A Yoga Story, Only In New York

I occasionally practice Bikram yoga, which is done in a studio heated to 100 degrees. Yes, it sounds insane, but it’s not, as long as you don’t mind the heat. Yoga studios strive to be peaceful places, with everyone pretending to be kind and gentle, and saying, at the end of class, “Namaste,” which is a Sanskrit word that means, “I bow to the divine in you.” So I was amused by an abrupt sign that has appeared in my studio. Apparently some people felt the temperature was too hot or not hot enough, and they had taken to turning on or off the heaters, or opening or closing the windows. Not a good idea. The new sign, which is in the waiting room, states that although the temperature may vary, noone is to touch the windows or heaters, because “life is not perfect” and you have to accept things the way they are, and in case you are tempted to disobey the rules, management and teachers reserve the right to expel anyone indulging in “rude or disruptive behavior.” The bottom of the notice says, in classic corporate-speak, “EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY—THE MANAGEMENT.” Then, because this is a yoga studio, it says, “Namaste.”

UPDATE: I was out with some friends last night, and one of them lit his cigarette from a pack of matches that said “Fuck Yoga”. The backlash has begun.

Author: Peter Maass

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. In 1983, after graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, I went to Brussels as a copy editor for The Wall Street Journal/Europe. I left the Journal in 1985 to write for The New York Times and The International Herald Tribune, covering NATO and the European Union. In 1987 I moved to Seoul, South Korea, where I wrote primarily for The Washington Post. After three years in Asia I moved to Budapest to cover Eastern Europe and the Balkans. I spent most of 1992 and 1993 covering the war in Bosnia for the Post.