At the yoga studio where I work for three hours every Friday in exchange for two free classes a week, there was a student, an older man, who came up to Ben, the owner of the studio, at the beginning of Sandra Fraser’s six pm level one class. Ben had just finished his own independent ashtanga yoga practice just a few minutes before. The man told Ben that he had tried a handstand but it had not gone well—his arms collapsed and he hit his head on the floor!
I nodded with sympathy and joked, “Handstands are not for the faint of heart.” Ben did not think much of my comment, and instead talked to me about how to get into a handstand, etc. The man had not stayed to listen, as he had to get his mat ready for the class. I didn’t need the explanation, I know how one might get into a handstand if one is crazy or feeling adventurous. In yoga it appears that when someone says, “I can’t do that,” you’re not supposed to say, “yeah, it’s hard!” you’re supposed to say, “Yes, you can do that, just try it this way.” I was whining for whining’s sake, and to commiserate, not because I needed help with it.
But yoga is hard and getting to yoga is even harder, (I have an eighteen class surplus) and I feel like my subliminal mission at the yoga studio beyond checking people into classes and renewing passes and filing, is to speak to our inner weenie. I am the cheerleader in touch with the negativity of all creatures great and small—because that’s what I need dammit.