Tonight I told my Beginner Yoga session the real reason I do yoga: it makes me high.
Seriously. Why else would I do this crazy shit? Breathing like a stallion, making weird sounds in the back of my throat, closing off one nostril while breathing out the other, holding my breath until I almost pass out?
And that’s just the pranayama. Add in the postures, and the holding of those postures until every muscle in my body screams for release, and then holding for 5 more excruciating breaths, and you have the recipe for wackadoo-ism in the extreme –unless there is something more.
Who does this stuff unless there is something more, some serious payoff at the end? Who??
Not me, that’s for damn sure.
But there is a payoff at the end. Big time.
And the payoff is that this stuff allows me to transcend my ordinary experience.
I totally leave my ordinary, take out the trash, shave my armpits, walk the dog, do the dishes, check my email, pay my bills life, behind.
My practice takes me on a magic carpet ride, up, up, high in the air, high as a kite, to a vantage point where I can look down and see myself driving around in my little Mickey Mouse car, on my way to my little Mickey Mouse business thing that I am so very, very earnest about, and think is ever so important.
“Hah! Silly woman,” I think from my high post-yoga vantage point.
For quite a while after a really good yoga practice, I walk around in an altered state, wondering why everyone is taking this movie that we’re all in, for real.
(Like the little girl in the Arcadia theater bathroom who watched me bawling after a sad movie said, “Lady, it’s only a movie.”)
But we always get suckered into this movie, don’t we? We always think that our life is really real, just like we think our dream is really real until we wake up and go, “Wow, that was one strange dream!”
Some day we’re all going to “wake up” from this dream we are currently taking to be our “life.” This show we are taking so seriously is totally going to close.
What a yoga practice does is allow us to see that even though it is a show and we are stuck in it, we can act in it, write it, produce it and direct it. We are totally in charge of our own movie. We have total control in how we behave, what choices we make, who we choose to co-star with, and what plot lines we want to play out.
A yoga practice affords us that perspective and from that “high” vantage point, we can see, and be reminded of what’s really going on.
That’s why I practice. That’s the only reason I practice.