A new, more flexible Princess | AspenTimes.com

A new, more flexible Princess

Hello? Didn’t you miss me at all?I’m feeling a little dejected, Aspen. I mean, I’ve been gone for over two months and no one stopped breathing. It’s not like I expect a welcome home parade (though that would be nice for the next time) but maybe you could’ve sent me flowers or bought me jewelry or at the very least sent me a little e-mail to let me know how much you miss me. I mean, how long have we known each other? You should know by now that as a narcissist who also suffers from low self-esteem, I need a little extra loving now and then. I’m sure you can relate.For those of you who don’t know, I was in Hawaii for the last two months training to become a yoga instructor. I agree the whole idea is a little incongruous to my existence as a blabbermouth who is the farthest thing from focused and centered. Yoga teachers are these lithe creatures with long limbs and skinny bodies who communicate with calm smiles and fluid hand gestures. They wear long skirts and gypsy pants and beaded jewelry and have long hair and tattoos on their lower back or maybe the back of their neck so it shows when they put a ponytail in.If they’re like ballet dancers, I’m like a football player in the midget league. I’m short and compact, though having short legs does come in handy with all those postures where you have to touch your toes. I’m somewhat flexible from having been a gymnast but I’m far from lithe. While everyone else is meditating, I’m sitting there in some uncomfortable posture thinking about a dress I want to buy or how I need to get my roots done or schedule my next wax appointment. I’m really deep like that.Everyone I’ve run into has the same questions so I figured I’d just address them all now so I can get on track with figuring out how I’m going to survive the summer with no real source of income and loads of debt. (Anyone want to organize a “Save The Princess” benefit party for me?)First things first: I did not drink the Kool-Aid or put on the Nike sneakers or join some cult even though I know my Dad is paranoid that I did. After being completely open with me about everything my whole life, the whole yoga thing is one subject he does not want to explore. Whenever I start talking about yoga stuff, he immediately changes the subject.”The dogs are barking,” he’ll say when I’m practically in the middle of a sentence.”That’s what dogs do,” I’ll reply. “Please don’t tell me you’re going to start talking about the weather or Rockies baseball.”Granted, I do feel self conscious when I start talking about the “group mentality” or how, by the end of the nine weeks I felt like the 300 trainees became “this giant organism that seemed to move and breathe in unison, as one.” I feel a little awkward when I talk about how clean I feel inside and how I haven’t so much as had a single drop of alcohol in 11 weeks now and can’t really imagine being as reckless with my body as I was before (Dude babe, I can see you rolling your eyes. You know who you are so just stop it right now. It’ll still be fun, I promise).Second, I did not sleep with my guru, participate in group sex or homosexual activity (though that would have been the best option since there were maybe 30 guys and 270 stunningly gorgeous women).And no, I did not lose 1,000 pounds and become the stick figure I imagined. I mean, you would think that after nine weeks of doing two intense yoga classes a day I might lose a few pounds, but nooooo. I managed to gain weight! Please spare me the whole “muscle weights more than fat” racket because I don’t want to hear it. It might have something to do with my Russian lineage, having come from a long line of peasants who survived long, cold winters with no food on account of having these stocky little bodies that store fat like bank vaults.What did happen is that my priorities shifted. For example, after sharing a hotel room with only one bed and no kitchen (We used the toilet as a garbage disposal, bathtub as the kitchen sink and bathroom sink as the laundry machine) I have a renewed sense of appreciation for simple things like full-sized refrigerators and sharp knives. After spending most of my time in a room heated to over 110 degrees, I love ice cubes and have a maniacal obsession with ice cream (thus the weight gain – have you ever tried coconut ice cream with fudge swirl for crying out loud?). After practicing yoga with 350 other people with our mats only a couple inches apart I have a different sense of personal space. I just love being close to another person, whether that means leaning on them, putting my head on their shoulder or merely sitting thigh to thigh and knee to knee. It’s kind of nice, you know? On top of that, after living in Hawaii I see clothes as a wall between me and a cool breeze blowing against my skin. (Yes I know I’m starting to sound like a hippie but just bear with me). I actually forgot to bring my make-up bag home because I haven’t used it in so long. (Yes, I still shave my legs and pits).That’s a pretty big change for a girl who prided herself on her various Princess ways.I guess in that regard, I did get one thing you might expect from a yogi: I’m a lot more flexible than I used to be.The Princess really needs to hear from you. Send your loving e-mail to alison_berkley@yahoo.com

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