Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Zen drank margaritas and laughed at me

I went to yoga class Friday evening in search of a little Zen. 

The Zen apparently had better places to be, like happy hour at the Mexican pub down the street. That probably would have been a better spot for me to go looking for the calm, centered aura I so desperately craved.

For starters, my hair wouldn’t cooperate. With hair that’s almost waist-length, it’s tougher than you might think to find a good yoga hairstyle. Ponytail? It gets stuck in my armpits. Braid? My hair is too slippery and comes unraveled when I’m flopping around on the floor. Bun? Not bad until the teacher orders us onto our backs (which, sadly, is not as pornographic as it sounds) and I lie there wondering who shoved a grapefruit under my head.

On the advice of some Twitter pals, I attempted Princess Leia buns. It didn’t work out so well.

I finally gave up and headed off to class with pigtail braids. Already running late, I was forced to park my mat between an angry-looking woman and a guy who might as well have worn a T-shirt that said, “sweaty farter.”

I’m not certain which of them consumed six pounds of garlic prior to the start of class, but I can assure you it’s difficult to focus on your third eye when your first and second are watering.

Perhaps fearing my senses hadn't been adequately assaulted, sweaty farter did his part to ensure there was no risk I might slip into a serene, meditative state.

Then my feet got sweaty. Not normally a problem, except I was using a new yoga mat that wasn’t as grippy as my old one. I kept sliding into an accidental splits, then frantically over-correcting just before my crotch hit the floor.

When I wasn’t panicking about pulling a groin, I was spitting out my pigtail braids, which, predictably, had come unraveled.

Then the instructor turned off the lights. I think she was hoping to send us into calm, enlightened zone as we approached the end of class. Instead, I ended up accidentally groping the woman beside me. I couldn’t tell from her yelp which body part I grabbed, but it was a sticky one.

In the end, the distractions proved to much for me. I never achieved the Zen-like state I hoped for, though I did make up for it by treating myself to sushi and Sake afterward.

Do you have trouble with distractions pulling you out of a mental zone you’re trying desperately to reach? How do you deal with it? Please share your tricks.

Oh, and share your yoga hair ideas if you’ve got ‘em. Maybe a turban?


Anonymous said...

Oh. My. Word. I've never been a fan of Yoga...and now...I don't think I'll ever try it.

Just kidding.

What a tough day for ya. Jeepers.

I have hair to the middle of my back and I have to do two braids to keep it tamed down while I'm out running and biking. Too bad the buns didn't work :( That would have been my suggestion, too.

lora96 said...

That was hilarious! Thank you!

When my hair was really long I used to pin it up with bobby pins in a ridiculously professional looking chignon before yoga. But it didn't make lumpy head pain problems. My hair is also too fine to secure in a braid. I know your pain.

If you're feeling heidi you can always do a braided coronet and see how awesome that looks frizzing out of the braid during class.

Matthew MacNish said...

Oh my god that was freaking awesome. Your posts are always pretty funny, but that one may have just taken the cake, er - rainbow roll, whatever.

I think a do-rag would probably solve your problem next time. Either that or a bank-robber style pantyhose pulled down over your whole head. In fact, go with that, I'd REALLY like to see that photo.

Sarah W said...

My husband's a yoga instructor and your post made him snort coffee. "Groping isn't Zen, if it's done right."

One of his students wears her very long hair in a French braid, or makes a ponytail on top of her head, braids it, and wraps it into a topknot bun. Another lady wears a sort of turban-head wrap, but he's not sure how long her hair is - he's never seen it.

He also mentioned that the class size was too large for the space, but you probably know that already.

Bryan Russell said...

Shape your hair into horns and bat wings. It really tends to settle down the other yoga goers.

Michelle Miller said...

I've had long, fine hair like yours most of my life. So pretty, but so annoying.

You can try wrapping your braid to hold the hair where you want it to be. Or else, I found that if I put it in a nice, tight bun for a couple of hours ahead of time, it would fool my hair into thinking it had enough body to actually stay in place when braided. Then there's always the secret weapon: hairspray. Just spray the heck out of it until it's plastered in place, then wash it out when you take your shower after class.

Then, of course, there's the ultimate solution. A few years ago I donated 10 inches to Locks of Love and found the decrease in weight and increase in manageability so liberating that now I never let it get longer than my bra in the back.

As far as finding my zen goes, that's an on-going struggle. I have found that music works when I'm writing, but the sweaty farters and garlic breathers of the world are hard to ignore. They tend to take all the fun out of breathing exercises.

Danica Avet said...

I'm cracking up. The closest thing I've come to accidentally groping someone was at a concert. I was on the "wall" of a mosh pit and a guy with no shirt fell into me. I caught him before he hit the floor and my hand went right into his sweaty armpit. *shudders*

Distractions are everywhere. It could be outside distractions like the cat pawing at me for attention, or it could be my mind distracting me by finding puzzles while I'm trying to relax. I used to have trouble sleeping because my brain wouldn't shut up, but now I just ignore it. It took a while to get to that point though.

Andre Zollars said...

Distractions? What the hell do you call this? I was minding my own business, sipping a hot cup of Joe, slipping into my morning Zen spot and then I see @SimonCLarter's twit saying you had your "mellow harshed." Now, I've read about sweaty farts, sticky groping, and ugh - I may not find my Zen spot for a week. And, I'm definitely never - ever trying Yoga!

Jenna Wallace said...

Snorting tea out my nose on this one!

If the Leia didn't work, how about the Heidi? Take your braids and wrap the around your head like a Swiss milkmaid.

CKHB said...

I think your Princess Leia buns look awesome. Stick with it! And, I find sushi much more calming than yoga any day.

Delia said...

"Instead, I ended up accidentally groping the woman beside me. I couldn’t tell from her yelp which body part I grabbed, but it was a sticky one."


Kim Mullican said...

This is exactly why I cut my hair! While it's still long, I don't sit on it anymore and really...who wants their hair to smell like armpit?

I think you're stuck with a swim cap ;) It's a bit more durable than a turban. But I like the swiss maid idea above. I live close to Amish country and they do it all the time. May require dozens of hair pins but...better than armpit hair.

That lady probably stalks your blog now and thinks you were using her for "fake sex scene" practice! ~cheers

Steph Schmidt said...

If you're ok with the cap look you can try wearing a kendo tenugui. They work with long thin dish towels too. The trick with wearing one is mainly to scoop in back your hair (in a ponytail) up into the cap while you're tying it.

It's really easy to youtube how to tie them and there's two ways of doing it (one is more obviously meant for women because it wraps around the back).

Ang said...

Perhaps a Jane Jetson-style ponytail, higher up on your head? You could even double-loop it. That might keep it from getting in your way when you are on your back and out of your armpits. :p

Roz Morris aka @Roz_Morris . Blog: Nail Your Novel said...

Use a crash helmet. And go gallop a horse instead. (Sorry, don't really get on with yoga...)

Hysterical post. I've never known anyone make yoga so captivating :)


lynnrush, the braids did seem like a good idea, but my hair doesn't like to cooperate.

lora96, part of my problem is that I lack any skill whatsoever in doing creative things with my hair. I can barely manage a regular braid, so complicated French braids and cool braid halos are out. Maybe I should learn.

Matthew, you know, you might be on to something with the pantyhose idea. No joke, I'll give that some thought.

Sarah, the topknot bun works OK for me until I have to do any sort of headstand pose or fish pose where the top of your head is on the floor.

Bryan, the picture does kind of look like horns, don't you think?

Michelle, I might have to try the pre-styling bun idea, thanks!

Danica, the only thing worse than accidentally groping a person is accidentally groping a sweaty person.

Andre, for the record, yoga class is usually much more mellow than this. Must've been Friday's full moon or something.

Jenna, I'm not sure I'm talented enough to attempt the Heidi, but maybe I'll give it a shot.

CKHB, the Princess Leia buns lasted about 5 minutes before gradually sliding out and becoming weird, droopy pigtails.

Delia, my thoughts exactly! :)

kmullican, I worry about bobby pins stabbing me in the brain in headstands, but maybe it's worth it, huh?

SM Schmidt, must google kendo tenugui now, thanks for the tip!

Ang, the high, looped ponytail works sometimes, but the headstands always get me. I usually just end up taking my hair down completely for that.

dirtywhitecandy, I considered a crash helmet several times when I was learning Crow Pose and had the tendency to fall on my head!

Thanks for reading, guys!

Jessi said...

My go-to hairstyle for yoga is coiling my hair into a bun on top of my head and securing it with one of those claw-clip thingies. Then if I have to do a pose that requires me to be on my head, I take the clip out and let my hair down for that pose, then quickly re-coil my hair afterward.

Shalet Jimmy said...

That was a hilarious post and really looked awesome in that piggy tail braid of yours.

Jenna McCarthy said...

Best Line Ever:

I’m not certain which of them consumed six pounds of garlic prior to the start of class, but I can assure you it’s difficult to focus on your third eye when your first and second are watering.

p.s. I like the "droopy Leia buns" look. Plus, I like saying droopy Leia buns.

Deirdre Puff said...

hmm maybe a doorag (durag? duerag? i dont know how to spell it)

My meditive state is constantly effed up by the cat that which tries to get pets via my nose when I attempt yoga. ugh

Patrick Alan said...

Maybe it is just me, but I desperately want a shirt that says "sweaty farter" and maybe "accidental groper"

You said 'pulling a groin' - snickr.

Linda G. said...

OMG! You are so CUTE!

Of course, a truly dedicated practitioner of yoga would just cut off her hair. ;)

Laina said...

When I was a kid and could sit on my hair, my mom would just braid it down my back and then secure it at the end with a hair elastic. I use the smaller, skinny ones, and wrap them as tight as I can on the occasional time I braid my hair now, and never have any trouble. There are also grippy, non-slip elastics that Goody makes.

Maybe your braids aren't tight enough? Could Pythagoras maybe braid it for you?

Anonymous said...

This was hilarious...

For the hair, well, I've got curly hair so it stays in pretty much any position.


I'm usually the one people grope on accident...soooo

No advice here! haha sorry.


Jessi, I often do sort of the same thing with an elastic instead of the claw-clip thingy, but maybe I need the claw-clip.

Shalet, why thank you, my dear!

Jenna, I feel so sad now that you've mocked my droopy buns. This is why I go to yoga in the first place.

Dierdre, this is why I could never do yoga in my house. I'd have pets in my face constantly.

Patrick, I'll have one of those shirts made up for you immediately.

Linda G, it's a close call, but I think I love my hair more than I love yoga.

Laina, I have a bunch of those grippy, non-slip elastics but I never notice much of a difference. It's tough to get the braids very tight because my hair is too damn slippery and there's so @#$% much of it. I think I need a live-in hair braider.

HoldenLyric, I've always envied curly-haired girls who can just twist their hair in a knot and make it stay without elastic.

Thanks for reading, guys!

Rick said...

I achieve my zen by doing karate instead. It's a lot easier to focus on GETTING ANGRY! HULK SMASH! than it is to find peace and harmony while clearing my mind of all thought and thinking of fluffy bunnies.

But then, maybe that says something about me.

Laura Fenske said...

I know I should focus on the writing, but I keep coming back to your picture. I think it's my most favorite one ever.

Meg said...

I say give in and learn how to french braid. Best solution for that problem I can think of is doing pigtail french braids, done when your hair is slightly wet, then loop the ends up if need be right before class starts. It'll look silly but it should work.

Braiding your hair when it's wet helps it stay together. Especially with fine hair. :D

I gave in and chopped mine a few years ago. I don't think I'll ever let it get super long again.