Bikram yoga has a cultish quality to it that I find comforting. The postures are the same every time, the order is the same. Even the instructions are the same, regardless of the instructor. Look back, fall back, way back, go back, more back… I fall into a hypnotic trance and obey. There are specific phrases they use that prickle my spine. Choke your throat… Now suffer here... You are a capital T, like Tom, not a broken umbrella! All the instructors follow the same script and my mind chants along; it has become a Top 40 hit I cannot stop singing, and liking it has nothing to do with it.
But I do like it -- in the same way I imagine cult members enjoy being in a cult. It is predictable, it is comforting, it is painful in that good-for-you kind of way that makes you enjoy your martyrdom. I like how my body can do strange twisty things I did not know it could do. I like the way I leave so empty of energy, resistance, and … water. I like feeling myself fill back up. I like emptying it all again. I like being corrected, I like striving to be more correct.
Saturday, July 19, 2014
It was Gilligan's Island that taught me about the dangers of quicksand when I was a child. It seemed that someone on that show was always falling into quicksand and being sucked under, leaving behind only a jaunty hat on the surface to indicate who had been swallowed. Quicksand, although I had never seen any in real life, became something to fear. What if I was walking home from school one day and tread, accidentally, into some quicksand, and sunk to my doom, leaving behind only my woolly toque? This could happen, I knew, because on Gilligan's Island, no one ever had any warning that they were about to step in quicksand. They would just be strolling along happily on solid ground, and then suddenly find themselves in quicksand. To get home from school, I had to cross a very large field. Who knew how many quicksand pits there were in that field? Dozens, I felt sure. Maybe hundreds.