smile and laugh through it all. “You forgot your music for the second lesson in a row? No problem- here’s another copy!” “You overslept a masterclass that happened at 12:20pm? Okay….” (Okay, maybe I couldn’t just smile that one away…I am an uptight perfectionist clarinet player). “Your cell just went off during my class? Hey just make sure it doesn’t happen again.” “You almost hit me because you were attempting to drive while texting?” <breathe>….At any rate, I am usually really good about going with the flow, smiling, and finding the humor in any given situation.  That’s the woman I want to be- that’s the woman yoga helps me to be. 

I used to laugh- my brother seems to think that yoga is a cult, and had my mother worried. She asked me to show her what I did in yoga, and so I showed her some sun salutations and assured her yoga was not a religion or weird cult – I wasn’t going to run off to some strange commune and drink the Kool-Aid. She seemed very relieved. My brother? He still thinks it’s a cult. Fine- it’s a cult of deep breathing, relaxation, strength, and positive thinking. Happy? All I know is that it has helped me to lose weight, get some pretty darn awesome muscle definition at fifty-two, and it helps to calm my constantly spinning brain. The more yoga I do, the better wife, teacher, musician, friend, animal lover, neighbor…the better human being I am. I am also in love with my yoga teacher- which is really good, since I’m married to him. 

I find that I am doing less aggressive kickboxing and more yoga as I get older, and I feel stronger than ever.  I also feel much calmer…really I do.   I’m also pretty sure yoga will help me to avoid wearing those horrid prison horizontal stripes on my ass for the foreseeable future. Best of all- my peanut butter Cheerios are safe….and so are my students. 

A spoonful of yoga really does make the grumpies go down. Namaste, Y’all. 


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