Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Last Saturday I went to a Pilates class at my gym, having reached my threshold of weigh-lifting and cardio exercise and looking for a change of pace. I was greeted at the door by Linda, the friendly instructor, and a warm and unthreatening room full of like-minded individuals. The hour that ensued was tough and my abs were screaming by the end of class but I felt renewed in body and spirit. You have to love the Y. It’s so democratic and down-to-earth in a touchy-feely sort of way. I was ready for more of the same.

Last night I decided to try the yoga class, as I was starting to crave more endorphins and had missed my 5:30 am work out yesterday morning. So off I went to the 6:30 pm yoga class, my matt stuffed into my gym bag, looking all hip and earthy in my yoga pants and spandex top.

I like to be early to any exercise class, believing it is rude to show up late when the class has already started. It’s disruptive and can throw off the pace of the class. So ten minutes early, I turned the door knob and walked in all smiley-faced, ready to befriend everyone in the room.

Suspicion and mistrust met me at the door and stopped me in my tracks. Conversation ceased mid-sentence. The fox had just wandered into the hen house. Sarah Palin had just burst into an anti-NRA meeting. I was the OUTSIDER obviously there to disrupt the natural flow of karma and happiness so carefully fashioned by Sunshine Wheatgrass, the yoga instructor. I headed for the furthest corner of the room and tried to make myself invisible.

Not satisfied with my anonymity, Sunshine began by telling me to remove my socks. Then to sit up straight and that I did not have my yoga blanket folded correctly. The whole blanket-folding issue became a centerpiece of her class. Her premise was that a neatly folded blanket, smooth seam to the front and fringe seam to the back, represents order, neatness and purity of mind and body. Fine, except she went on and on about it for the entire class. I’m all for neatness and purity of mind and body but this went far beyond that mantra. I secretly decided that Sunshine was OCD and this was all about control and no wire hangers and Lord knows what else. Was she locked in a closet as a child? Forced to eat creamed spinach on toast? Switched at birth? My mind began to wander. I understood now why the room went silent when I walked in earlier. Newbies endangered the order of Sunshine's tiny universe and had the potential for introducing unacceptable thoughts and behaviors. And badly folded yoga blankets. I made a mental note to blog about this the next day.

Suddenly I was forced back to reality by Sunshine’s unrelenting focus on me. In front of the entire class I was asked to run down my medical history, starting with any surgeries I might have had that would impact my performance. I told her about my back surgery and she asked “What age were you when you had your surgery?” When I answered I was in my early forties at the time, she said “Oh, okay. So not recently. You’ll be fine.” I was crushed. I could no longer pass for early 40-something. I was an aging hippy, bent over and arthritic. Someone who wears gym socks to yoga class, does not know how to fold her yoga blanket and prefers Frito pies to musli. No wonder I was Sarah Palin in yoga pants. Clearly I had not washed away my sins and did not possess a pure mind and body. Pure minds and bodies do not eat Frito pie washed down with frozen margaritas. I was a dismal failure.

Class finally began with Sunshine singing a delightful, if somewhat off-key, yoga warm-up song in Sanskrit. Her voice was a cross between Yoko Ono and Dolly Parton, and not in a good way. It was high and shrill and I had no idea what she was saying but it sounded official and very exotic. Once the sing song was dispensed with, Sunshine began pacing the room, speaking in tongues while checking everyone’s form, pushing and pulling rogue arms and legs that were not positioned to her strict standards. I dutifully performed the Downward Dog, Lotus and Half Moon poses, all the time looking at my watch and wishing I was at home with Paco.

At one point Sunshine told all of us to straighten our legs, knees and arms and reach over as far as possible. She said “And for all of you cheaters who are wearing baggy yoga pants, I can tell whether or not you’re performing the pose correctly or not.” I looked around and realized I was the only one wearing baggy yoga pants. Oh dear. Shamed and humiliated in yoga class by Sunshine Wheatgrass. What could be worse, except maybe showing up for Jack LaLane’s exercise class smoking a Camel and hung over. No, this was worse.

Class finally ended and suddenly Sunshine was happy and all smiles, thanking everyone for attending and inviting us all back next time for more fun and torture. I fled to my car and drove home, vowing to stick to weights and Pilates. When I got home Paco was cooking dinner and asked about my class and did I want a glass of wine? “Yes, please” I said. “That was not exactly what I was expecting. I think I prefer Pilates over yoga. Sunshine was so mean.” Paco laughed and gave me a kiss. “Sweetheart, I’m just glad you take such good care of yourself” he said. “Go relax and drink you wine and I will call you when dinner’s ready.”

I will take Paco’s good karma over Sunshine’s bad dogma any day.


  1. Oh my!! Sunshine Wheatgrass sounds like she needs to be working at some sort of Betty Ford Clinic, where the 'guests' are drying out & firming up; where they need that sort of hitleresque leadership in regards to folding blankets, belittlement & condescending comments.

    Instead, I vote we all take yoga at your house & Paco provides refreshments afterwards. Surely we can find a tape that could be our instructor?

    BTW, I was eating frito pie when you were at this class. That's spooky, huh?!

  2. Her name could just have easily been Broomhilda. In her world it's all about hospital corners and control.

    You were really eating Frito pie last night? I must have been channeling you. Or Frito-Lay.

  3. Really, I was. Sweet Hubby made homemade chili, and we don't eat chili by itself. It HAS to be eaten as a Frito Pie. With onions & cheese. YUMMY!!

  4. I have a real hankering for Frito Pie now. Unfortunately, I will have to drive 50 miles to the nearest DQ. Unless you have leftovers and want to share. Do you buy those little Frito bags and serve the chili that way?

  5. Sounds like Sunshine Snotgrass hangs out with Lorrie's skinny Jenny Craig wench.

  6. Kristin - I think you're right about the Jenny Craig wench. Perhaps she moonlights at the Y teaching yoga!

    Racie - no, I buy the big bag of fritos & make them in a bowl. Because it is more economical. And sorry, we had leftovers last night & now the chili is gone :(

  7. Yes, Miss T, Paco is SO a keeper! He just emailed me that he is (1) going to buy a get well card for his aunt after work today (2)buying Halloween candy for all the little children who will come by our house tomorrow night (3) cooking dinner tonight so when I get home from happy hour I can sit down to a home cooked meal. Oh, and (3) also buying wine for us to drink on the stoop tomorrow night whilst handing out candy to said children ( see #2 above).

  8. WTHeck is a frito pie?
    and for that matter.....
    WTHeck is yoga, again? Is that that pudding comes in strawberry bananna flavor? Cuz i prefer my yoga chocolate, and my fritos on the side of a p, b & J.

  9. Oh, Miss Veasey - you are missing out on one of the all-star comfort foods of cold weather: The Frito Pie

    You take Fritos, put them in a bowl & then drown them with chili, red onions & cheese. Wash it down with a really cold beer (because I think chili & beer go together better than chili & chardonnay) in front of your favorite football game (or a marathon of America's Next Top Model). Repeat as needed.

    All I can say is YUMMY!! My favorite food groups are there: Fritos, Alcohol, Meat, Cheese

  10. To be truly authentic, you serve the chili and Fritos in an individually-sized Frito bag, split length-wise, carefully spooning the chili into the bag, then top with chopped white onion and cheese. All to be eaten sitting in the car in front of the Dairy Queen with your grandmother and great aunt sitting in the front seat, kids in the back. Don't forget to wash it down with a nickel cherry Coke.

  11. I don't believe you. You are totally going back to that class. You LOOOOOVE Sunshine Wheatgrass. If I read your entry correctly :-D

    Some yoga teachers can be real dicks. Others are nice. It's all luck of the draw. I go to the classes where I like the teachers. Yoga can be aweome when the teacher is intelligent and does not resemble Stalin.

  12. Yes, Spatula, I do plan to go back to Sunshine's class, hopefully next Tuesday night. I think everyone deserves a second chance. No one can be that evil.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and I visited yours today, too! I also put your link on my home page. It's all good!