Years of self-punitive restraint have rendered her devoid of fat. The Orange County type rolls up her Botox-branded yoga mat and tucks it into her armpit, awkwardly shifting her rather ample breast implants right into my line of sight. Which is fine. It keeps me from getting caught blankly staring at the impossibility that is her inflated lips. That would be rude. At least the wildly disproportionate boobs are designed to be gawked at. Mentioning that she’s forcefully platinum blonde would just be stereotyping.
Lightly padding out of the room like a cloud goddess, I am flush with blood in a healthy, vigorous way. Proud of my pinkness, and my accepting, placid state. Until I stand again next to her very expensive tan. Then I wonder if I’m just plain blotchy. A little threatened, I scrape together a sense of superiority about my progress toward all-knowing peace, when compared with her failure to get the point of yoga.
Being an appropriate person, I wait for her to stride off to her Range Rover before giving my very spiritual yet grounded teacher the “oy vey” face. Asking her nonverbally how she attempts to guide to selfless enlightenment someone so loudly material.
“You know,” she lovingly surrenders in the most patient tone, “you have to meet people where they are.”
“…right,” I apologize in a slow-burning revelation, catching my judgement. How non-yogi of me. She’s probably a really nice person. (Probably not.)
“What an asshole,” I groan to myself of my shameful default personality.
With one clean, ego-free lesson, the instructor rewires the way I expect change. It’s not a switch, it’s steps. We’ve all agreed that the body doesn’t change in a day, and we accept the repetition of exercise. But as we do in the West, we sever mind from body and forget that reforming the mind is done in the same incremental way. None of us wants to feel threatened when tiptoeing into change, especially in the vulnerable realms of the mental or spiritual.
“Only ask for an inch from them,” my teacher nudges, “it must be their own will to give it.”
The revolution is personal, I realize. And slower than we’d prefer. Three or four years into yoga practice is when I could tell my muscles were changing. You show up, and you show up, and you show up, and maybe one day your thighs are less jiggly and you find enlightenment. A sweeping change always seems sudden in retrospect, but it’s orchestrated in the day-to-day. I cram my feet into my little boots for the walk. “White girl in Southern California goes to yoga class in 65-degree weather wearing Uggs,” I read the setup to myself, deadpan. Might as well pick up a green smoothie and hashtag that shit on Instagram. I am the new devil.
READ THE REST OF ‘REWIRING’ IN – SN6: MAYDAY ON AMAZON