Yoga class closes with corpse pose. As class opens, I can’t wait to get to corpse. How many downward dogs, chaturangas, and warriors is it going to take to get there?
Savasana is sanskrit for corpse pose. In polite company, I say, give me my savasana. On a date with a guy, it depends on how it’s going. Give me my corpse conversations saves me from the awkwardness of having to ignore future texts. It’s true what elementary teachers say. A stitch in time does save nine.
The Corpse Pose Conundrum
Today, as class begins, I’m not craving corpse like normal. Last Saturday, during the pose, when we were breathing deep and letting thoughts go, I kept thinking about Steve. I pictured him sitting at McDonald’s drinking a large Diet Coke and eating a Big Mac with a large side of fries. A pickle slice was sliding off the edge, riding a mixed wave of secret sauce.
Our instructor said, “Let the beginning of a smile turn your lips. There’s no need to fake a smile, just allow that lightness and see what happens.”
As I tried to relax my face into smiling I saw Steve grab a napkin to wipe the goo from the edge of his smile. It was so adorable when he did it in real life despite how grossed out I was about being in a McDonald’s.
“You want some?” he asked me. His eyes were all happy and his chest was pitching forward like he was in this great, open-hearted, upward dog as he sat in the booth. “I’ve always wanted a girl who’d split a Big Mac with me.”
Anxiety replaced relaxation and I began gulping for oxygen instead of drinking it in, feeling its coolness. When Steve and I met at my work last Thursday night, I thought he was everything I wanted in a man. He’s always wanted a girl who’d split a Big Mac with him. I can’t. I’m not the girl for him.
In fairness to myself, my date with Steve was the first I’d been on since the end of Brad and me. Brad dumped me on a Friday night in winter. Saturday morning after, I was in yoga class. I felt shaky and broken, yet I knew it was where I most needed to be.
“Breath,” our instructor said. “Focus on the breath. When a thought comes to interrupt your breath, say that’s a thought using non-judgement. Then, send it down the river with all the other thoughts.”
I love having 90-minutes in my day where it’s my job to not think. All I’m supposed to do is breathe. It’s the best. I remember being so happy in that moment on that Saturday.
The Problem with Heart Openers
“Today’s practice is going to be focused on heart openers,” our instructor said. “We are going to warm up this room with so much love by opening our hearts. Take a deep breath, set your intention, let’s get started.”
My eyes were supposed to be closed. They were open. I saw my instructor’s face hold a serene smile.
During practice that day, my brain was a pill.
Thought! Heart openers? Today? Do you even understand what my heart is feeling? It is bruised like the apple I should have had for breakfast today. The protein pancake was delicious and it had protein, so it was nutritious. I did use Smart Balance Light with Flaxseed Oil. It’s a buttery spread with Omega-3s and I know I’m supposed to have Omega-3s. Fish have them in abundance. I’m not eating fish, so I have butter that’s not butter give them to me.
“That’s just a thought,” I told my brain. “Send it down the river with all the other thoughts.” I drew in a deep breath and sunk lower into my Warrior 2 pose.
Thought! I did put some dark chocolate chips into the pancake mix. Really, I’ve been told that you’re supposed to have one piece of dark chocolate a day. It’s just like the apple a day rule. So, I did it. I mixed in the Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Chips. It’s good for me and being in yoga class is great for me. It’s just a thought.
“Send it down the river with all the -”
The the thing I really hate about heart-openers is that it’s really hard to breathe in them. Have you ever had a really good chocolate malt, strawberry malt, or even a vanilla malt? It really doesn’t matter which flavor. The malted goodness is amazing. That’s what matters. If made right, it takes half-an-hour to get that first sip in through the straw. Then, you get to drink in that deliciousness. Doing heart openers is like trying to take a sip through that straw, except when I get done with wheel-pose, the heart opener I most dread, I get air. I get to breathe. Is there malted goodness in that? No, there’s not!
“It’s just a thought,” I soothed to my brain. “It’s time to stop whining and be a better person, and I say that without judgment toward the thought or the whininess, because it’s time to focus on the breath. That’s all. Just breathe.”
Thought! So yesterday, I was on my way to Brad’s house. Maybe I was driving a little fast. It’s just that I was kind of excited about seeing him. I was going downhill and there was this icy patch. Since I’m a really good driver with plenty of experience driving on snow and ice, I recognize when I’m not going to be able to stop before hitting the vehicle ahead of me. In that situation, the best thing to do is to go straight for the nearest snow bank. I did. I nailed it. Perfect! The one problem was that I kind of got stuck. However, it did give me this opportunity to see how great people are.
First, a woman who had helped her neighbor out of a similar situation the day before came to my car. She started pushing on the hood with me. Then, three college guys who were walking by stopped. Their apartment was super close, so they offered to get shovels from it and return. They were back before a couple in a minivan stopped by my car. The husband drives truck for a living, so they had chains in their minivan. He got out and started putting them beneath my wheels. A guy with a GMC Yukon pulled up behind my car. He had a tow hook that he offered to attach to my car, so he could pull my car from the snow bank. As he was hooking everything up, a little old lady stopped by. She had puppy litter. Brad didn’t believe me when I told him either. He said, “You mean cat litter.” It was puppy litter.
You can Google it. It exists.
Another Thought! Brad’s face was so smug when he started the puppy litter argument. He knew he was going to dump me before he started the puppy litter argument. I just know he did.
“Send it down the river with the other thoughts okay.” I was losing patience with my brain.
Thought! It’s so good to have a best friend. I called Mariah, my best friend. She brought Chinese takeout to my apartment. We ate it. It was so good. Fortune cookies are my favorite and really their calorie count isn’t that bad. I opened my fortune cookie first. Mariah smiled and asked me what my fortune was. The fortune said, “You have already shipwrecked.” Like on an island of aloneness. I shipwrecked my relationship and I’ll be stuck on an island forever. My breathing got weird and wheezy.
Mariah insisted that she was sure that fortune was meant for her. So, she gave me the other one. It said, “You really, really should wear a helmet.” It’s probably a good advisable thought. Brad would have agreed.
“It’s a thought. Just send it down with -”
Thought! There are some things I’d like to be able to rely on in life. When I was on my way to yoga class, I went to my favorite coffee shop. I ordered a simple coffee. Simple. It was just a Campfire Mocha, Hot, White Chocolate, Skim Milk, Extra Shot of Espresso, Less Whip. I’d order no whip, but whenever I do they don’t give me the mini marshmallows. The marshmallows make the drink. I could tell them to add the marshmallows after saying the no whip part, but that really just adds to the number of words I have to say to order my drink. And that, would make it complicated. So anyway, I ordered it. Do you know what the barista gave me? Extra whipped cream! It’s like she doesn’t even get the war I’m waging with my thighs!
“It’s just a thought.” I bowed forward at the end of class. “Namaste.”
As class begins, the second Saturday after ending up at McDonald’s with Steve, I give my brain a pep talk. “Take a break. Enjoy some easy, breezy hammock time. You get 90-minutes off.”
Thought. Just a little thought. Steve was one date. Sure, he seemed so cool and amazing. Yes, he said clever things as we walked around the lake. Steve wants a girl who will split a Big Mac with him. I do not like fast food. Being true to oneself matters. Take a deep breath in. Hold it in. Let the breath go. Focus on the breath. When a thought comes, say that’s a thought with non-judgment…
Mmmm. Corpse pose is going to be so good today.