6pm Yoga Class

I got a sweet deal on a month-long membership for a yoga studio in Somerville. The only problem is… it’s in Somerville. Getting there after work is an odyssey of gridlock traffic and serendipitous street parking. It’s a great way to ratchet up the cortisol right before 75 minutes of deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation take my bodily stress down to vacation levels, if only temporarily.

It was 5:45, and I was in my car, aiming to make the 6pm class. I was 1/2 mile+ from the studio. In front of me was a metered space, beautifully void. Do I press my luck and try to park closer to the studio, or do I accept this gift from the parking Deities? Did I mention it was pouring rain and I didn’t have an umbrella?

I took the parking spot, grabbed my yoga mat, and ran through the downpour to the studio. I arrived with sopping hair and heaving breath, and splayed my soggy mat in the only obvious space left in the room. Next to me was a brunette in her mid-20s who I recognized from a previous class due to her arm-band tattoo. The class started and I gradually felt my body begin to unwind, to release the cares of my day, of my life, and become focused on doing crazy things, like putting my shoulders underneath my knees (almost there!)

After class, I was in the lobby area putting on my shoes and socks when I heard the brunette talking quietly with another woman. ”I’m just waiting for someone to start drinking water during class to see what happens,” the brunette said.

“Probably get kicked out,” the other woman said with a smirk before walking away.

After a minute, I asked the brunette: “Did I hear you say that you can get kicked out for drinking water during class?”

Smiling, she made a face. “The studio sent out an email last month asking people to refrain from drinking water during class because it was disruptive,” she said.

My brain struggled to process a statement with so many layers of absurdity. Who drinks water to the point of disruption? Who gets upset about it? Who dares to rebel against modern society’s cult of hydration… in this economy?

“Interesting,” I said. “I can see how that could be controversial.”

“I used to go to a studio where people texted during svanasana,” she said. “Drinking water… I mean, pish.”

The walk back to my car was magnificent. The rain had stopped and the air was cool and fresh; dark clouds dominated the sky, but a ray of sun broke through, casting cheery light on the building tops. I wish I had a camera to capture not only what I saw, but also my own inner serenity. My hair was still wet from the rain, but I wasn’t thirsty.

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