She’s so tired she can barely stand up, let alone contort her body into Downward Facing Dog.
Downward Facing Dog. Who came up with these names anyway?
The mat may only be a quarter inch thick but in this moment, it looks as inviting as a feather bed two feet deep. If only she could stretch out and close her eyes for just five minutes, ten tops, she’d be good to go.
Ample butt high in the air, knees as close to straight as she can get them, she stares at the mat below her face and prays that Corpse Pose will be next.
Corpse Pose. Yeah, sure, let’s all get fit and flexible by pretending to be dead.
The elastic-muscled instructor’s voice drones on. And on.
“Inhale… and return to Warrior Pose…”
Warrior Pose. As if yoga was some kind of New Age martial art.
She does as she’s told, almost falls over, and knows she has to get the hell out of there. She looks longingly at the door but she can’t do it, she can’t will herself to start walking. It would be rude. She’d call attention to herself and that simply would not do. She manages some semblance of the required pose and soldiers on.
Countless inhalations and exhalations later, each prompted by the instructor as if they were all in danger of forgetting how to breathe, she hears it. The word she’s been waiting for, the one that will set her free, finally and forever.
She heaves a huge sigh and has her mat half rolled by the time the rest of the class has answered in a cultish chorus. “Namaste.”
Fucking androids, she thinks, jamming sockless feet into her shoes. She turns to leave and stops short at the sight of her reflection in the mirror stretched across the entire length of one wall. Standing alone, she’s a lumpy black blur amid a sea of rainbow spandex crouched and kneeling all around her. They look like jellyfish.
There ought to be a law against Lycra.
She tucks her mat beneath her arm, fishes her glasses out of her bag, and weaves her way through the overcrowded class. She attempts a half-hearted smile at the dominatrix-cum-yoga-instructor whose name she doesn’t know or care to know, and bursts through the door into the cold night air.
Parking herself on the first bench she sees, she lights a cigarette and feels instantly better.
Maybe she’s just not cut out for yoga. Maybe she’s better suited to swimming. Or golf. Or chair dancing. Maybe she should just forget the whole thing and go back to stocking the fridge with beer and the cupboard with chips and chocolate. Maybe, just maybe, she should stop at the pub around the corner on her way home.
“See you next week?” A voice from the sidewalk.
She takes a long drag on her smoke and exhales slowly, with extreme pleasure, hating the hopefulness in the instructor’s expectant smile.
“You know,” the instructor says, cocking her head slightly, “I only started this four years ago and I have to tell you, you’re doing far better than I ever did six classes in.”
She remembers the broken pretzel of her first Lotus and nods her thanks, grateful for the lie in spite of herself. As she watches the instructor’s perky ass walk away, she flicks her last cigarette ever — for the sixth time that day — into a puddle.
“Sure,” she whispers to herself. “See you next week.”