Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Yoga is more universal than you might think by Michael Perry (Wisconsin State Journal)

This was in the Wisconsin State Journal, Monday, Oct 7, 2013

Enjoy!  I certainly did, especially after the slow-cooked rice with vanilla-soy milk was a colossal flop this morning and the Husband was reluctant to tell me so.  :)  

Yoga is more universal than you might think

Recently a real-live yogi asked my wife and me for help renaming his yoga studio. Asking a guy like me to rename your yoga studio is the rough equivalent of asking a room full of teenaged boys to come up with an advertising slogan for baked beans, but I agreed to do the best I could, which is to say we lowered the bar immediately.

This all came about in the first place because my wife is a long-time student of the yogic arts. I don’t know if they give out yogi belts like they do karate belts, but if they did I guess my wife would be somewhere at the higher end, say a third-degree rainbow belt or a first degree tie-dye. She was studying before I met her. (As a matter of fact, she was doing yoga in the first photograph I ever viewed of her. In the department of “Hey! Who’s Creepy?” it popped up during my pre-first-date Googling.) She sustains a dedicated practice to this day. Over the past several years she has been studying with the yogi in question, and he’s become a family friend. In fact, we’ve had him over for pancakes. Gluten-free quinoa pancakes sprinkled with essence of dandelion, or something along those righteous nutritional lines, but nonetheless I think you should know that even yogis like pancakes.

I have all the flexibility of a narrow-minded scarecrow, so both my wife and the yogi have tried to get me to try a few poses over the years, but it hasn’t gone well. For one thing, I comport myself upon the mat with all the grace of a concussed cow. For another, yoga requires patience, dedication, and follow-through, and I just don’t think that’s fair.

Nonetheless, my wife hangs in there. One thing I admire about her as a yoga instructor is her dedication to sharing the benefits of yoga with groups of people not normally considered yoga-friendly. For instance, a year or two ago she asked me to help her write some promotional materials designed to lure farmers into attending yoga classes. I was pretty skeptical at first, until I started paging through one of her textbooks and discovered many of the poses were directly applicable to agricultural pursuits. For instance, you’ve got your plow pose, otherwise known as the Halasana. You’ve got your wheel pose, which looks to me like it’d be a good choice if you were trying to locate a grease zerk on the underside of the hay baler. You’ve got your Seated Wide Legged Straddle, otherwise known as the Upavistha Konasana, which would come in handy when dismounting from the tractor or avoiding a charging pig. Then there’s the Awkward Chair Pose, which I would call The Uff-Da, and the Half-Moon pose, which I renamed Farmer Dropped His Pliers. (Some might call it The Plumber.)

I wrote these suggestions up and shared them with my wife, because we are in this together, whether she likes it or not. After reading them, she looked at me in a manner betraying the fact that she has a looong way to go on this whole inner peace thing. Nonetheless, when the yogi called for help renaming his studio, she asked if I had any ideas. After a period of reflection coming in at just under three minutes, I compiled the following list: Languid Yoga. Grunty Yoga. Slippery Yoga. Do We Hafta Yoga. Something Popped Yoga. Oops Yoga. OK Yoga. Holy Yogi Yoga. Nice Tights Yoga. The Yoga Barn. Old Country Yoga Buffet. Posing 4 Posers. Dude-i-o with a Studio. And finally: Rock Hard in Your Leotard.

I submitted the list for review, but didn’t hear back. When I inquired, my wife said she hadn’t found time to respond because she’s been busy developing a new yoga pose especially for me. She says she hasn’t decided what to call it yet. She’s leaning toward Sound of One Hamstring Snapping, but for the sake of brevity may go with The Trussed Turkey.

by Michael Perry  An original “Roughneck Grace” column exclusive to the Wisconsin State Journal. For more of Michael Perry’s writing, visit Perry photo by Andi Stempniak, Eau Claire Leader-Telegram.