Stan Woodman just opened Greenwich Yoga, in Greenwich, Connecituct, a mere 8 miles from the farthest reaches of Armonk, New York! Stan is an advanced Ashtangi who has studied in Mysore and with BBB. He tried to get a Mysore program off the ground at Sonic Yoga here in NYC, but, shock upon shock, the people who practice the Sonic way didn't really take to the Mysore way. Again, shock upon shock. So, at least I will have an Ashtanga teacher nearby, if I move to Armonk (or Westport, for that matter). But, of course, I am going to want to come into the city at least once or twice a week to Shala X for "the real deal". Maybe by then I will even be learning some new poses from Sir. Maybe, I said maybe.
Today I taught The Worst Power Yoga Class Ever. It was HORRIBLE. First of all, it was on the Upper East Side, which is always a problem. The people up here (other than me) are not really open to yoga. If they are, they find their yoga elsewhere because the yoga up here tends to play to its demographic: sterile, aerobicized, non-spiritual, breathing not really playing a role. But I teach mostly at Yoga Sutra, where the aesthetic is quite different: intellectual, spiritual, creative, breath-oriented, yada yada. So, when I went in to teach this power yoga class last Saturday, I just went into my "real yoga" mode, teaching yoga.
The students hated me. Hated. Me. They wanted to do glorified squat thrusts and hold poses for, well, not at all. They wanted to do aerobics in barefoot, basically. Seriously, they were all complaining about me to the manager, who has recently added a class called "YOGA DRILLS" to the schedule. Yoga Drills! How about that??! What exactly would that be.......
"Get down and give me twenty chatturangas!"Never mind that the students last week could barely touch their toes and didn't know from backbends and breathed out of their mouths no matter what I told them. So, this week, only one of them showed up, and she said, "I think the rest of them didn't come because they thought your class was too easy." There were two other students besides her. One had not taken a yoga class since 2002. One spoke not a word of English.
"Sir, yes, Sir!"
"That's all you got? What are you a bunch of girls?"
"Sir, yes, Sir, we are a bunch of girls, Sir!."
"Didn't yo momma have any children that lived?"
"Sir, yes, Sir!"
"Attention! Arms up! Touch your toes! Jump back! Jump Forward! Arms up! Atten- HUT!"
I told the "class" that this was going to be a hard core power yoga class, and that if they had trouble keeping up, to go into child's pose. I pretty much taught to the level of the woman who had been in my class the week before since she is the "regular", and I felt I owed her that much. She had a little trouble keeping up, and I had to give out a lot of modifications as we went along.
And it sucked. Sucked hard. Sucked like no other class I have ever taught. After about 25 minutes, I looked at the clock and I looked at these students who didn't care to listen to my breathing instructions, who didn't really want to be practicing yoga, who just wanted to be pounding out some calories, and I had a fantasy....in my mind, I stood up and told them "I'm outta here. You can't pay me enough to teach at an Upper East Side gym. I'm a yoga teacher, not a personal trainer, not a shrink." Of course, that would only cause me undue stress on an ongoing basis, for as long as I would remember it. So, it was out of the question. Needless to say. Instead, I steadied myself and told myself that if I could just get through the next half hour I would never have to teach another UES gym yoga class again.
It was painful.
At the end, they all came up to me and told me how great it was, how hard it must have been to have taught at such vastly different levels and levels of understanding. The "regular" told me that she was going to tell all the others from the week before that they really ought to give my class another chance. I told her that wouldn't be necessary because I am not planning on teaching there on a regular basis, that I'm only doing my "holiday karma", filling in for other teachers. But thank you. Seriously.
I have to teach another class today, but this one is in midtown at a different branch of the same gym. But it's midtown, as I just said, and a totally different clientele, a totally different vibe. And it's "vinyasa". Whatever they think THAT means.
Oh, so, almost forgot, went to such a typical Long Gisland party last night, it was like being in the Jewish version of Goodfellas. The host of the party is the Number 2 poker player in the country and spends his days and nights gaming online, when he isn't flying around the world playing in real life. His wife was actually throwing the party as a screening of some championship Cliff played in in Aruba recently. The Husband and I didn't know anyone there except one other couple, and Cliff and his wife, all of whom had been at our wedding. It's interesting to see your old old friends with their new friends. It's like watching your kids grow up and become their own people.
We stayed long enough to imbibe "Anorexics", the drink du jour amongs Long Island ladies: Vodka and Crystal Light, straight up, watch a little poker, poke a little fun at the fact that Cliff is like 20 years older than any of the other players and gape in awe at the Fran Drescher accents (without the irony) and the "Look at me! I look just like you!" clothing styles of the women, all of whom wear their hair all the way down their back and ironed. I was the only woman there who was not wearing cigarette-leg jeans tucked into stiletto boots. It's a look that is very very big right now, but mainly amongst the under 30 set. I have a pair of cigarette legs, but I think it looks classier for a 41 year old to wear them with a pair of flats, or even platform flats, rather than aping Jessica Simpson's most recent look.
Not to be judgemental, I'm merely explaining my choice of black Hudson bootleg corduroys, a black mesh handkerchief shirt by Sweet Pea and a pair of platform high heeled boots by Kenneth Cole. I must admit, I did covet my friend Karen's Christian Louboutin's - stiletto boots, not the platform peeptoes all of Young Hollywood is wearing these days. Karen is one of the most gorgeous women I have ever known. She only gets more gorgeous with every year, and I highly doubt she has ever seen the inside of a plastic surgeon's office. Lucky her...
Conclusion I made: wherever I move, there must be NO accents, and there must be no cocktails named after mental illnesses.