Story Value

random musings and episodes from the life of a 40 something comidienne/corporate refugee/mom - since whatever doesn't kill you provides excellent story value.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Weekend at the Ashram

Noble suffering is best enjoyed when served as a concept vs. reality. I learned this by surviving my own little reality TV show known as "Yoga Weekend." Initially, I was thrilled by the opportunity to teach Improv at the venerable yoga institute known, only semi-jokingly, as "cripple you." By the end of my 3 day tour, I was using "yoga" as a 4 letter word.

When I first learned I would be teaching there, I eagerly devoured the institute catalogue. I looked forward to the opportunity to cleanse myself by spending time in austere monastic surroundings, enjoying organic, vegetarian fare and cleansing my chakras with vigorous yoga.

By the end of the first day, I felt like Ellen Degeneres eating the cucumbers off her eyes at the spa.

Only fifteen minutes after arriving, I was being yelled at by a woman named "Rainbow."

I had placed my tray at the end of the salad bar while fetching a drink and, apparently, health inspectors could come in and accuse them of cross-contamination. Or something. I was too gobsmacked by this fierce little silver-haired woman in a flowing caftan bellowing at me to listen.

I was most surprised by the attitude of most "cripple you" staff members. Where I expected, serene, centered, peaceful folk ... I encountered sour, stressed-out task-masters. My first morning, I was brusquely sent back to my room to fetch my name tag before entering the dining hall. Even the faculty have no mojo with yogini lunch ladies.

I was almost literally shoved out of our instruction room, dinged for sneezing loudly during silent breakfast and shushed repeatedly after 9pm curfew. I hate being shushed. As my five year old proclaims when confronted with any dire circumstance: "NOT MY FAVORITE!"

I will say though -- the people watching was fabuloso. There were definitely hard-core organic, hemp-attired, spirolina-swilling, probiotic, ashtanga-addicted yoga folk there. But I also noticed more than a fair share of fake-tanned, acrylic-nailed, Barbiesque bimbos doing more crystal shopping than stretching. There were also a good number of yoga posers (like me) for whom the best part of the weekend would be telling people you went. We identified one another by our spanking new coordinated yoga attire and our eager willingness to be seen parting with the $3.50 "sin-tax" for real coffee in the basement cafe.

One morning with the dining hall's dessicated bark-chip blend had me naughtily fantasizing about Juan Valdez.

That's not to say I didn't experience some personal transformation or learn a few things about myself along the way during yoga weekend.

I created a new morning mantra for myself: "Kazuki Beans For Breakfast"
I learned that I'm more of a Cap'n Crunch girl and that cabbage vegetable broth, red miso paste and kazuki beans do not a suitable Denny's Grand Slam replacement make.

I learned its more fun to look like a yogini than to be a yogini and I have even adopted a new Sanskrit name in recognition of this experience.

You can call me "Penuche." That would be penuche as in the fudge shop I hit on the way to the Mass Pike after burning rubber out of the parking lot.

Hasta Luego Rainbow.

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Anonymous Spark and Foam said...

Perhaps you had not been informed of Rainbow's special love for humanity. It comes across as hostility, so it's hard to tell the difference, but believe me: she LOVES you.

And any place that considers caffeine a sin can kiss my ass. XOXO Violet

3:23 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Ashrams...NOT MY FAVORITE! I would be with you in the "this looks like a good story" camp. ;)

But seriously (or perhaps not): How does Improv fit into this scenario? Did they maybe imagine you would be showing them how to improv kundalini mantras?

I hope there's a Moons Over My Hammy in your near future.


8:24 PM  

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