The trouble with yoga / by vanessa

I have a nemesis. She works the front desk at the yoga studio I frequent, if by frequent you mean once every two months. We didn't start off on the best foot.

Me: Hi, I'm new and I'd like to sign up for a class.

Nemesis: Okay, have you been here before?

Me: No, I'm new.

Nemesis: Okay, do you have a series?

Me: No, this is my first time here.

Nemesis: Do you have a Class Pass*?

Me:*cocks head to side* *stares* *sighs*

The second time we met, I waited my turn in line to ask about package options. In the middle of her explanation, a teacher stepped behind the desk and started talking to her. She placed me on virtual hold as they chatted casually about class. That's not normal, right? I guess I just have this thing about customer service.

But those are really her only sins.

Yesterday I went to the studio only to find out that I must have looked at the schedule wrong. My nemesis explained that I could wait for the 12:30 Pilates-type class and there's a great coffee shop across the street if I wanted to wait around. "I know there is," I snapped. "This is my 'hood."

You know those moments when all of the sudden it feels like you're looking through a camera lens at yourself and you realize you look like a complete crazy? That. Then.

It's not her fault.

I have this love/really hate thing with yoga that is totally unreconciled. It's vexing in its elusiveness and known to me vaguely through its symptoms. I'm drawn to practice but loathe the trappings of all things associated with going to class: the way that music becomes a distraction because not everyone loves Imagine Dragons and also, we're in hip openers. The way that I don't need you to be my life coach I just want you to call the pose, please. The Wow, you curse?! You still want to be my life coach. The Spiritual Gangster hoodies and tees--new summer colors!--in the shop. The pervasive optimism is maybe most cloying.

Cliché (n.): Walking in Silverlake, green juice in hand, to yoga.

And yet, home practice just isn't the same.

That I have been and done and represented and probably still am all of these things isn't lost on me. The moral and intellectual superiority I allow myself is, admittedly, void of merit. I know this. I've done all of those tricks where you look at the thing in you that is like the thing you dislike and identify the similarities and then you recognize your oneness and you find a sense of peace. Still, I want to punch this first world problem in the face.

I thought about my nemesis this morning and our last exchange. Her freckled countenance and effervescent voice remained eager. If she silently judged me she didn't let on.  I remember those days, too.


*I realized several days after the fact that Class Pass is an app used for signing up and paying for classes. At the time the question was as confounding as its predecessors.