Today yoga was taught to me by an increasingly pregnant woman. Last week she sat on me, but this week she did not. I was disappointed. There is something cosmic about a pregnant woman sitting on you while you do yoga. She has a very soothing, quintessentially yoga-teacher voice. My one complaint would be that she “om”‘s too low. She “om”‘ed deep into the range of the one male in the class, whereas I “om” comfortably in my own narrow, six-note alto range.

I’ve been doing yoga for over a year now. I hestiate to even post on this blog (which is read intermittenetly by maybe a dozen people) about yoga. Yoga is instinsically boring, especially to those who do not do yoga. Sometimes I miss the days of not doing yoga, when I would snicker at people who did yoga, and say things like, “I’m just not slow enough to yoga, I just get so bored and restless doing yoga.” I lived in the smug knowledge that yoga was for people who did not drink enough coffee.

But then I started doing yoga on the day that the United States invaded Iraq. When we sent white light from our third eyes to the rest of the world, I felt that this was really happening. My rage about the war was somehow sublimated into some kind of universal, eternal love, and that hooked me.

Now I am chasing the unachievable but worthy goal of enlightenment via what is, essentially, stretching. I would be embarrassed about this but I so fully believe in the stretching and its potential to lead to me to enlightenment that I am not at all ashamed to talk about it publicly. Not only that, but I believe it might be of beneift to someone else to hear about this enlightened stretching and how it has improved my life.

If this sounds frigtheningly religous to you, it is. I realized recently that yoga is my religion. I was raised by Jewish atheists and now I show up at a place not once, but three times a week, and chant in unison about the oneness and goodness and happiness of all beings. When I leave this place, I feel that I am part of a community based on the shared belief in a certain set of truths, and that due to my belief in these truths, I will be rewarded not only in this life, but in the next one. If that’s not religion, then I don’t know what is.

Some cool shit has happened because of yoga. I can put myself into positions that are cool. I can stand on my head. That’s cool. I am stretchier. I am thinner. When something upsets me or stresses me out, I can breathe evenly. I can inhale more deeply and hold my breath for longer, which is cool, because I’m also a pothead. I have slightly bigger muscles in my arms. I can wait in long lines for longer. When the subway stalls, I would say that my unmitigated rage and anxiety can be staved off for two, if not three minutes longer than the average person. I don’t need to eat as much, and therefore spend less money on food. Something about yoga (maybe it’s the alignment of the chakras?) sets you up to really get your money’s worth out of alcohol and drugs. Though Allen Ginsburg claimed that yoga replaced drugs in his life, I find that a yoga class really amplifies the effects of anything you might consume after said yoga class. Though Ginsburg was onto something; yoga itself is its own drug. It makes you very complacent and dumb afterwards, kind of like sex, but without the sly grin. It makes the colors of the world seem more vivid and yet it makes you seem more interesting to yourself. It makes you think of “energy” as a concrete concept.

And when I see someone I don’t like on the street, I just think, “Namaste, motherfucker. Namaste.”

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