In addition to writing, I’m a yoga teacher. I discovered yoga at 16 and have been practicing one lineage or another ever since. That’s 30+ years of yoga. Hatha, vinyasa flow, ashtanga, power core, Bikram, and viniyoga/therapeutic yoga are all brands I’ve tried. After injury and age, my yoga philosophy has evolved in equal proportion to my fitness philosophy.

julia tennis001In those teen years, I taught aerobics, danced, ran like a maniac, played tennis, and both water and snow skied full throttle. A knee injury my junior year changed my limitations. Didn’t realize it at the time, but I blew out both my right ACL and MCL water skiing. That was the time my friend Bonnie, a lifeguard, almost jumped in to pull me out of the water.

Stupid thing was my folks told me I couldn’t ski the rest of the weekend if I were going to complain about how much my knee hurt. The balloon sized joint didn’t flag any concern. I iced that mother and skied the rest of the weekend.

I couldn’t walk well for weeks after, but hey, it was the early 80’s and only elite athletes had ever heard of orthoscopic surgery. I worked my way through a variety of neoprene braces and managed. Finding yoga was a boon. Stepping onto my milk crate for a second, yoga and pilates for life! Do it!

Here’s the thing, I don’t care who the yoga guru is, there is NO perfect pose. The thing I love about viniygoga is the principle of accessibility. We all have different physiology and we all have physical baggage. We have to listen to the body. I only help with posture in yoga classes to help a client’s comfort level in the pose. Besides, don’t f*&^in’ touch me, beotch.

I’ve had a yoga instructor leap onto my back in seated, wide angled forward fold. He’s lucky it took me time to get back up because this Aztec Apache thought about taking out his throat. If I adjust, it’s gentle and mindful of joints and range of motion. I have a six inch, steel rod in my ankle. It’s only going so far.

Today I tried a new yoga class. This is always a tricky situation. Like being a writer and reading a new book, you’re no longer in an experiential mode. You’re critiquing. I’ve mentioned the don’t touch me rule. She tried to tug me. TUG me. I politely told her I appreciated her guidance, but please don’t touch me. She did it again. This time she pressed me. Oh no, you didn’t. If I decide to go again, I’ll have to firmly outline the rules before class. Bitch, don’t touch me or you will die.julia H2o002

I’m not a chatty yoga instructor and when I do guide I’m not discussing chakras, power centers, mindful intentions, or any other new age, metaphysic gobbledygook.

I’m talking physiology, muscle structures, breathing and concrete principles. Outside of those ideas, I’m letting you work your practice in silence. Today it was all ‘third chakra this’ and ‘orange aura that’. I don’t think she took a breath the entire class.

Omg, the aromatic oils. I love aromatic oils. Oils I choose and not because they’ll heal me, but because they smell great. Don’t ask me to rub your aromatic oils on my belly before practice to activate the detoxification of my internal organs while we twist. And hell no, don’t talk about how the orange oil in the blend will brighten the orange energy in the third chakra. What?

I didn’t walk out. It took a huge amount of self-control to tune out her bullshit and work the practice in a healthy and physically mindful way. I’m aiming to add two extra hours of yoga into my week to keep my ankle progress moving.

Practicing yoga at home alone is more challenging than writing. The cats and dogs think it’s acrobatic yoga time. I may have to let a couple of weeks pass before my rage subsides. I’ll politely remind her I don’t need her ‘perfect pose’ adjustments. I may have to wear ear plugs to mute her hippy dippy chatter. I don’t know.

On the way home from the gym, The Beard sent me a text. Why are you posting today? Because it’s Friday. Wait, it is Friday, right? He sent me another. Is the first sentence ok? Something seems odd…. Oh no, you didn’t. I checked it out and yes, I needed a space between may and be. Everyone’s a critic.

I’m about to send a manuscript off to the editor. I understand the story is a moment passing through me. I get that not everyone will like or love the book. Those one-star reviews full of bitter vitriol and personal insults are hippy dippy chatter. Bitch, don’t touch me. I have something to say and according to a lot of people I know, a very specific voice to deliver it.

Good critique, useful editing and constructive advice are all welcome here. I can take it. If you’re looking to cut someone down to your miserable level, don’t mess with this Aztec Apache woman.

 

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