Yoga intoxication

Published on June 22, 2011 by      Print
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By Laura Riggs

Let me start by commending all of you practitioners out there who are able to sustain an asana practice while under the influence of any one of the following substances: alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, XTC, Quaaludes, or the occasional muscle relaxant.

Oh wait, I’ve done that! Under doctor’s orders, none the less.

Now let me explain…. A couple of years back, I was taking a class meant for “detoxification.” Given that the class was pre-heated to the equivalent temperature of standing on the sun, I would say the amount of sweat pouring out of me was sufficient to burn out the impurities left over not only from the past 24 hours, but anything that might be lingering from New Year’s Eve circa 1995, when I walked in the snow for 3 hours back and forth through my neighborhood searching for my house after having too much of Grandma’s Special Holiday Punch.

The instructor thought we would further benefit from the class if she sequenced no less than 82 variations of twisting postures into her flow. I was amazed to discover that 82 twisting postures existed and that she was able to sequence them all into the hour-long class. Needless to say, my hypermobility proved to be a disadvantage when my spine decided to bail on this S**Ty practice— causing me intense pain. Drugged up in the ER while telling my doctor that yoga really is good for you, he proceeded to inform me that I had dislocated my S.I. (sacroiliac) joint, aka my spine slipped out of alignment with my pelvis.

I was prescribed an assortment of things to distract myself from the intense pain, along with a rehab schedule to realign my joints.

After several months of pills, rehab, and care, I cautiously returned to my mat. I also made the arrogant choice to pop a Percocet before heading into a 98-degree room filled with approximately 50% humidity and 50% ego. The environment was so cozy that I laid down in Savasana before class started, and fell asleep for the entire thing. I was able to happily snooze while the instructor blared techno music and yelled at his students to achieve a “high energy” noon class.

When the hour was up, the silence crept cautiously back into the room, as the people stumbled out, dazed from their near rave-like experience. As I awoke, I realized two things: 1.) Teachers who are high on cocaine do not mesh well with students loaded on muscle relaxants — the two are complete polar opposites. (Thus, I would need to choose more a more appropriate setting for my first official class back) and 2.) I had a newfound respect for any student who has practiced (with the covert blessings of studio management) under the influence of any one of the aforementioned substances.

You students who can maintain your balance after you have chugged 3-4 beers before entering class just might have a better concept of drishti (single-pointed focus) than I do. Thus, I offer kudos to each of you! Just don’t let me catch any of you arguing with yourself in the mirror again, while I am teaching, or I shall confiscate that beer you brazenly brought into class, which I will need to drink just so I can deal with your sorry a**.

I have to also mention you teachers who are able to teach immediately after smoking up, or are hungover and reeking of booze from the rager we all went to the night before, yet still manage to make it through an overheated class PLUS remember the sequence without hurling their breakfast in front of the entire room – I salute you too! Please know I am in complete awe of your ability to comprehend the concept of dharna (concentration) that I have tried to teach, in vain, for years now.

While these abilities are worth my admiration, I must point out that this behavior is inadvertently dismantling the facade our Marketing Department has so desperately tried to advertise to the naïve “free week” students — that our studios are actually a sanctuary from their own substance abuse issues. Thus, management has determined they cannot allow this truth to be exposed until the free week’ers convert into members.

Thus the following policies have been enacted for all current students and teachers:

  1. Alcohol must be consumed in the locker room, or in your car, before class. If you must bring it with you into class, remember to use the red plastic cups we have provided. There is no glass allowed in the yoga studio.
  2. Anything that must be smoked, please smoke either at home, or in your car. We do have an indoor smoking ban in the city, thus we can no longer allow any smoking in the boys room.
  3. Any and all other illegal substances, unless purchased from a teacher or a manager, need be snorted, injected, or swallowed prior to enter the studio facilities. If purchased on the premises, you must share with your dealer in the management office.

By adhering to these policies you will help us all continue to enable one another with our deluded grandeur that our yoga is the best in town. Thank you.

PS – You can put that in your waiver and smoke it.

About Laura Riggs

Laura started practicing yoga roughly ten years ago and began teaching five years ago.  She left a successful career in advertising to teach yoga full-time because she decided it would be totally rad to pretend she was 21 again. She managed two large studios for the past two years, led many teacher trainings, and enjoyed having her soul sucked out of her. Now that the LSD in the Kool-Aid they had her drink before work each day has worn off, she is relieved to be rid of a company that believes first in money and second in “speaking your truth” — so long as it agrees with “our truth” because “our truth” can kick “your truth’s” ass!  She does admit there are days that she still checks the studio’s yoga schedule and experiences flashbacks – only to be grateful she no longer has to manage the severely undereducated teachers trying their best to fulfill the studio’s mandate to “Bring the Sexy Back” to yoga. Last time she checked herself, before she wrecked herself, yoga was never sexy to begin with…..

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15 Comments !

  1. Matthew says:


    Putting the ‘recovery’ into Recovering Yogi. Nice writing! It’s something that is familiar to a lot of us. This piece reminds me a lot of Steve Martin’s essays, which is to say: really funny and also true.

  2. Joslyn Hamilton says:


    Now that we’re admitting things, I taught a yoga class drunk once. It really wasn’t intentional. My most evil and charming ex-boyfriend took me out to lunch at a very fancy place called The Buckeye, and we decided to pretend it was the 50s and we were stressed ad agency men and have a “three martini lunch.” At the time, I think I weighed about 110 pounds. He was fine, but it took me longer to shake off the lunch than I might have hoped. I had to ask my roommate to drive me to my yoga class about 4 hours later. He later said it was the best class I ever taught.

  3. Jennifer Croley says:


    I am so naive. Hilarious!

  4. Kimberly Johnson says:


    My favorite sentence:
    “Needless to say, my hypermobility proved to be a disadvantage when my spine decided to bail on this S**Ty practice— causing me intense pain.”

    That Percoset did you another big favor knocking you out for that class.

    Thanks for the laughs!

  5. Yogini5 says:


    I am actually on a prescription medication that cautions one to “take caution operating heavy machinery” … in my case, the way I’M built (though I am not machinery … lol) that would include challenging yoga poses as part of a practice or a class.

    I was actually thinking of upping the dosage to that medication.

    Now, I’d better not. Thanks for the reminder.

    Wish it COULD be about getting high. But the only sport I’d ever experienced in that state was roller skating. And I fell (I would have, even sober–just would have taken longer …)

    • Laura Riggs says:


      Well that explains so much – I didn’t read the warning. Although – you are right, we are definitely not heavy machinery in the traditional sense of the concept.

  6. John B says:


    Laura, Laura, Laura…I don’t even feel bad about cracking jokes in your class anymore! As a member of the tune in, turn on, drop out generation, I experienced over a decade of “enhanced” athletic activities. Tripping is fun while you’re skiing but if it won’t stop when you have to go to work waiting tables…look out dining room! Flaming desserts are soooooo much more interesting (for both waiter and customer) when the server is high.
    Today, I have the good sense to know what I can and can’t do but I was a slow learner (like most boys). Yoga is, on most days, a refuge from a corporate grind that is much worse than anything a dosed Yogi could ever toss my way. And, sometimes I just WANT to stay in Savasana during the entire class…you once told me I could!

    • Laura Riggs says:


      John – I would never want you to feel bad for cracking jokes! You are a genius, my friend – and now you know why I might be laying in Savasana. Although, I have learned many lessons too – one of which is to take care of my spine, the other is to leave the corporate world (especially corporate yoga).

  7. Eileen says:


    And I thought yoga was supposed to be healthy and make you feel good in your body and in your soul. Gosh, I feel STUUUUUUPID!

  8. Heather says:


    So funny and well written! Even your bio cracked me up! I was bummed slightly by the truthfulness of your words – how yoga has become big business, but what hasn’t, uh? Later Gator.


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