Asheville under glass: The F heard ‘round the (yoga) world

I just finished my fourth yoga class (really my third, since I unceremoniously bolted from my first class).

I crawled to the get-ready-to-leave bench, still part of this yoga school’s $60-for-30-days special, whereby the business hopes to hook me as part of its new generation of yoga diehards.

But I’m exhausted. I simply can’t believe this thing is so hard.

Our instructor for this class is different from the others. He started out telling us that the class was for beginners but not to be fooled: “Beginner Yoga doesn’t mean it’s easy.” Since I want Easy Yoga, I make a mental note to look that up in the school’s online schedule.

Next, he goes into the meaning of dialogue, saying, “conversation happens when one’s body parts talk to each other.” Unlike my other teachers, he doesn’t play any soothing music. He probably wanted to facilitate us in hearing our bodies talk. I’ll say this: By the end of class, my body parts were definitely talking. They were swearing and hollering, too, even using the F-word, as in, “What the F are we doing here with a bunch that was obviously raised on this pablum?”

So, I dialogued back with my body and tried to give it some insight. Here’s what I said: “I think I finally know why yoga’s so hard for us. First off, we’ve got MS, so we’re not on a level playing field with others. Our muscles scream when extended, and they’re decidedly weaker than others.

“Next, we’re dyslexic, so every time we nail a position (and we’re proud), yoga teacher takes away our glory and calls out, meanly, to reverse the position. We get all mixed up.

“Then, too, we react slowly to drill-sergeant commands. Yoga instructors always call out commands. We especially liked it (sarcastic) when today’s guru had us hold a tough pose, and then forgot about us while he gave a 14-year-old boy his personal attention and encouragement.” That’s when we (my body and I) dropped down on our mat and the quivering in our legs took on spastic proportions.

“Finally,” I continue, “at 67, we’re older, so movements once fluid are staccato at best, impossible at worst.”

What did we enjoy? When someone farted. It had to happen, with all of this stretching and exposing bodies to openness. We knew not to dissolve into hysteria, for we needed to conserve energy, if for no other reason than to stagger out at the end of class in some kind of upright position.

But the veiled fart was the first Real Funny Thing that’s happened in Yoga Town. Following class, we met our first yoga friend, Lisa, who told us that this is her third year in Beginner Yoga. We were stunned. That’s when we realized, yoga’s not like other schools. We won’t necessarily be in the Slow Learners’ Group.

We know, too, that there’s no shame being in Beginner Yoga, maybe forever. Even so, we’re looking up Easy Yoga.

Now, if we can just hobble on out to our car…

P.S.: For those of you who recommended (in the comment section), after my first yoga column, classes sensitive to MS people (like me), thank you. Special thanks, too, to the yoga instructor who hunted me down, got my address, and sent me video tapes (gratis) on yoga for the physically challenged. I’ll watch and follow Bedtop Yoga (even better than Easy Yoga), Seated Yoga and Balance Basics. She considers me an experiment, and I’ll willingly oblige.

Colleen Kelly Mellor ( came to Asheville seven years ago for a quieter lifestyle, but that didn’t happen. On a mountain road, three years ago, her husband was hit head-on by a 12-year-old girl in a truck. He “died” following surgery (staff shocked him back to life), and they’ve been crawling back ever since. In this column, Mellor opines on life in Western North Carolina as only the “born again” can do. Published in The Wall Street Journal, among others, Mellor adds her senior view of a region often touted as one of America’s “Best Retirement Towns.”


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