Continuing with my looking on the bright side series, I offer this essay that includes at least two positive sentences. The light in me honors the light in you. Namaste.
The Complaint: One’s yoga teacher says he’s skilled in the art of killing you.
The Silver Lining: Namaste at home and downward dog in my pajamas.
I love me some yoga — some sweaty but relaxing, tough but comforting yoga. Shoutout to my YMCA crew in Des Moines, especially Stacie, Kelby, Hortencia and Penny. If you’re not a fan of yoga, I’d encourage you to try different teachers or studios, because those first instructors might have trained with one of the Milanese I’m about to describe.
Italians are not known for being prompt, and I admit I’ve benefited from this cultural norm when I’ve shown up tardy to places. “Whoops! Looks like I’m really assimilating!” But, when you’re paying (too much) for a professional service and that session is timed and booked in advance, my aggravation devours my cultural sensitivity. So, consistently late teachers who still end class on time, boo to you. What’s worse is when they spend the first fifteen minutes lecturing you about their superior knowledge of pressure points and how if they touch you in a certain spot, you’re sure to die.
What’s also not great is when that super-guru man then comes over to you during class because you’re not quite doing a pose and asks (I think he asks; my Italian was rougher last summer) if you’re on your period, because then you shouldn’t shove your fists into that ovarian area. Blood rushes to your cheeks instead, and you say something in a half-language like thanks ok got it dead bye.
In my very first Italian yoga class, another instructor made us run in place for five minutes without taking our feet off the ground. So, something like this:
Then, we twerked for three minutes and paired each thrust with a forceful exhalation; I guess that second part made it yoga.
A yoga master may be reading this and recognize, “Ah yes! This is the ancient practice of Whatdafuh Yoga. It is not widely known in the Great Lakes region of your motherland.” Ok cool, you do you; I do child’s pose until this class ends.
My fellow gym members, I’d like to add, are not the warm and welcoming Y crew I’m used to. I’d try to interact with others, and they’d be irritated I was interrupting a sports bra selfie (she was probably an #Influencer). Or I’d occupy a spot in the room, and they’d inform me, “That place is saved for Federica.” Or, as I’m leaving the premises, a woman stops me (Wow, someone is actually talking to me! This is great!) to yell at me for not changing my street shoes when I entered the Zumba area. Guilty, I respond calmly with “Right, I know, it’s just that I was running late.”
Orsola continues scolding me as if I’m her grandchild who dared to sit on The Fancy White Couch in the dining room. I lose my shiz: “Sì, lo so,” I eject. “Lo so! Ho capito. HO CAPITO! CIAO.” I got it, lady. I got it. Bye! I narrate this story to Alberto later and he responds, “Wow, amore, you’re becoming Italian. If you were in Minnesota you would’ve been so polite and apologetic.”
Oh wait, silver linings, yes. So, it’s me and a Texan in my living room now; Yoga with Adriene is my current jam. She’s always on time, never threatens me and doesn’t care if I’m showered or stylishly attired. Plus, there’s a dog in all her videos. Check, check, check and check.
#NotAllYogis — I did try out a couple of classes at studios further away from home, and they suited my taste better, but not enough to quit Adriene and spend forty minutes on the subway in sweaty spandex.
Now, you may know me as a whiny American, and you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, but I’d like to present the following from fellow USA transplants, so you know I’m not uniquely bitchy:
- J from Chicago: “Yoga here? Oh god no. I do Yoga with Adriene.” Shut up, me too!
- E from San Francisco: “You just need to accept that people are rude, salaries are low, and there’s no good yoga — then you’ll be happy in Milan.”