Today, I did Power and Hatha Yoga classes back to back. The instructor for both these classes was highly-skilled, knowledgeable, and challenging–which is to say, somewhere between a Marine Corps Drill Sergeant and the Marquis de Sade in terms of capacity to bring the pain. If there’s not something that threatens to collapse me into a disheveled heap of limbs in each class, I risk getting bored. So when I say this yoga instructor is sadistic, I mean it in the most appreciative way imaginable. And not appreciative in that “Thank you, Sir. May I have another?” Animal House sort of way, but genuinely.
All that being said, there’s one particular piece of Sadism that stands above the rest, and that is a predilection for non-linear counting.
Imagine you’re in a pose, say a back bridge with one leg up in the air. The teacher has been counting down in the usual fashion taught to school children. You are quaking and your muscles are burning, but, from the integers being rattled off, you suspect you’re near being able to release and seek the momentary solace of some other unforgiving act of contortionism that will eventually have a different part trembling. However, sensing she needs more time to make a circuit of corrections, the teacher abandons our much-beloved linearity and begins rattling off numbers like the weather-girl who makes the nightly lotto drawing. (e.g. “and 4…3…37… 19…”)
Wait, what? I can’t cry–at least not first. I’m the only man in room. Besides, sobbing might dislocate something.
Now, I’m aware that a true yogi wouldn’t give a whit what random numbers were being “counted” off. Said yogi would find his bliss in the asana and melt into oneness with the universe. However, being closer to the type of Yogi who likes to steal pic-i-nic baskets than the kind whose “Kundalini is awakened” (I’m not even sure what that means; I hope it’s not dirty), I still find it presents a challenge.