The Lotus in a Field of Mud

I took a yoga/pilates class at the gym last week.  Why? Hard to say…I think I’m a glutton for punishment.  Actually, the yoga/pilates class wasn’t nearly as difficult as the yoga class I took on Saturday, which kicked my butt. 

Seriously, my butt was sore for days…

At the end of the class, after we’d taken our short nap and aligned our breathing with our heart center (huh?) we sat up, hands clasped at our hearts and the instructor, in a vibrating alto of a voice, said, “May we all shine like the lotus in a field of mud.  Namaste.”  At which point she bowed low.  While everyone else bowed back, I stifled a giggle because really?  What does that even mean?

And I had an immediate flashback to my honeymoon when my brand new husband and I decided to try our very first yoga class together.  We were at an amazing spa and resort off the coast of Seattle.  It was very earthy and granola.  Yoga just seemed like the thing to do there.

So we arrived promptly at 9:00am on the second day of our honeymoon and we met our instructor, whose name I don’t remember but in my imagination I call her Celeste, because it seems to fit the picture I have.

She was probably in her early fifties and had long, matted hair – very hippie.  She didn’t wear a lick of makeup and looked as if she had sworn off bra’s around 1965.

To put it mildly, she was…an odd bird.

We got inside the small yoga room where she lit incense and turned on warbling music that immediately made me feel like Dorothy in the field of poppys.  It suddenly dawned on Lee and I that we were the only two people in the room with Celeste.  We looked at each other and giggled.

Then we began the workout.  “Take in deep breaths,” Celeste stage-whispered over the drowsy music, “And align your spirit with the stars of the universe.”

At this point I opened one eye and looked over at Lee who had his hands at his side and a look of horror on his face.  “What is this?” he mouthed to me.  I shrugged and stifled another giggle, then went about trying to align my spirit with the stars.  I’m pretty sure I never accomplished that task.

Fifteen minutes into our private yoga class, Celeste finally pushed Lee too far.  Mind you, this was our first experiece with Up-Dogs and Down-Dogs.  We’d never heard the words “Shatacharasana” or “Chutitutunga.” 

I’m pretty sure those aren’t actually yoga terms, but it’s what I hear when the instructors speak.  It’s all very confusing…

Aaaanyhoo, Celeste was leading us in our first Cobra.  A pose which requires you to keep your lower abs on the floor and push your shoulders up and back.  As we scooped forward, Celeste, who up until this moment had been whispering all her instructions with great reverenece, burst out in a deep voice, “BEEEE THE COBRAAAAA.”  And she thrust herself upward.

After I swallowed my heart, which had leapt into my throat, I laughed out loud.  I couldn’t stifle it.  But Celeste was so well aligned with the stars that she didn’t even hear me.

I looked at Lee who was standing up and rolling up his mat.  “I’m leaving,” he whispered. “This is weird.”

“You can’t,” I mouthed.  “We’re the only ones in here.”

He shrugged, then walked out.  My husband of 48 hours abandoned me in a room with Celeste the yoga nazi. 

I didn’t want to leave because I was afraid that we would bump into her somewhere on the grounds of the resort and she would know that we were the people that bailed on her class and place some kind of star-powered yoga hex on us.  So I stuck it out.  I did the tree with Celeste. I balanced on my elbows with Celeste.  I did a shoulder stand with Celeste.  I became one with the cobra with Celeste.  And all the while I cursed my darling husband for leaving me to suffer alone.

That was only the start of the many, many bizarre situations that Lee and I have managed to get ourselves into in our nearly nine years of marriage.  We have definately seized the day in our married lives.  I’m so glad I married someone who isn’t afraid to try new things.  And I’m pleased to say that he hasn’t abandoned me in an awkward situation ever again. Thankyouverymuch.

(Soon, I’ll tell you about the time we visited a Ukrainian Orthodox church here in St. Louis and Lee kissed a cross.  Classic…)

And now, every once in awhile when we’re sitting quietly, one of us will burst out with “BEEEE THE COBRAAAA!”

Now if I could only figure out how on earth to be a lotus…


  1. Oh tooo funny! Yoga is kinda wierd, I was actually flipping channels last night and a show on the documentary channel said yoga is a portal for demons to enter……you take that or leave that bit of info:) But you know….BEEE the Cobraaa….snake….garden of eden…i’m just sayin.

  2. candy martin says

    Had me laughing out loud, and I have heard the story before. Yes, yoga is strange. You get me in to all kinds of things. I still laugh at the one we took where the lady put blankets over us at the end. I felt like I was back in preschool for nap time. And the one you got me in to Saturday was HARD! I am still trying to figure out what kind of breath she was telling us to find. You know what I thought she said! It didn’t help that the instructor was 6 months pregnant and could balance on her shoulders and stand like an Oak tree while I wobbled all over ! Yoga is cleansing because when leave I have a good belly laugh!

  3. Ha ha! What a riot. Great description of the story…I was right there with ya. I’m positive Jim would have done the same thing. I, myself, have never tried yoga and pretty much because I thought it would be like your experience. And if what Carol said is true about demons, I’m out!!

  4. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! I’m rolling!

  5. I’m thinking I’d have been walking out that door at about the same time Lee did. I laugh way, way too easily and I’d have been laughing until the tears flowed if I didn’t beat a hasty exit when Hippie Yoga Lady started in with having people reenact the freaking rain forest.

  6. That is great, I can totally picture you both in this situation and leave telling you he is leaving. What a way to start off your marriage, classic!

  7. Oops, meant to say and Lee telling you he was leaving, you got the point though I am sure.

  8. LOL, too funny! I give credit to Lee though…I don’t think Jason would’ve even stepped in there! Man if yoga is kicking your butt, and you are actually in shape, I’d probably die! 😉

  9. Hilarious! Well written and extremely amusing. Great anecdote. (How I found this page: I’m buying my first mini van, I’m 32. My wife actually is against the idea, and I’m for it. What can I say, I’ve always thought Mini Vans are hot! Hence the Google search. Now I’ve got a new page to book mark.)


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