When I arrive at yoga class, there are a lot of things I expect to see in the waiting room: regrettable OM tattoos, yellowing toenails, the smoky plume of a stick of Nag Champa everybody but me seems to love… But something I do not expect to see, as I swipe my key card with the impossibly serene woman behind the desk, something that is going to throw a serious wrench is my sense of inner shanti, is my gorgeous new boyfriend’s gorgeous ex-girlfriend.
I recognized her instantly. I’ve met her before, plus I’ve Googled her (like, once!). The infamous ex announced her name to the impossibly serene woman behind the desk, lest there should be any confusion. It was she, all right.
I did what any sane woman would do under the circumstances: texted my best friend. A response came within seconds: “OMG, awk!”
“Awk,” indeed. And made all the awk-er by the fact that the class was to be taught by a man I once dated. Well, almost dated. He asked me out and then canceled on me hours before our date because his friend’s dog had cancer. Let me repeat that: A man canceled a date with me because his friend’s. Dog. Had. Cancer. (For the record, he later tried to reschedule, but my mom’s dental hygienist had the flu…)
The masochist in me wanted to put my mat right beside the ex. As did the lesbian in me. This girl is seriously hot. But I settled for placing my mat a row behind hers and a few spots to the right. Utterly uncreepy. Utterly benign.
The first thing I noticed, as Dog-Cancer-Date-Canceler led us into some cat-cow stretches, was that her hair was better than mine. Maybe not all the time – who can speak for all the time? – but in that moment, certainly. She had twisted it into this cute Heidi-ish half-up, half-down deal, while I had pulled my own unwashed mane into a matted half-bun and used snappy clips to secure partly-grown-out bangs.
Date-Canceler strolled over to chat me up, but I was too busy watching her lower down into chatarunga. Damn. This girl was not messing around. She held a low chatarunga, pushed back up into plank, and then did it all again without even mussing her Heidi hair. Well so did I! Um… with my knees down and a child’s pose in between.
But when the time came for standing splits, we were back on even playing field. As Date-Canceler waxed prophetic on the relinquishment of expectation, I jammed my face into my ankle and shot my other leg so high that Iyengar would have stopped to clap. And my alignment? Bananas. I looked over at Heidi Hair. It was sad how her leg couldn’t reach any higher…
Finally, mercifully, shavassana came. We all lay there for five minutes in corpse pose, and tried to float away.
When the five minutes were up, we bowed deeply to Date-Canceler and recited in unison, “Namaste”: the divine light in me honors the divine light in you. Or, in other words: Tie, bitch. You might have me beat on push-ups, but I skewered you with my standing split.
That’s what I love about yoga. The total vacation from ego and the self. Om…