By Matthew Miller
The town I live in contains maybe five yoga studios, about 65,000 residents, and my least favorite ex-girlfriend.
Despite my initial misgivings about yoga, I am deep into it now, and few things deter me from getting to class several times a week. But this last week I learned that there actually is one thing that can drive me away from my favorite Tuesday night yoga class: The Ex.
She isn’t just any ex-girlfriend; she is the ex-girlfriend: the one who served to remind me of all the things I never wanted from a relationship; the one who routinely engaged in crazy-with-a-K behavior toward me; the one who… oh I can’t even begin to list the things that made being with her so wrong.
The first time I saw her at my yoga studio I truly didn’t care.
I thought it was kind of funny/cool in a “oh-good-for-her-I can’t-stand-seeing-her-here” sort of way. She walked up to me as I talked to a friend before class, surprised me by saying something nice, and then we hover-hand-hugged. After that, I totally ignored her and didn’t really think about it. But then the next time, and the next time, and the next time she was there. Not just there, but being a real show-boat yoga student, blowing through poses before the teacher even initiated the next one, her ujjayi breath resounding through the studio.
Surely, I should rise above and not let her deter me from joining class? Of course I should, as she was fond of telling me: “man up” (a deal-breaker phrase for this grown man, FYI). I should accept the fact that The Ex has begun attending every night at my favorite studio.
However it’s not like I can just go to another studio here in town. The studio I attend is IT. I love the intimate, unpretentious, calm vibe of the 16-person-capacity studio, and the teachers are wonderful. I have been to several studios, but this small place is just perfect, for me, since my yoga-neurosis is so pronounced, I have trouble relaxing enough to even do the practice at other studios. In other words, I’m real attached. Yes I know, we yogis are not supposed to be attached.
So here I am, a grown, tough man, who has avoided going to yoga for days because I don’t want to see her, hear her, or even smell her patchouli.
I feel like she has stolen my refuge (thank goodness for RY!), and taken my one special place I can go and be surrounded by friends. All I can think when she is in class is “You owe me a ton of money” or “You hit me so hard I puked twice,” or worse. I certainly don’t want to dissuade my classmates from befriending her, as I believe (naively) that I somehow brought out the worst in her, and (hopefully) people can change.
Is she ruining my yoga experience? Yes, undoubtedly. Should I just deal with it and move on? Sure. Is it distracting to the point of infuriating when she is in the same class as me? Oh, god. YES. But maybe, like so many other students, she will burn out and stop going after a couple weeks. But maybe she will keep going, serving as a constant reminder of what I don’t want, which, really, is just as important as knowing what I do want.
Is this a stupid yoga lesson?