Paths to Tranquility

Cross-posted from

I hate yoga. There, I've said it! Believe it or not though, I once taught yoga at an adult education night class in Auckland, a course called 'Paths to Tranquility' which combined yoga, meditation and nutrition.

Path to tranquilityIn those days I was 15 lbs lighter and could still bend at the waist. My students were mainly overweight housewives who were only interested in yoga – and I was only interested in meditation. Using my tutorial prerogative and much to the dismay of the housewives, 75% of the course was meditation, 24% was yoga and 1% was nutrition.

Casually but professionally outfitted in mandatory leotards, t-shirt and bare feet – de rigueur for we yoga teachers – my confidence was only slightly dented by the mirth which my appearance excited in my wife Subarata.

I did a crash course and had crammed on 'Yoga Made Easy' the week prior to course start, but hopelessly inflexible, had only managed to master 3 of the 30 or so asanas ('postures' to the uninitiated) in my book. To mask this glaring deficiency and to establish my professional credibility early on, I would meticulously demonstrate these three asanas and run through them slowly and patiently with my students at the beginning of each class. These became the basis of my eccentric yoga course and the foundations of Jogyata's Yoga Teachings. Master these, I assured my spellbound and riveted audience, and all the secrets of the East will be revealed!

When it came to those asanas I couldn't do, I would simply call up a volunteer and then, my own mastery already a given, instruct them on how to adopt the various poses while I cajoled, instructed, prodded and pushed. Little did they know that had I even attempted to touch my toes the sound of tearing flesh and sinews would have sent them fleeing – screaming – from the room. As the weeks wore on my housewife students became increasingly restive and rebellious during the protracted silence of meditation practice and Paths to Tranquility began to take on an uneasy and decidedly un-tranquil air.

By mutual consent between students and teacher Jogyata's Yoga Teachings never ran into term two – the housewives jumped ship and enrolled in 'Integral Yoga with Alison' on another night.

Across the city Subarata the bogus chef was conducting a course in vegetarian cuisine – ovens, real organic food, the works – and desperately trying to remember recipes she had swatted up on earlier in the day. She also had a nutrition component in her course but bypassed this boring topic by handing out mind numbing charts of incomprehensible stats to placate her employers and disguise her own utter lack of interest. Neither of us felt inclined to pursue these careers any further – I became disillusioned with yoga and took up running while Subarata moved into a whole new world of cuisine, the exciting world of takeaways.

    – Jogyata.

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