Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Yoga is a Spectator Sport

I've decided to rename my blog in honor of the Nepali New Year, and also because constantly fiddling with the name of my blog is a very good procrastination strategy, and I believe we should always practice what we're good at. Up until now, I've called it Too Lazy for Yoga, which is quite true, but I might like to show my blog occasionally to folks who aren't my family, and if they're Nepali they might think I don't like yoga, which is kind of like an American not liking baseball and also might get my visa revoked.

Whereas I love yoga. For other people. But I can't do it because I'm not that cool and also I fall over.

Still, if I had to pick between a Nepali sport like yoga and an American one like baseball, I'd pick yoga. Even to watch. Because at least I could follow what's going on. Plus it happens at my speed.

See what I mean? It's a spectator sport.

Except that if I ever did yoga, I wouldn't do it Western-style, with all the mats and meditation music. I'd do it Nepali style, on the dirt in the village, because then when I fell over I'd just be an American who didn't know any better and everyone would smile cheerfully and feel good that I was trying, whereas if I did it Western-style with other Westerners I'd just be an uncoordinated dork and when I fell it would make a big thump and the mellow groove would be totally ruined.

My father-in-law has done yoga for years and is as limber as Gumby would be if Gumby could twist into a pretzel shape. He's still limber even though he has arthritis, which he got while he was visiting us in the US back when we lived there and we thought my in-laws might like to live there, too. We think the arthritis happened out of boredom. Nobody but us spoke Nepali in the 'hood, and so he had no one to philosophize with, which for an old pandit from the village is like being put into a sensory deprivation chamber.

So first he discovered a talent for art and filled an entire book with colored-pencil mandalas. And then he read a book over and over in Nepali that's basically like Creationism from a Nepali Hindu perspective, wherein it's proved that everything in the world begins in Nepal, is invented in Nepal, and proves the central importance of Nepal to everything, ever.
The best thing about America,
according to my father -in-law

He said he liked America. Particularly the whipped cream. And then he got arthritis.

So we took him to see the doctor, which he never does because he always cures himself with meditation and whatever his dreams tell him to do, which usually involves lemons, and he lay down on the checkup table, and she said that his arthritis could improve if he did leg lifts, and I translated this to him badly so he thought it meant right then and flipped his leg straight up in the air and almost kicked the doctor in her nose. I didn't think the leg of a 74-year-old man could go up that straight. Or that fast.

He went back to Nepal and when he got off the plane his leg felt better, and when he got to the village he was bounding around like a spring Gumby.

So yoga is good. And as long as I could do it without actually moving, like a meditation yoga where you just think about doing amazing things with your body, it would be the perfect exercise.

Anyway, here are some pictures of Patan, where I live, with students at Pranamaya, which is our local yoga studio, which had the cool idea a little while back of hosting a walking tour of Patan in which they let ordinary people like me from the community tag along. It was fun and I met some great people. I know they look  normal, but they're not, because they can do camels and half-frogs and one-legged king pigeons and other gentle yet somehow unnatural-sounding poses without throwing their backs out. And if they ever get arthritis, they'll still be able to kick the doctor in the nose.

Pranamaya students on a stroll through Patan,
peering at things and taking pictures.
I'm the un-svelte one at upper left.

What they usually do. It looks very calming, but if I try it, I am not calm at all
because I am either about to fall over or actually falling.
This would be particularly un-calming in public like this.
Although fortunately it's near the hospital, which I'd need for my concussion.
Probably taking notes on poses from the guy in the foreground

A pose I can do

This is the part of yoga I like. 


Hana - Marmota said...

Whipped cream is good. I cannot comment on yoga, at all, not even as a spectator. :-)

Monsoon Rose said...

Whipped cream would go very well with the good meditation-type yoga, where you just sit there. Because you could contemplate your navel, behind which there was much whipped cream, and that would make you happy, and you wouldn't have to move and burn it off which would make you even happier, and all would be right with the world.