Sunday, November 07, 2010

the troath will set you free

i'm a sucker for free stuff. i love free food tasting at the supermarket (s&r and the rare visit to US-based costco come to mind), free meals at parties, free haircuts, free giveaways with purchases, and free wifi, to name a few. in the past two years or so, i've discovered a new favorite free thing: free trial classes.

i've attended a free pole-dancing class, where i discovered the value of thigh cellulite in hanging on to cold metal bars to save yourself from crashing to the ground. needless to say, i did not go back to pay for further humiliation. i've attended a free barre3 class, where i realized that it's important to wear the right exercise top if you don't want to distract yourself with your own cleavage. i've also attended a few free yoga classes, where i learned repeatedly that i really don't like yoga.

to be fair, i liked some of the classes but i might be too distract-able to really get into it. instead of transcending to a more peaceful state, i hear my thoughts more loudly. sadly, i cannot turn off the running commentary in my head. i think about how my mat is gross and slippery from my own sweat, or how i can hear someone's phone vibrating on the wood table near us (you know who you are!), or how 'yogi' reminds me too much of the bear, or how i like (or despise) the outfit of the woman in front of me, or what to eat after class.

but mostly, i'm just trying hard not to laugh.

if i were serious about pursuing yoga, the first thing i would do is stop going to these classes with friends who like to laugh as much as i do. and it's not just that they like laughing, it's that they laugh at the smallest things, which ordinary adults would ignore or forgive.

during one of my first free yoga classes, i went with TWO such friends who were also yoga newbies. we made a deal to distance ourselves from each other and not ever make eye contact, for fear of disrupting the class with our outbursts. even with those self-imposed rules, that particular class was more challenging than we had thought for reasons other than yoga.

for one thing, instead of being calm and patient, our teacher was rather dismissive and assumed that everyone knew something about yoga (despite knowing there were beginners in the group). it was easy to ignore her attitude though. it was also easy to ignore my stomach rumbling. it was also quite easy to ignore the peripheral vision of my two friends in awkward positions. so i thought it would be a breeze to control any laughter, until the yoga teacher said,

'breathe using ujjayi, breathe with a partially closed TROATH.'

oh no oh no oh no please don't let her say it again, i thought. i was so successful at being serious and namaste-ish. but nooo. she said it about 10 more times after the first. ignoring a mispronounced word is nothing, but hearing it over and over again in such a solemn environment while not really knowing what the heck she was talking about is another thing. where is my troath, teacher, and how do i partially close it? each time i heard 'troath', i felt bubbles of laughter slowly rising from my gut up to my ... well, troath. i was also certain my friends were going through the same thing.

much to my relief, i was able to hold it in until after the class, where i finally reunited with my friends, who were in physical and mental anguish because of the whole deal with the less-than-friendly teacher issue and the trying-to-suppress-laughter-because-of-'troath' thing. one of them angrily ate more than her share of free bananas in the dressing room as 'revenge' for the extra-long session. and when someone finally broke the deathly silence by giggling, i went to a little corner and laughed loudly for a very, very long time.

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