Let my friend Mark (the 6’2″ 195lb man) tell you. Mark has been a work exchange volunteer for the Yoga Journal Conferences for a few years now. One of the privelages of that is being able to attend classes on a space available basis. This means finding a class with space and usually coming in about 15 minutes after class has started. Which is what Mark did.
The room was almost completely dark, I unfolded my mat right next to the door, but two of her assistants took my mat and sat it down up front, right next to the stage. I sat down, closed my eyes, and opened my ears to Angela. It took a few minutes to settle down. And when I finally did I heard Angela ask us to “focus on our pelvic floors and then to imagine our pelvic floors opening like the beautiful lotus flowers that they were. I panicked! That’s when I remembered reading in the confernce brochure that Angela Farmer was leading a class on the pelvic floor and that it was for “women only.” I couldn’t sneak out, I was sitting right next to the stage. No matter how much I focused on my breath, my heart wouldn’t stop beating like mad and I could feel the sweat as it thickened under my arms and on my brow. I wondered if the rest of the class noticed the “really weird guy” who showed up to the “women only” class on the pelvic floor. That’s when I heard Angela say “Now at the end of this meditation, we’re going to partner up and share. Now my heart was about to explode out of my chest. I looked around frantically as I tried to slide along the front wall and make my way around two more corners and two more walls to the door without being noticed when a kindly looking, older woman grabbed my upper arm and asked if I would be her partner for the sharing. I froze, and in the background Angela directed us to sit cross legged facing each other, and “feeling our lotus flowers as they rooted down into the earth” and to share the one thing that was prominent right then on our minds.
What could I say.
Have you ever been in a class with an assistant? If you have you know how great it is when they get in deep and take you further than you ever imagined. Have you ever had an assist at the wrong time?
Or worse, been the assistant at the wrong time? My friend Tara has. By the way, Tara gives some of the best assist I have ever had. Unfortunately that is not the first thing that comes to mind when I think of her assisting. This is….
Tara was a assisting for a master teacher in a juicy class, it was packed and everybody was pouring sweat. Still Tara came to each student with a smile and determination to give them a great experience. She came to one student who was reluctant to take wheel. Tara bent down deep, ready to assist. The student slammed down their back and shook their head no, that didn’t deter Tara she was encouraging them to try with her assistance. The student told her it wasn’t a good time, Tara said “If not now, when?” The student said, when I am not holding in gas. “I don’t care, ” was Tara’s response. She bent down, stooping in front of the students bent legs and wrapped her up around her low back then she began to lift her higher, and higher. Which made the student fart, louder, and louder.
A few years ago my friend and I signed up for a weekend training with Gregor Singleton. We were so excited. It started with a Friday evening session. Afterwards a few of us went to a Mexican Restaurant, ordered some margaritas and talked about what we were looking forward to (we are good yogi’s, most of the time). Needless to say what Cindy was looking forward to and what actually happen, weren’t the same thing.
Gregor was great, the studio was packed, and the heat was cranking. Even when one of the studio’s teachers slipped in a puddle of sweat, he kept us moving. We practiced for about 3.5 hours before we took a break. A lot of people were taking their hot yoga towels outside to drip dry. There was one man in particular. He was about 6 foot 3, he had two towels layered on his mat and every time he moved a splash of sweat would rise up. When we came back for the afternoon session. Cindy placed her mat behind his. Within no time Gregor had us flowing again. We were giddy, exhausted, fired up, and moving through some awesome s*#&%. We ended the session in a very long frog. For some of us it felt like an eternity.
Did I mention the studio was packed? When we got into frog Cindy’s head was basically under this large, sweaty man’s ass, maybe his thigh, but from where I sat, it looked like all ass. About 5 minutes into it, I looked back over at Cindy, her face was red, her expression bounced between anger and tension as she waited. That’s when I saw it. Ass sweat was dripping on her! There was no way to escape it, it was pouring off of him and landing on her shoulder, back, all over. I’ve never seen her so distraught, and like any good friend I laughed. I’m laughing now, just remembering it, and I hope you are too.
Cindy, creating a little sweat on her own
A friend of mine had been thinking that it was time to try yoga. While on vacation he takes a Bikram class in Berkley, CA. Wow, this is great, he loves it, he’s hooked, he so so sweaty. After class he talks with the instructor, a man from Sweden who gets everything my friend is saying to him. The excitement is there, and my friend wants to learn more, he’s ready to sign up. Then he notices that the instructor isn’t wearing too much, and he asks about yoga attire. The instructor tells him to go to the women’s department and buy bikini bottoms, these were his words. He skipped right over the man bikini option and sent him straight to the women ‘s department.
Does my friend go, of course he does. He buys some bottoms, does the necessary shaving and suits up for another class. This time he is home, not in Berkley, not even in California. Lets just say in a place that isn’t accustom to seeing men in women’s bikini bottoms. But he doesn’t realize this, he thinks, it yoga, isn’t it the same everywhere? Oh, and it’s not even a Bikram class.
He does his practice in a huge open space, while the other students pile their mats almost on top of each other, giving him plenty of room. His flow was a little restricted, he didn’t lunge nearly as far as he did in his first class. Handstands, not an option, and it is safe to assume nobody wanted to sit under his tree. He dropped the bottoms, literally and figuratively. Now he practices in board shorts and you may have even taken one of his wildly popular classes.
There are so many wonderful things that yoga can bring to your life, there are also 1,000 blogs about that already. This one is about the belly laughs. There have been times when my friends and I are on the floor laughing at ourselves, which are some of my most treasured memories, usually some of my most embarrassing ones too.
Buddhist said “Laughter is the language of the gods“. So every Wednesday I will post a story that has brought a tear to my eye, a tear from laughing. Wednesday is a long way away, so I will give you a tease, something to let you know how good Wednesday is going to be. Our first story involves a man, bikini bottoms, and a lot of shame.
I am a yoga teacher, student, studio owner, mom, happy fool, loving life in Wisconsin; for now. I started this blog for the same reason I started teaching, Yoga is FUN! Sometimes it is even hysterical so here is a spot to celebrate those fantastic falls, ass sweat, and the men in banana hammocks!