All yoga, all the freakin’ time | AspenTimes.com

All yoga, all the freakin’ time

Alison BerkleyAspen, CO Colorado

I guess I better start talking about something besides yoga.That’s more of a need than a want (a little inside joke for those of you who have been paying attention) since most people really don’t want to hear it.Like the other day I tried explaining everything I’ve learned about the mind/body connection to my friend Jeff. I’ve always believed Jeff is a genius even though he’s a relatively simple creature on the surface. He’s one of those people whose intelligence is so sophisticated that it doesn’t translate well. He might be sitting there slurping barbecue sauce off his fingers at the Hickory House or letting out a loud burp after pounding another pint of beer in under 10 seconds, but I know better. Trust me, the guy is having deep thoughts. It’s just that no one else can appreciate it but me.No matter what anyone says, I think Jeff is definitely smart enough to understand the profound philosophies bestowed upon me at yoga camp, especially when he’s buying the drinks. So I took a chance and changed the subject from our usual banter about who he’s trying to sleep with to what was on my mind.I decided to start with something I thought Jeff could relate to. “Think about it,” I began as we sipped cold beers in the afternoon sun at the Sky Hotel hot tub. “When you have a sexual fantasy, your body reacts physically to thoughts, resulting in physical sensations you’ve created with ideas in your head.”Jeff hoisted himself out of the water and perched himself on the pool’s edge, vying for the waitress’s attention.I decided to cut to the chase. “You know, when you take care of your business and you cue up a little fantasy to get it going.” (Yes, that’s the PG version).”I don’t need a fantasy to do that,” he said. “If anything, I have to try not to think so it’ll last longer.”It’s not like I haven’t heard that line before, so I persisted – that’s how much faith I have in Jeff’s capacity for understanding me.”Okay, what about tears?” I continued. “When you cry, it starts with an emotion that catalyzes a physical response, in your eyes of all places. I mean, think of it …”He looked at me with a dull expression (or maybe he was wearing sunglasses, I can’t remember) and said, “I think you’ve been brainwashed. Let’s order another beer. Do you remember who our waitress was?”The good news is my students in yoga class listen to every word I have to say because they have no choice. In that regard, it’s the perfect job for me. I get to talk for 90 minutes uninterrupted with a captive audience. It’s brilliant. I don’t know why I didn’t think of doing it a long time ago.When it’s that hot and you’re sweating that much, you’ll believe almost anything anyone tells you. It’s more like brainmelt than brainwash. Maybe I should start thinking about ways I can use that to my advantage and try a few of those hypnosis techniques my parents taught me as a kid, (another one of the wide range of benefits you get growing up with two shrinks, in addition to the free drugs of course). There’s also a good chance my students don’t hear a single word, except maybe the occasional “change” that comes between the endless drone of my voice while I hold them in the postures much longer than they’d prefer.The truth is no one seems to be all that interested with spiritual enlightenment. So far the only question I’ve been getting from those eager beaver students after class is, “Do you think this class will help me lose weight?”That’s another thing I love about being a teacher. It somehow gives people the impression I know what I’m talking about. It’s a whole different world than being a newspaper columnist for The Aspen Times.I’ve also developed my “teacher voice.” It’s pretty normal to use a different voice for business, right? When I was a little kid I could tell when my parents were fielding calls from their crazy patients because their voice would get all low and serious.”Now Janis, put the gun down, call my secretary and book another appointment. I think I should see you twice next week,” my Dad would say, his tone clear and professional. It was a totally different camber than his tone with me when he’d say things like, “Jesus Christ, Alison, did you steal Mom’s Mercedes again? How many times do we have to tell you, no driving until you’re 16!” We’re talking several octaves higher, especially when he got really mad.So I too have discovered this new, yoga teacher voice. I get to say things like, “make sure your throat is choked,” and “your back is supposed to hurt like hell,” in a nice, soothing tone. My all time favorite so far is when I get to say, “just relax and breathe,” when half the class is about to fall over and die. The power of being able to calm people down can really go to your head. All of a sudden you think you’re the Dalai Lama of Aspen, dishing out little pearls of wisdom here and there that make you sound all yogi-like. My personal favorite is still, “Remember it’s all about balance, everybody, so detox to retox,” or something along those lines.Oops, I guess I’m talking about yoga again. The really scary thing is, I started with sex. Talk about a one-track mind – someone better help me get my brain back in the gutter where it belongs – otherwise it’s going to be one long, hot summer.The Princess will be teaching at Bikram Yoga Aspen (in the Aspen Daily News building on Hyman) every at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Send your calm, soothing e-mail to alison@berkleymedia.com


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