So I was at yoga the other day, and they’re always telling you to lighten up, to learn to smile.
It’s hard though, because you’re in the middle of a pose, and you feel your limbs giving out, and each second that you’re holding a pose feels like an eternity.
To get an idea of what this can feel like, get into a pushup position, with your arms extended. Except this time, don’t go down into the pushup.
Now just stay there.
And stay there.
This is a plank position, and you then push back so that your behind is sort of the apex of this triangle formed by the upper part of your body, your legs, and the yoga mat.
This is that whole downward facing dog thing that they talk about.
Shift back and forth between these two positions a number of times. After a while, you will have complete failure of your arm muscles.
This can be more than a bit distressing, particularly when you want to keep the pose for just another second. Fortunately, you know that after this, the instructor is going to tell you that you can then go into child’s pose. This is a kneeling pose of supplication, as if you are a Muslim who is facing Mecca for prayers.
I tend to collapse into this pose after this routine.
Nonetheless, while I am there, I receive frequent admonishments to smile.
Apparently, I need to find the joy in feeling as if all of the muscles in my upper arms no longer exist.
Anyway, I’ve been laughing in class lately. The reason is because I finally have hit upon the perfect visualization that makes me smile:
I imagine Tibetan monks going bowling.
It’s an awesome image. There they are, showing up to the bowling alley, and you can practically see them entering in slow motion.
There is a look of calm deliberate peace on their faces as they survey the lanes.
They all carry old fashioned bowling bags, and they all match the golden color of their robes.
They lead the league standings by a crazy amount of points.
When they bowl, they always bowl strikes.
They hi five each other, and pump their fists on the approach as the pins slam home. There is never anything confrontational about. In fact, members of the opposing teams always applaud, as their strikes are always perfect.
No Brooklyns, ever.
People feel a sense of peace when they bowl against the Tibetan monks. They come to see that life is not about winning or losing. It is, instead, simply about the grace with which the ball slips off the fingers and glides down the alley.
When someone on the opposing team is bowling a 300 game, the monks start to chant as a show of support. This lifts the bowler into a state of spiritual ecstasy. He is one with the lane, and the lane is now a part of him.
And I smile. And laugh.
Then I sink into child’s pose, and relax.