Anyone who watches Andrew Zimmern on the Travel Network knows that no matter how wretched, unappealing or sinister that plate of, say ludifisk, might be he always takes two bites. If that first bite is bad you should still force down a second bite just to be sure. Sometimes first impressions can be deceiving. So it was that I have continued going to yoga class at the Y to see if my first experience with Sunshine Wheatgrass was just a one-off. Maybe she, or I, was having a bad night, Mercury was in retrograde or there was a little too much carbon monoxide in the a/c system . Come what may, I was going to give it another chance and then report my findings here...
Unfortunately, since my last run-in with Sunshine, the Yoga teacher with bad Karma, I have not had the pleasure of taking her class again. The other teacher at the Y, Marigold Lamb, had been teaching the Tuesday night class and she was just lovely. Patient, happy in her own skin and thankfully lacking any serious OCD symptoms or psychotic behaviors . So imagine my surprise last night when I walked into class to discover Sunshine, Marigold's evil twin, was there to teach the class instead. Daunted but unyielding this time, I took a deep breath and found a place to unroll my mat. I knew after my first run-in with Sunshine not to wear gym socks or baggy pants to class and that yoga blankets had to be folded in a certain way, seams forward and fringe to the back. Last night I was not wearing socks but was sporting baggy yoga pants. And I had already decided no one was telling me how to fold my damn yoga blanket. I knew all about Sunshine's near-pathological focus on blanket folding and the sin of baggy pants and I was determined to stand my ground on both points. Someone had to draw a line in the sand.
Minding my own business and trying very hard not to make eye contact with Sunshine, I picked up two blankets from the cart, sat down on my mat and started stretching out until class began. At this point someone else in the class apparently started folding their blankets incorrectly, setting off a small tidal wave of dismay with Sunshine. I thought this was my opportunity to quietly fold my blankets while she was distracted with the other student, but I was sorely mistaken. Instead of focusing on my classmate, Sunshine zeroed in on my efforts, this time coming over to sit next to me on my mat and show me the correct Sunshine Wheatgrass-approved method of blanket folding. I was having none of it, however:
SW: Here, let me show you how to fold your blankets (reaching over to grab them from me)
RL: No, I like them just as they are, thanks.
SW: But that isn’t the correct way to fold them.
RL: I don’t care. They’re the way I want to fold them.
SW: (looking aggitated and suddenly in need of medication) Well, can you at least please smooth them out neatly?
RL: No. I like them wrinkled.
Sunshine genuinely looked ill and panicky as soon as I said I was leaving the blanket in its current unkempt state. She jumped up off my mat, hitting me in the face with her long, braided salt and pepper pony tail. The sound of her jingly anklet bells followed her back to her own mat at the front of the class. She was not happy with me and I could see a determined look on her face. If she could not force me to comply with the order of her own Bizarre Universe, she would bully me into it. Sunshine fixed her gaze upon me...
SW: So, I don't believe I know your name.
RL: My name is Racie.
SW: Oh, is that a family name?
RL: Yes, I am named after my paternal grandmother. She was a famous exotic dancer.
SW: Oh, I see. Well, how long have you been studying yoga, Racie?
RL: A few years, off and on. And I wouldn't say I study it exactly. More like I just audit it now and then.
SW: And is there a particular school of yoga you follow?
RL: No, not really. I think they all have their own attributes. I couldn't even name them for you. It's sort of like art. I don't know the artist's names or style, but I know what I like.
Frustrated because she could not draw me into a conversation about specifics and thereby embarrass me by my lack of knowledge, Sunshine turned her attention back to the class and we got started. We began in the seated lotus position and after clasping our hands in prayer and doing three OLMS in rapid succession, Sunshine greeted everyone with the following question:
SW: Hello, everyone and welcome to Tuesday evening yoga class. My name is Sunshine and I am substituting for Marigold tonight. I would like to begin by first asking if there is anyone in the class who is having their menstrual cycle (there were no takers and I did not return her glare).
We began our routine with the Downward Dog, a position I felt fairly comfortable with. As I dutifully stretched my legs as far back as I could get them and bowed my head, Sunshine came up to my left side and grabbed my waist with both hands. Yanking me violently upwards, she said "Racie, you are way too low. You must be much higher (yank). There, that's better." I said nothing, mostly because I was struggling to breath and thought she might have punctured a lung.
Recovering somewhat from her first assault, I was making sure my legs were as straight as I could get them while still attempting to touch the floor with my folded elbows. Once again, Sunshine walked over to my mat. "All of you who continue to show up in class wearing baggy yoga pants, I can still tell if you have your knees together or not."
I knew I was getting to her.
About half through class the door suddenly opened and Marigold, the kind and gentle other yoga teacher, walked in. How odd, I thought, as she dropped her mat and started to squinch in between me and the person behind me. Was I being double-teamed? Did Sunshine have a secret floor buzzer under her mat and had called for back up after my early passive-agressive behavior? Hard to say.
The rest of the class proceeded more or less without incident, other than when I turned around to get my blankets for the last sequence of moves and they were- missing! Someone had moved them across to the opposite side of the room. I could only think it was Marigold, doing Sunshine's dirty work for her. Maybe she wasn't as innocent as I first thought. I made a mental note to keep my eye on her from now on as I went to retrieve my (now) neatly folded blankets.
Class ended and I actually thanked Sunshine for the class and said I enjoyed it and would be back. I have decided that having stood my ground she will back off next time and leave me in karmic peace. That doesn't mean, however, that I might not still find a dead fish wrapped in newspaper on my front porch some day soon. Written in Sanskrit, of course.