Sunday, May 3, 2009

Yoga with an accent

I reached my gym at the usual time for my kick-box class and noticed the hip-hop class with deafening music was just wrapping up. A long line of people were waiting outside for the dancers to vacate the giant room. One look at the pink yoga mat from Target that most seemed to carry and it hit me I'd come for a wrong class. I decided to take it anyways.

A blondie instructor in regular gym attire (I bet he bought it from the 'yoga wear' section) walked in and dimmed the lights. Next came the soothing sitar-heavy background score. Then he folded hands and said "namaste" with a heavy accent and what followed was nothing short of a mix of slight ridicule and real yoga for me.

Blondie effortlessly took the class through a series of 'asanas': Half moon pose, Downward facing dog pose, Spine twisting pose, Awkward pose, Triangle pose and so many more. Everyone seemed so into the meditative mood and the 'complete mind-body workout' but I was far from peace of mind. The American names and descriptions of the asanas were a tad too funny for me to take it so seriously.

Am image flashed in my head of one of my yoga teachers from my past life in India. He was a senior citizen with a strong lean body, long white hair and a big tilak splashed across his forehead. His class would be held in his large tree-lined serene backyard. The classes were only held early in the morning when the air was fresh and the birds chirping. He only spoke when necessary in the local language but his speech had the power to transpire you into a whole different universe. He would go over the purpose of yoga, the types of yoga and how it was intertwined with spirituality. Everything he said and did had such a profound effect! It was a whole lot more than just exercising. One could not help but be in a trans with him around.

Blondie with his spiked hair, branded shoes and American accent teaching a class at 8 pm was no where close to my image of a yoga teacher. Sure he must have studied the course material and taken the exams and made hundreds feel better but could he even remotely understand the essence of yoga?

I was thinking how a Spanish chika might feel about learning salsa dancing from a desi dude in Mumbai. Now only if I tried harder instead of just getting amused, I could perhaps accept him in that role.

I'm so picky :P

2 comments:

jus me... said...

lol i know what you mean... When two white girls in Oz invited to me to join their 'Bollywood dancing'i nearly burst out laughing... I didn't think 'bollywood dancing' needed classes and this feeling of hey i'm indian, i don't need classes to move my hips..

Pari said...

haha so true! i've sadly been to a couple of those bollywood dance classes as well. quite an experience :p