Tag Archives: filmed outdoors

ASHTANGA YOGA BEGINNERS PRACTICE

2002, $2.99, at Goodwill Superstore on San Fernando

First Impression: A pitcher’s mound is a perfect place to perform a back extension.

Second Impression: I’m sure the crowd at Dodger’s Stadium won’t mind at all.

The DVD menu is underscored with depressing organ music. A male voice sings along in a mournful dirge. It’s similar to what the Dungeon Master used to play during our D&D Ravenloft campaign.  It’s not in a minor key exactly, nor is it in a major key.  It is the key of melancholy.

Despite the obvious warning signs, I click to begin the full program, and immediately my ears are assaulted with the worst voice-over in the world.  The instructor sounds like a bored person shouting.

She guides us through the Sun Salutation as if she’s giving us instructions to take the S.A.T.’s. “Exhale to Downward Dog, and remember to fill in each oval completely or your answer will not be counted,” she drones.  “Move through Chaturanga and do not make any marks in your test booklet.  If you need scratch paper, raise your hand and I will come to you as you rest in Child’s Pose.”

I am struck by how often she says “please.” As in, “now bring your other leg forward, please.” You know, in that tone people use when they say polite words, but want you to get the hell out of the way. “Excuse me!” This is usually followed by an exaggerated exhale to demonstrate for you just how difficult their life is, as they make their way to pick up their $5 coffee drink paid for with an app on their smartphone.

The instructor wears her hair in two long braids so that she will always be able to dust the mantelpiece in a pinch.  She clearly wanted to emulate Laura Ingalls as a little girl, and just never stopped.  Perhaps she has to share studio space with another teacher with blonde ringlets who teases her for being a “country girl.”

By far, my favorite part of this workout is when the teacher tells us the right way to breathe. “Keep your eyes open and your mouth closed.”  Now that’s just good advice for any situation.