I love yoga.
I love music.
I DO NOT love when yoga teachers play the wrong music in my coveted yoga class. This is a beef I’ve had for a while, and it’s high time I say my piece. So I’ll say it in this post because I’m too much of a chicken to tell it to an instructor’s face.
I’ve had an on-again/off-again relationship with yoga for years, but lately it’s been totally ON. I’m talking serious devotion, hitting the 8 a.m. classes with fervor, going for double classes in one day. The practice I have found in recent months is helping to unlock a great deal of strength in me, making it easier to move forward with challenging events and to stay focused on all the music I’m working on. It is also giving my butt a nice, new “lift” (bonus).
Just getting to the mat can be the hardest part of a class, carving out that time to challenge the body and the mind, letting everything else go. So when I actually do it, when I ACTUALLY GET TO THE MAT, I’m seriously ready to focus on the task at hand. Which is yoga…
Still with me? Good…
So I’m on the mat, breath is centered, I’m feeling the inner Goddess emerging, I’m connecting with all that is glorious in the universe, I follow the teacher’s cue and move gracefully into the first downward dog of class, I’m so freaking namaste in this moment!
The teacher walks over to his/her iPod, connected to the stereo.
You better be calling up Tibetan chants or singing bowls, I think.
Still holding that dog… stay centered, we are all one, breathe in the light of the Divine-
And then the Goo Goo dolls come blaring out of the system.
OH MY GOD, ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?!?!
Now, don’t get me wrong, 90’s light rock has it’s place in the world. Like in small coffee shops scattered around Portland, Oregon. But in yoga? Look, I’m trying to get my Eastern philosophy on, and that’s hard enough to begin with. How can I empty my mind of all it’s insanity, focus on my “intention”, AND maintain my drishti while Johnny Rzeznik is all up in my ears? I just can’t. And now I’ve just lost my ouija breath, awesome.
I’ve definitely been a purist when it comes to yoga classes, but in recent months I have lightened up quite a bit when it comes to the music situation. I’ve come to realize that not all western music completely ruins a session. For instance, I was taking a hot power class on the Upper East Side recently, and just as we were moving into a challenging flow sequence the teacher dropped the digital needle on “Move On Up” by Curtis Mayfield. You know what? I got pumped! I took in Curtis’s words, “So keep on pushing/Take nothing less/Not even second best/Just move on up” and I was like, “Ok, yeah. Let’s step it UP!” It was empowering, it was a good song choice for that flow. Thumbs up, teach.
Now let me give you an example of someone who’s paying ABSOLUTELY ZERO ATTENTION to the lyrics they are playing in class, and how they are inadvertently ruining the entire philosophy of the practice. #giveyogateachersadonotplaylistalready
Last week I was laying in shavasana which isconsidered to be the most important posture in yoga because it seals in your practice. This hot vinyasa class had been extra challenging, not because of the asanas or the sequences, but because the teacher had been blaring Bon Iver so goddamn loud that I couldn’t hear his instruction and was left to wrangle myself in and out of postures by trying to see what everyone else was doing. Laying in that final pose, I was attempting to remain centered and full of love for everything and everyone, even my stupid yoga teacher. Juuuuuust as I’m sinking into the mat to float away, he goes for his iPod just one more time and dials up “Because Of You” by Kelly Clarkson.
I’m sorry. But OH MY GOD ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME FOR REAL?!?!?!?!
Let’s break it down.
1.) The definition of yoga: “to practice attaining spiritual insight and tranquility”
Because Of You lyric: “Because of you I am afraid”
Hmmm. So, blame someone else for all your fears and insecurities. Great message.
2.) The abhyasa sutra: “choosing actions and applying effort to bring about a stable state”
B.O.U. lyric: “I’m forced to fake/a smile, a laugh, everyday of my life”
Huh. So, you have no control over your fake emotions, and you’re doomed until you die. Good to know.
3.) Pranayama: “The extension of life force through the breath, where the breath is the true key to emancipation and utter calm”
B.O.U. lyric: “Because of you/I’m ashamed of my life/Because it’s empty”
Right. So, everything is someone else’s fault, your existence is shit, you’ve got nothing going for you, and the only breathing you do is between sobs of misery. Got it.
I almost said something to him after class, I really almost did. Instead, I decided to just ream him out in this post. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! (Don’t hate me.)
Another audaciously inappropriate song that yoga teachers LOVE to play during shavasana is Jeff Buckley’s version of the Leonard Cohen song “Hallelujah”. This is most likely because of Jeff’s whispery voice and his angelic guitar playing. They may think this sort of “vibe” is very suitable for the peaceful calling of shavasana. HOWEVER:
“Maybe there’s a God above/But all I‘ve ever learned from love/Is how to shoot somebody who outdrew you”
Oh, and Jeff Buckley was suicidal while recording this song. Then he killed himself.
Yoga teachers everywhere, let me just say, I do salute you. You go to hundreds of hours of training, study endless amounts of ancient texts, and get paid shit money to spread the teachings that have helped millions to live a more centered life. You give men a place to connect more with their “heart center”, and you give women a reason to max out their credit cards at Lululemon! That being said, I ask you to please learn how to use your iPod wisely. The East already thinks we’re idiots. Let’s not enhance their argument.
What’s not to love about flying?
Umm, basically everything.
Let’s face it, unless you’re ticketed in first class on Virgin Atlantic, where you get a free MASSAGE during the flight, it’s pretty much going to suck. Depressing coach class cabins crammed with disgruntled people vying for every last bit of overhead bin space, fridgid blasts of AC even in the dead of winter, and getting repeatedly kicked in the back by the antsy kid behind you. And don’t forget the silent fight for the arm rest.
This is before they’ve shut the main cabin door.
How about having to put all electronics away for take off and landing? I mean, come on, really? Can we all just admit the plane will still function while Kindles are fired up and move on with our lives?
As annoying as the above points can be, there is still one aspect of flying, for me, that is utterly terrifying. Turbulence. Why haven’t they invented planes that are turbulent-proof? We can make a phone that could power a space shuttle, but we can’t make a turbulent-proof plane? WTF.
Now, I’m a sort of DIY gal. That’s another way of saying I like to be in control, espcially when my life is on the line. If I’m driving, I can pull over anytime. If I’m on the train, I can just hop out at the next stop. Biking, I can hit those breaks anytime I want! But when I board a plane, I’m expected to sit down, shut up, and just TRUST that the Captain isn’t going to run it into the ground, fall asleep at the throttle, or hit the wrong button and accidentally eject himself. And what if a bird flys into the engine? We are fools to think that every pilot is like Sully…FOOLS.
Here’s how it usually goes for me when turbulence strikes (and by turbulence I mean anything more than a 5-second gentle breeze):
Heart accelerates, palms get sweaty.
Breathing shortens, pupils dialate (I’m not 100% sure on the pupils, but I have a feeling)
If the turbulence gets worse, I’m most definitely likely to:
Involuntarily grab the arm of the person next to me.
Beg whatever Higher Power that might in charge of planes to “guide us safe, keep us up, please stop shaking this fucking thing”.
In extreme cases, I’ve pressed my flight attendant call button, desperate for reassurance that we’re not going to fall out of the sky.
Me… “I’m pretty scared of turbulence, is it ok”?
Flight attendent, irritated… “Yeah. It’s ok”.
Flight attendent, irriated, translation…”You are a grown woman, did you seriously just pull me away from my trashy airport romance novel to ask if we were OK?”
And for those of you who want to offer the statistic solution, that you’re safer in a plane than you are in your car, I will throw eye daggers at you. Do you really think that’s going to help me, when I’m certain that the wings are about to crack from the violence ensuing all around us? Do you really think that’s going to chill me out as the engines are LITERALLY about to give out and send us plummeting? Oh just pretend I’m on a rollercoaster?
The one thing I hate more than turbulence is rollercoasters.
I’m actually writing this from a US Airways flight to Phoenix, and we just hit turbulence over the Rockies. I have to stop tying now due to sweaty palms and racing thoughts of my eminent death, which could happen at any moment now. If I post this, you know I made it out alive.