I love those moments. When I first started practicing, I used to feel so embarrassed about those sorts of things.
I think of the weirdness and hilarity as a welcome chance to laugh about how yoga brings us together to be human. Yoga is a chance to play.
I was recently contacted by the author of Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi. I quickly fell in love with the book... Brian certainly understands the value of humor in class, and his writing captures this effortlessly.
Want to win a free copy of the book?
Simply visit the Facebook page for Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi and leave a comment below.
Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi by Brian Leaf:
An Excerpt from Chapter 1
I became a yoga zealot pretty quickly. I loved feeling, for the first time, the muscles between my ribs as I stretched in setu ban-dhasana (bridge pose). I loved the prayers — this was the first time I had taken seriously a charge to effect world peace — and I loved the relaxation. Oskar’s deep, euphonic voice soothed every muscle in my body, and when he said “relaaaax,” I melted.
One day after class I told Oskar about my colitis. He recommended that I practice “[insert deep, relaxing voice] moooola bannnda” sixty times a day. He explained, “Tense ouup and then relaaaax your anouuuse” thirty times every morning and thirty times every night.
Say again? Oskar had a pretty thick accent, and I was sure that I must have misheard him. He could not possibly have told me to tense and then relax my anus sixty times a day.
In fact, I doubt that I had ever, in my eighteen years, heard anyone speak about my anus at all before. Sure, I had heard the word used, but not in the context of my anus and certainly not by a bearded and sandaled yoga teacher dressed all in white.
Pursing my lips, squinting slightly, and bobbing my head like I was earnestly considering his wise counsel, I thanked him politely as I backed away. For days I shook my head and puzzled at what in the world he possibly could have said that sounded so much like anus.*
* Years later, in my studies of yoga, I learned of the bandhas, or “locks,” as they translate into English, and sure enough there was mula bandha, a practice of lifting the muscles in the pelvic floor, from pubis to rectum, as in Kegel exercises. And mula bandha, the book instructed, could be used therapeutically for, among other things, ailments of the gastrointestinal tract. So it happened that Oskar was, of course, spot-on!
Excerpted from the book Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi ©2012 by Brian Leaf. Published with permission of New World Library.
Brian Leaf, M.A. is the author of Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi. He draws upon twenty-one years of intensive study, practice, and teaching of yoga, meditation, and holistic health. Visit him online at http://www.Misadventures-of-a-Yogi.com.