The Secret Stress Behind Yoga

I’ve been attending a yoga class at the gym. I joined it so I could learn to get in touch with myself and relax and destress after a long day. I’m not really sure when I got out of touch with myself, but it sounds very zen and enlightened to say things like, “I just want to back in touch with myself.” And when people ask me if I like it, I just nod and tell them it’s nice to get back in touch with myself.

They look at me with jealousy because everyone would like to be in touch with themselves.

I’ve learned a lot since getting in touch with myself. Like I’ve learned that I lack flexibility. So instead of becoming destressed and relaxed I’ve become very stressed and unrelaxed. If I had never signed up for Yoga, I never would have learned that I’m incapable of doing a simple Downward Dog, nor would I know that my body refuses to do an appropriate Serpent.

I can’t even think about the failure that was Praying Possum.

My yoga teacher often comes up behind me, presses on various parts of my body, and says things like, “tell your calf muscle it’s safe and it’s ok to relax,” as if talking to my calf muscle will suddenly let me place it behind my ear. I mean, I definitely tried while the whole class looked on waiting to see how well I could communicate safety to my calf muscle. I haven’t been that embarrassed in front of a class since I confused organism with orgasm in 6th grade.

The only reason I go to the class is for the last five minutes. For the first 55 minutes we do positions that I think are made up as we go along. The teacher simply puts an adverb in front of an animal and, before you know it, I’m doing the Sleepy Bovine and Sad Chicken positions. But for the last five minutes she instructs us to lay back on the mat and let go of all our tensions, our stresses, and our heartaches.

I’m a college student taking a yoga class midday, so you can only imagine the kinds of tensions, stresses, and heartaches that I have.

But the lights are off and there’s some kind of Enya Remix playing in the background and it’s the only class where I’m encouraged to fall asleep. And the best part is that it’s not called falling asleep. It’s called getting in touch with yourself.

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