Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Yoga in a Nutshell"

THE SCENE: A TYPICAL YOGA STUDIO – MELLOW, SPIRITUAL AND AUSTERE.

A YOGA CLASS IS COMING TO ITS TRADITIONAL ENDPOINT. A DOZEN PRACTITIONERS LIE COMFORTABLY ON THEIR MATS, LISTENING, AS THEIR INSTRUCTOR LEADS THEM THROUGH THEIR FINAL, TOTAL-BODY RELAXATION EXERCISE.

YOGA INSTRUCTOR: Relax…your toes.

RESPONDING TO THE DIRECTION, THE PRACTITIONERS SEND THEIR BREATH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THEIR TOES. THEIR TOES IMMEDIATELY UNCLENCH AND RELAX. THE EXERCISE CONTINUES, THE PRACTITIONERS RELAXING AREAS OF THEIR BODY, AS THE INSTRUCTOR PATIENTLY WORKS HIS WAY UPWARD.

YOGA INSTRUCTOR: Relax…your feet. Relax…your ankles. Relax…your calves. Relax…your knees…

AT THIS POINT, A DISTANT VOICE CRIES OUT --

DISTANT VOICE: Fire! Run!

IN THE YOGA CLASS, THE RELAXATION EXERCISE CONTINUES.

YOGA INSTRUCTOR: Relax…your thighs. Relax…your hips. Relax…your abdominals…

WE HEAR THE SOUND OF FIRE ENGINES, THEIR SIRENS SCREAMING LOUDER AS THEY APPROACH. THERE’S A CLAMOR OF EXCITEMENT AS THE FIRE RAGES OUT OF CONTROL.

BUT IN THE YOGA CLASS…

YOGA INSTRUCTOR: Relax…your diaphragm. Relax…your heart. Relax…your lungs…

THE CRACKLING FLAMES MOVE PERILOUSLY CLOSER. THE INSTRUCTOR’S VOICE FINALLY DISAPPEARS, OVERPOWERED BY THE CACOPHONY OF CHAOS AND FIRE.

DISSOLVE TO: TWENTY MINUTES LATER.

WE HEAR THE SOUND OF FIRE HOSES, DOUSING THE LAST FLICKERING EMBERS INTO SUBMISSION. STANDING IN THE YOGA STUDIO, TWO FIREFIGHTERS SURVEY THE TRAGIC DEVASTATION.

FIREFIGHTER NUMBER ONE: Burnt to a crisp.

FIREFIGHTER NUMBER TWO: Yeah. But boy, are they relaxed.

5 comments:

Nerdie McSweatervest said...

I feel slightly ashamed of myself for finding this funny.

growingupartists said...

Interesting blend of emotions, I'm impressed.

Anonymous said...

Funnier than most skits on SNL. And a whole lot shorter.

A. Buck Short said...

In a former life, my wife and I, and a few others helped run an outdoor education center capitalizing, on the fact that people were so alienated from their environment, they’d pay us $150 to come out for the weekend and chop wood. “Hey, I don’t think we’re getting our money’s worth?” “Here, have more wood.”

My job was public relations and maintenance. Sometimes I would hit my thumb so hard with a hammer, I wasn’t able to type the shameless publicity. Sometimes I’d cook for the guests and Laura or her friend Carolyn would play the guitar and sing. Sometimes there were so few guests that they felt equally comfortable playing the guitar and cooking for us. Occasionally when one of the naturalists was under the weather, I got pressed into service leading a nature walk. Now you’re looking at a guy who doesn’t believe people were even intended to go outside, much less enjoy it. (The thinking being that outside was first. If that had been adequate, had it been sufficient, then there would have been no reason to have to invent inside. And even after they invented inside, if it if was a public place and you wanted to go back outside, it still cost you 50-cents to get your coat back.)

This is how I learned shtick. One of the paying visitors on the hike would ask, “Hey, what’s that over there?” My reply would invariably be something like, “I dunno, looks like something in my aquarium.” Then go about beseeching woodland critters to cooperate with a little more hurrying and scurrying, leave some scat on the trail so we could play guess what kind of a butt it came from…anything, give these people their money’s worth.

Which is the long way of getting to the fact that, on Thursday nights, it was also my job to drive to the train station and pick up the yogi coming in from Cambridge to teach the Ananda Marga yoga class. (This was in the day of the Beatles and their Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Our town had a recent visit from the Maharishi's "Robin" otherwise known as the 14 year-old “perfect master” who knew everything. This made quite an impression on us,so we decided to get in on the ground floor of something that had already been around 3,000 years. Later, we had our own kids and realized that every 14 year-old thinks he knows everything.

For whatever reason, I was always late picking the guy up. To make the 6 o’clock class, I would invariably end up flooring the accelerator, winding precariously around the dirt roads leading to our rec. room. By the time we got there, especially during mud season, both of us were sort of, well frazzled. This is where I learned what yoga is all about. If you say you're doing yoga, you can pretend you're breathing heavily intentionally. The second lesson was more Zen-like -- hurry up and relax. And yet, yoga class was pretty much the only time we never were surprised by a fire.

Please let me know if this stream of consciousness is inappropriate. I'm not quick learning the rules.

Anonymous said...

I first heard this on CBC radio (Canada) many years ago. Do you know the original source so that I might be able to find it on an mp3 or a recording? I've put an rss feed on this blog so will see any responses.