Tuesday, March 12, 2013

SO I finally finished with those blasted yoga classes. And not a moment too soon. In fact, the only reason I even stuck with them so long is because we were required to pay in full upfront for the whole block of classes, so I was damned if they were going to just take my money and then not even have to look at my thoroughly displeased mug every week. But after what they subjected me to at the last session, I wish I’d spared myself the effort.

It should come as no surprise to you that I’m a firm believer in personal space. If any part of you – even your breath – is touching any part of me, then you’re standing at least two foot too close and can expect, at a minimum, a glare of such magnitude as to render you susceptible to spontaneous combustion. Either that or a dig in the ribs. Once, many moons ago, while working in retail, an old lady approached me to ask my help in locating some items. The only trouble was that she held on to my arm the entire time, and I finally had to physically move away for fear that I would vomit all over her and then deck her. So yes, you might say I have a slight aversion to unwanted and uninvited human contact.

You can imagine my horror, then, when the yoga instructor ordered us to pair up and sit with our backs to each other. I was more than a little squirmy, I can tell you, so when she told us to start breathing deeply so that we could feel the other person’s torso rise and fall, I all but fainted dead away. Then came the rocking back and forth. At this point, I couldn’t have looked more horrified if my whole family were being brutally butchered right in front of my eyes.

My only saving grace, I thought, was the fact that I didn’t have to look the other woman in the eye. Of course, the universe soon remedied that. We were instructed to turn around and face each other, to hold hands, and to continue the rocking. My increasing levels of awkwardness were mixed with suspicions that, somewhere, a hidden camera was catching all of this and uploading it to some seedy site.

Just as my blood pressure was about to reach boiling point, and as the sweat was starting to seep through my pores, we were finally released from our partnered prisons. I leaped back to the comfort and relative safety of my own yoga mat at a speed which couldn’t have done anything but offend the wonky-eyed woman I was paired with, while the instructor droned on about the benefits of massage during labour.

But I couldn’t listen; I was far too busy sliding into the first stages of post-traumatic stress. You know in films where there’s a whole bunch of people hanging out and having fun, and then there’s an unhappy lump of a human hunched up in the corner, silently rocking back and forth and staring blankly into space, and you wonder what tragic woe has befallen them? I was that lump. My only comfort was visions of getting home as quickly as possible to have a long soak in some Savlon.

My disinfectant dreams were rudely disturbed when I noticed, to my absolute horror, that people were pairing up again. Not content with simply explaining the many benefits of massage, our instructor now wanted us to practice on each other. And not just a bit of a shoulder rub either – no, we were to massage the lower back of the lucky lady beside us. And by “lower back”, it quickly became clear that she meant “buttocks”. I was trapped. I flashed terrified glances left and right, looking for the man in the trenchcoat who had to be hiding in the shadows somewhere. The whole scene played in slow-motion until mercy spared me, the time was up and I sprinted, screaming, from the building, never to return.

And now, instead of using yoga to help me to relax and breathe through labour, I’m going to have to be pinned down and drugged to within an inch of my life, just to free me of the flashbacks. My baby will be born in a highly agitated state, will live her whole life with an inexplicable fear of baggy pants, and will break out in a sweat every time she hears ************Rock the Boat***************.

So if you’re thinking of signing up for a class, dear readers, I strongly urge you to consider the hidden costs. I didn’t and, sometime in the future, will have to spend thousands on therapists’ bills just so my own daughter can hug me without hyperventilating.


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By Laura Hutchinson
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