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June 30, 2010 / sadhbhanu

The Road to Hell

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is paved with Good Intentions….

A couple of years ago my life had entered a protracted blue period,
triggered by a nasty career blow and a love affair that had gone
horribly wrong. I embraced the misery that ensued with the same kind
of fervor that I had embraced the wrong man and the wrong job and
would have continued to do so had an old friend not seen fit to
introduce me to more constructive ways of coping with my sorrows than
drowning them in a pub.

The cure to my despair was to be a yoga meditation class where after
four hours of stretching limbs and wringing out internal organs I
would be a new woman full of inner poise and peace. I was very
resistant to the idea. Four hours seemed like an awfully long time to
be doing anything virtuous and I had a healthy suspicion of all things
new age which my friend had come to cheerlead. But my friend is a
persuasive creature and her life was in tact while mine was a train
wreck so I went along under the proviso that as soon as anyone
mentioned “positive energy” or “sharing” I was out of there.

The class kicked off with a breathing exercise that could best be
described as pre orgasmic moaning and was followed by a 30 minute warm
up which amounted to waving our arms about and rolling our heads (or
in my case eyes) while sitting cross legged. When we were finally
instructed to get to our feet the only man in the room took the
opportunity to make a run for it. I wanted to follow him and perhaps
share an afternoon pint but my friend was completely focused on the
task at hand so I couldn’t catch her eye.

I wasn’t expecting any kind of spiritual awakening in this class but
I had hoped at least to get a few good yoga poses in. When two hours
passed by without so much as a downward dog in sight I was feeling
kind of cheated. The teacher had led us through a series of free
style dance movements accompanied by the kind of rhythm-less toneless
meditation musak that you might expect to hear in an elevator in
Bangladesh. It wasn’t until the third hour however that I developed a
real appreciation for the theory that the road to hell is paved with
good intentions.

We were told to partner up for some ‘sharing positions’ so I grabbed
on to my friend before any of the granola eaters could get their hands
on me. We spent the next sixty minutes or so straddling each other in
a series of increasingly mortifying postures. But as I watched my
partner breeze through the humiliation with a grin on her face, I
suddenly began to envy this quality she possessed that enabled her to
make the best of any situation no matter how ridiculous. I knew at
that moment this was a quality worth pursuing.

So with the unexpected awakening I threw myself into the final hour
with a new gungho-ness. We had to form a circle and take turns
leading the class through – yes you guessed it – free style
expression. When my turn came round I gave it everything I had;
hurling myself on the floor, writhing against the wall and gyrating my
hips in a manner that would make Shakira seem uptight, exhausting
myself and my bewildered followers in the process.

After the circle of truth there was just 25 minutes more of free
expression to endure. The teacher who by now had reached a high state
of karmic ecstacy moved toward the exit where there was more space to
do her thing. I moved in the same direction but for different
reasons. I had almost reached the door when I heard a loud bang, the
musak abruptly stopped and I turned to see our fearless leader lying
on the floor in dead body pose.

For a brief moment I thought it was my bad energy that had caused
this disaster but then I saw that she had gotten caught up in the
stereo cables thus pulling the heavy wooden speaker off the wall
knocking herself out. Within seconds the yogis had gathered round and
someone called for rescue remedy and someone more practical called for
an ambulance.

Bizarrely this first dunk in the pool of new age healing did actually launch me
on a new path towards balance, which so far has included flirtations with transcendental mediation, Buddhist chanting, spiritual cleanses and extreme
forms of yoga that you practice in a sauna. That day however when we finally
escaped from that misguided farce my friend and I expressed ourselves across
the street to an Irish pub wherein we proceeded to decompress in the
time honored fashion.

(c) Sadhbh Walshe

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