Yoga Fifth Year Anniversary Part II – Euphemisms Part I

I’ve maintained for some time that I don’t understand why the CIA employed waterboarding to get terrorists to give up valuable information when they had yoga at their disposal and lately I’ve wondered how yoga has maintained such a pleasant “om” kind of PR reputation. I think their widespread use of euphemisms is certainly one huge reason, if not the only one.

I thought I’d share just a few of my favorites.

“hip openers” The usual drill, with anatomy lesson supplied, goes something like this. “One of the most common requests heard in a yoga class is “hip openers today please.” This request is usually followed by the other half of the class groaning. We love to hate hip openers yet our bodies crave them and often feel lighter and more open after—for good reason. The majority of us sit for most of our days, shortening the hip flexors at the front of the hip (psoas, rectus femoris, sartorius) and tightening the hip rotators (piriformis, obturator internus, gamellus, to name a few).” From “http://www.myyogaonline.com/about-yoga/yoga-anatomy/what-really-happens-in-hip-openers” No, Here’s what REALLY happens in pigeon pose and other hip openers, but for you non yogis, first a picture of one of the most popular hip openers, half pigeon.

half pigeon

As you start to fold over your hips and descend toward the floor a searing pain originates in your hip which you cant really tell if it’s more like the time you mistakenly, in a drunken state, placed your empty hand on the hot eye of the stove while placing the cast iron frying pan on the non hot eye of the stove to cook that grilled cheese sandwich you wanted OR, if it was that time you thought you really COULD climb a barbed wire fence. Then the instructor says to “BREATHE” and you realized that the end of your hip socket IS actually being pulled OUT of the hip joint, when she says, “focus on your thoughts”, and you realize your thoughts are on the illegitimacy of her birth, and some pretty nasty things about her mother, father, and sexual practices.

“The tension in your shoulders is completely unnecessary”

half moon with block

Uhhhh, actually, yeah it is, ‘cuz I think without it, I’m gonna fall over on my face and chip every single front tooth I have. This actually happened tonight and when she says this, I start laughing, admittedly a little uncontrollably, which is not really cool, in yoga class, where they prefer a “soft smile”. Hell, getting rid of “necessary tension” in my shoulders is one of the 642 reasons I started taking yoga in the first place five years ago and is something I’ve been trying to figure out how to do for about 4/5’s of my my life.

“twists” Does that conjure up in your mind something that tastes good like a pretzel, or a swirly ice cream cone or something equally yummy? Actually, I kind of miss those days when the jokes about practicing yoga was like being twisted into a “pretzel” was actually scary. Pffft, that aint nothing. Here’s what they’re REALLY doin to ya….”Indian yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar describes twists as a “squeeze-and-soak” action: The organs are compressed during a twist, pushing out blood filled with metabolic by-products and toxins. When we release the twist, fresh blood flows in, carrying oxygen and the building blocks for tissue healing. So from the physiological standpoint, twists stimulate circulation and have a cleansing and refreshing effect on the torso organs and associated glands.” http://www.yogajournal.com/practice/817 And THAT makes it sound better than it is, actually, when you are standing there, gasping for air, feeling the blood squeezed from your organs, like Paula Deen, squeezing a washrag in the bathroom at her deposition like it was the lawyer on the opposing side; and the toxins coming out of every pore of your body. Feelin that “Pretzel” image now?

Stay tuned for “Euphemisms, part II, “focus on your breath, and listen to your body”.

“We all live in a yellow submarine”.

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