Hot Yoga is No Match For My Inner Ire

The hot yoga studio that opened last spring down the street has finally amended their ridiculously inconvenient class schedule. Initially, the earliest weekday class was 7:30am-9am and the evening class was 5:30pm-7pm. Since the studio is within a densely-residential but suburban neighborhood, their schedule precluded any 9-5 slave from ever attending a weekday class. I mean, here’s a hot yoga studio that was effectively alienating yuppies. Not a good business plan!

Some wanna-be students (including me) suggested an early-morning class, so last week they added a 6:15am-7:30am class. And since I championed it, I’ve felt compelled to actually get out of bed and go. I used to be a slightly insane morning exerciser, but life with Mr. Pinault has relaxed/subdued/sedated me to the point where I can’t get out of bed before I’ve gotten 8 1/2 hours of sleep or, at the very least, tranquil prostration.

Luckily, the hot yoga studio is a five-minute walk from my bed, meaning I can wake up at 6am (eek!) and be on my mat in time for the opening om. Helping me immensely is the laid-back teacher, a trained massage therapist who gives spontaneous massages. I can be in downward dog, and she’ll sneak behind me and exert a marvelous amount of moving pressure on my lower back. Ahhhh. Plus, she always explains the anatomical benefits of poses, which means that during the silence during prolonged poses, she does not make vague mystical pronouncements like “this stimulates the green chakra, which will make you more trusting and open to new things” and “the longer we hold this poses, the longer the ego –the little self– starts to grow quiet and still.” Instead, she’ll say “this pose is opening the lower back and strengthening the thighs” — simple, neat, and nondogmatic.

But for me, yoga is not about strengthening or opening or any of the dozens of health benefits that are ascribed to it. It is all about the breath. For the first time in my life, I am engaging in deep, purposeful breathing. (Well, for a purpose outside of inhaling toxic fumes into my lungs.)

All of this breathing melts away my characteristic stress like a iceberg that’s suddenly been transported to a massive hot tub. Those who know me in meatspace are well-acquainted with my edgy, anxious personaility. I can get worked up over the most minute things, and they will consume me to point of utter mental and physical distraction. Like last weekend, when our neighbor parked in front of our house with his big-ass truck, blocking both of the potential parking spaces. “Who does he think he is?” I seethed. “I’m going to write a note and put it under his windshield. And for now on, I’m going to park in front of his house and see how he likes it. No, forget all that, I’m just going to key his car!”

“Relax!” Mr. Pinault will sooth.

“I’ll relax when I’m dead!”

It takes a lot to relax me. A lot of wine, that is.

But yoga works too. So I’ll come home after the morning yoga class at 7:30am, totally blissed out for the day, having pumped my lungs and body full of oxygen and gotten a spontaneous massage to boot. I shower, dress, and prepare my breakfast/lunch box with utter contentment about spending the rest of the day hunched over a computer in a tiny cubicle 20 miles away. It could be worse. I could be, like, a coal miner.

I skip to the Jetta, turn on some upbeat rock music, and head to the town center towards the highway. The congestion is, typically, horrendous. I sit 20 cars back at a left-hand turn signal that has the lifespan of a gnat. Three, maybe four cars can go at one time, then it goes red for three minutes. I think to myself, “How great that I can be stuck at this light, for now I can replenish my body of liquids!” as I sip furtively from my water bottle.

I watch the cars turing left, felling a bit irked when I notice that a car didn’t start to turn until the light was yellow. Who can sit at the light for 10 minutes and not be rearing to go when it’s finally their turn? There is a gigantic trash truck ahead of me, and the wafting smell of garbage is getting irritating. When the truck is at the front of the line, it takes so long to start moving that the light turns red by the time it’s halfway through the turn. Freaking trucks that size shouldn’t be allowed on the road during rush hour. What hazards!

I am staring at the Toyota Camry in front of me. By then it’s been 12 minutes since I joined the stifled procession of left-turning cars, and I can’t stop thinking what a horrible person the girl in the Camry is. She’s young, plump, with brassy blond hair and black eyeliner, and she peers constantly at herself in her visor mirror as she alternately gazes at her phone. When the Audi in front of her moves up, it always takes her a full 20 seconds to respond, so consumed she is with herself and with her mobile device. Soon the Camry is the first car in line, and I watch her peering at her phone, her white thumb flickering as it pounds out a message. The left arrow turns green, and I sit for one. Two. Three seconds waiting for her to move. The absolute nerve of the woman, knowing that there’s about 50 cars behind us waiting to turn left, and she can’t be bothered to maximize the left-hand green arrow because something in her vapid, shallow life is compelling her to react with a no-doubt moronic text message. I lean on my horn — not a tap, but a prolonged lean, a fuck you blast of horn that prompts her to finally look up and move her car forward. I continue the horn for a few seconds longer than necessary, which is my way of saying Bitch, you owe me a yoga class!

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