So that nine AM Sunday yoga class?
So much fun! I was smiling despite myself.
Before it started I felt hella self-conscious. I was the only person in the room who did not have one of them yoga towel thingamajiggers on her mat to soak up the sweat. Apparently, this was the way of Rusty’s class. Sparrow rented me a little white gym towel from the front desk for a dollar. But it was obvious I was new. The guy who set up his mat next to me decided to go over to the wall and do a handstand and some handstand fucking pushups–yes, he was in a handstand and did pushups in that position–before class. You know, just to warm up. He was just wearing bike shorts. And, yes, I briefly looked at his body, and yes, he had fantastic tits. I COULDN’T HELP IT THEY WERE RIGHT IN MY FACE.
There were a lot of guys in this class, running around shirtless in shorts. Showoffs. Very different than most yoga classes, where they’re hiding from the girls. Maybe it’s because I’ve never gone to a class in San Francisco, I always go in the East Bay. Maybe it’s different in the City proper. They’re usually hiding from the girls because they can’t keep up with them. In this class, they could.
They could keep up with them, and in sweat, Jesus, they exceeded them. After class, the assistant teachers were mopping the shit up. It was a little dangerous on the varnished wooden floor in places because of the sweat puddles. Some people just couldn’t keep it on their mats.
It was a lot like yoga in New York! The studio was beautiful. Upstairs, with lots of light, and an altar proper. We chanted to the morning and opened by dedicating our practice to a person in particular who we thought needed it. I dedicated it to someone to whom I am no longer speaking, for complicated reasons. He played fun music, some house and hip hop, and kirtan, and it was loud. The beat came through the floor. There are two disco balls in the ceiling at the studio, and I really want to practice sometime when that shit is on.
The style that Rusty Wells teaches is called Bhakti Flow. And it was one of the few classes I’ve had recently that calls itself flow and actually is! We moved with grace from one pose to the next–well, the poses were gracefully linked, I didn’t have that much grace. There was no choppy stopping to explain things, we just did things that the students knew, but were still challenging. We didn’t do extraordinary stretching (legs over shoulders), but we did do a lot of work towards splits, and there was opportunity for inversions if people wanted to work on handstand, headstand, and forearm balances. He put us into resting poses in the middle of logical sequences, so we got both the benefit of rest and the benefit of the poses. For instance, we did a pigeon instead of another child’s pose at one point, which was really intelligent. Open the hips and rest the body. I’ve never seen a yoga teacher do that before. His class was new to me, and very challenging, but I didn’t feel lost. Maybe because it made sense.
I said I wasn’t very graceful in my poses. Did I have grace inside? No–well, I’ll give myself this: sometimes I had internal grace. And sometimes I had some external grace. I’m in better shape than I thought I was. I am a level 2 yoga student. I’d been feeling lately like I wasn’t, because I can’t do scissors, or one-legged crow (I can hardly do crow–one of my feet off the ground, and the other is just barely off the ground for seconds at a time), or elephant trunk, or all this shit some of my yoga teachers have been adding on the end of their classes. Arm balances are hard for me, because I don’t have very open hips yet, and my wrists can be a bit dodgy from all my typing. But when it comes to keeping up with a hard-core class, I do okay. I’m fairly strong now. I’m flexible in a lot of ways. At least, more than I was before. Practice makes progress.
And when I’m not struggling too hard at something, it can be fun. This class was fun. I smiled. I thought things were funny. Like not being able to do certain things–that shit is funny. No, I am not going to do five wheel poses. You are fucking kidding me. (Great Tits did. He was one of the few, the proud, the Five Wheelers.) Yes, this is as high as my leg goes. I have been pushing as hard as I can. I started pushing a long time ago! Falling down is funny. Wobbling is funny. Turning the wrong way is funny. I just hear my first teacher telling me, “Left. No Seer, left. Other left. No. Oh, let me help you. She’s so cute.” I am fucking adorable, because I turn to the right-left a lot.
And the assistant teachers were so kind in their assisting. I never felt judged or critiqued, I really felt helped. One of them moved me and said, “Does that feel all right?” while I was sitting on the floor with one foot in my hand and the other hand open to the wall. When I said that it did, he said, “Well, it looks beautiful.” I laughed, because I highly doubted it, but it was so kind of him to say.
And Rusty. He had a room full of people who adored him. Yet he was not doing anything but reflecting the love back at people. He could have been an arrogant bastard, and he was humble and happy and kind. You could feel it. It was a really good space. Really good energy. Isn’t that a San Francisco, Berkeley thing to say. You have really good energy. I’m going to say that to someone today and try and keep a straight face. You have a clean aura.
No wonder the room was packed, and the class afterward was already waiting with hella people. Class started late and ran long. Apparently it always does. I’m not sure how long it did. It seemed like it might have been a half hour, or twenty minutes. It was 11:25 when we were down on the street, and the next class was supposed to start at 11. Our class was supposed to be 9 to 10:30!
It’s times like this I wish I were independently wealthy and wish I could do shit like just go to yoga. Because this class really blew my mind today.
Oh, then we went and got coffee at Philz Coffee, which is supposed to blow minds as well. It was a good cup, but I think if you want coffee made by the cup, Cole Coffee is better. Plus they serve espresso–Philz doesn’t. But I drink it black. (I take my lattes with whole milk, regular coffee black, if you’re getting up. Thanks.) I think people like the idea of having the milk and sugar put in for you and having so many options. That’s not my lifestyle. I don’t need the trimmings, and I just need deep, rich, dark coffee.
And then burritos from the El Tonayense Taco Truck, which was parked on Harrison at 22nd. I got the al pastor (it’s a roasted pork, y’all), which didn’t blow my mind like it did everyone else in the world’s. I think you can do better.
That was the first half of the day. I said I’d tell you about it. Now I need to shower and finish the shrug. Shrug, shrug, shrug. Such a fun word to say.