This story was first published in Red Bull Australia
In this candid letter to its cruel owner, a yoga fanatic’s body describes the physical torture it has to endure day in, day out.
Namaste dear guardian,
I’m not normally one to speak out, but it’s high time we got a few things squared off (much like our hips). I believe that our chakras are in a knot, our breaths are out of sync, we’ve got an energy block. And it’s not me – it’s you.
I’m just feeling a little vulnerable right now, and a good deal unappreciated. I think I’ve been incredibly accommodating over the years, silently enduring the torture that comes with repeated forward bending, heart opening and spinal twisting. But I’ve had enough, and between you and me, the hip flexors are just about ready to go union.
I mean, last week you really honed in on hanumanasana. I get it, being able to do the front splits would be a great party trick. It would also most definitely improve your Instagram engagement. But honey, you’ve got short hamstrings. There, I said it. You’ve got short hamstrings and now I’ve got the worst case of yoga butt I’ve ever experienced. I’m sore, I’m sick of microbending (this entire body is one giant microbend) and no amount of positive manifestation is going to fix that.
What really grinds my bandhas, however, is how especially nice you are to Brain. It’s bordering on sycophantic. She’s just up there, floating around, reaping all the yoga benefits. Meanwhile I’m dragged out of bed at dawn and shoved into yet another pair of tights. Don’t get me wrong, we look good in tights, but occasionally I wouldn’t mind being able to breathe. Put me in a pair of trakkies, I’ve seen people exercise in trakkies. It’s a real thing.I’m all for having a relaxed Brain. When she’s chill, it slows down my nervous system and helps me digest all those nourishing greens you shovelled in earlier. But what you don’t realise is that to get Brain to a transcendent state it requires a lot of gruelling asana work by yours truly. I’m talking round after round of Sun Salutation A, or worse yet… B. (I am still recovering from utkatasana trauma, by the way).We’ve been at it for awhile now, and I will freely admit that it does feel nice to be able to touch my toes. But honestly, I’m not sure human bodies are meant to bend this way. I see other bodies and they’re not walking around on their hands. They’re walking on their feet, upright, the way god intended.After all, I’m a body. A human body. I’m not a cat nor a cow, I’m not a tree or one-legged crow. I am tired of pretending to be an aeroplane or a baby cobra. I don’t feel anything like a warrior in Virabhadrasana One. Or Two, for that matter.
In fact, I feel like I’m breaking. I try to summon the fire, I try to turn on that mula bandha. But I DON’T KNOW WHERE IT IS. Where is this mula bandha you speak of?!And don’t even get me started on hot flow. Bikram Choudhury has a lot to answer for, I tell you. Yoga Asana in a room heated to 40 degrees with 40 percent humidity is ridiculous. So ridiculous Choudhury himself calls these classes “torture chambers”. So why are you subjecting me to this sweaty, sweaty torment? Not to mention having to deal with other people’s body juices flicking onto my mat. That’s my sacred space, man. Respect it.
Honestly, most of the time my drishti is firmly gazing upon the door, wondering when the hell you’re going to get us out of here. Because plough pose makes me claustrophobic and I can’t help but fart in shoulder stand. It’s an issue.
So instead of the detoxifying release we get from supta matsyendrasana, how about giving three glasses of riesling a go? Now, that’s a release. Or perhaps we can salute a Snickers bar instead of the sun? That would really get me going. Savasana is all well and good, but the whole pretending to be a corpse thing still creeps me out. Why don’t we just sleep in tomorrow instead? Same, same.
Jokes aside, I do know that yoga is magic. The first time we got up into handstand – what a rush. Those times we find the flow and move in sync are some of the best parts of my day. And it’s true, I do feel sorry for those bodies whose custodians never happy baby, yogi squat or chaturanga dondasana.
What I am trying to say is that my heart is open, and my anus is flowered (yep, that’s a real yoga term). I’m honouring the divine light in you… I just want you to do the same for me.
Sincerely in loving kindness,