The Suburban Yogi: The Legend Begins
Our hero was a modest man who had much to be modest about. His looks were modest. His stature was modest. His ambitions were modest. His accomplishments were…well, they were, more or less, nonexistent.
Not unexpectedly, therefore, his resolve to begin his new life as a suburban yogi at the Dawn of the New Year began modestly.
No need for a mat. He sat in a chair. Just as well. For he carried an extra 60 pounds that had apparently taken up more or less permanent residence in the vicinity of his remarkable stomach. Indeed, his butt and stomach had for some time come to occupy different zip codes. Frankly, our wannabe yogi had not had an unobstructed sighting of his unmentionables since the waning days of the Nixon Administration.
As the New Year began, he resolved to downsize his grandiose girth, certain that a new, more comely physique would help cure his state of perpetual bachelorhood. Perhaps, too, he reflected further, The time has come to wean myself from the teat of Big Government and get a job.
His yoga instructor, whose name is Addison, Adley, or possibly Analia (he can never remember which), is as thin as he is fat.
Her soothing, airy voice is gently espousing a New Age brand of yoga philosophy as he begins the first day of class on the second day of the New Year.
“Feel the flow of your breath,” she intones in a near whisper. “Be complete, whole. Picture in your mind’s eye a beautiful lake. Calm waters settle within the receptive basin of Mother Earth’s sweet embrace. The still surface of the water, like a mirror, reflects evergreens, snow-capped mountain peaks, a majestic eagle gliding in an azure sky, drifting clouds. Sunlight sparkles upon the dappled dance of gently rolling waves in a play of shimmering diamonds…”
Swaying to the hypnotic rhythm of her voice, he wonders, Have I stumbled upon the Lazy Man’s Path to Enlightenment? Valhalla glimpsed from a chair?
Engulfed in his vision of paradise, he declaims aloud, “I am the waves!” as he loses his balance and topples onto the floor with a resounding thump.
“Excuse me, so sorry, excuse me,” he apologizes, looking at the startled faces of the women as he clambers back up to his comfortable perch.
As Addison/Adley/Analia resumes her lyrical, comforting, but decidedly minimalist version of the yogic arts, our yogi, still shaken by his mishap, asks himself, How many calories will I burn in this class?
Then he sneaks a peek at his classmates.
Hmm. All women except for me.
Several of the ladies are wearing beatific grins. Three are snoring. Two are catatonic. One brave soul is hooked up to an oxygen tank.
Once the guided meditation is concluded, the instructor asks the members of the class to introduce themselves. When it’s his turn, he says, “You know, I really have no personal interest in yoga, but I’m required, by law, to take this class to help provide gender balance.”
This quip garners his first laugh of the New Year—at least from those yoginis who are still conscious.
In a rare burst of optimism, our sorry slacker, a poster boy for underachievement, realizes that odds now favor remedying his footloose, but lonely lifestyle, especially if he can avoid the occasional unintended faux pas and cultivate his newly discovered gift for sparkling repartee.
Of course, I’ll have to pluck up one of these post-autumnal ladies before the Grim Reaper harvests her—or me, he reflects, his mood suddenly darkening.
He comes to think of these Tuesday morning sessions as Yoga for the Decrepit, Enervated, Ailing and Dying (aka, Yoga for the DEAD).
Before beginning the third session, Addison/Adley/Analia reports that “Darlene is still recovering from a broken leg suffered in a fall, and, I’m afraid, our dearest Mildred has passed altogether into the Celestial Paradise. Let us pray for her safe ascent through the Astral World.”
She closes her eyes, opens her arms, palms upward, and intones: “Aum Mani Padme Auuuuuummmmm…” She holds the last syllable of the mantra interminably.
While everyone else’s eyes are closed as they continue to chant, our Everyman, impatient with what he thinks of as all this Sanskrit mumbo-jumbo, looks up and sees the ghostly visage of Mildred hovering near the ceiling. She looks exasperated. Her mouth is open. She’s shaking her head. She appears to be pointing down toward Addison/Adley/Analia with an expression that might be interpreted as meaning Can you believe this claptrap? “Tell me about it,” he mumbles under his breath.
When Mildred points to the door, Harry (our Everyman) nods. While telepathic communion may be an arcane subject to the uninitiated, especially when it pertains to the spirit world contacting the living, nevertheless the immediate understanding between Mildred and Harry might best be summed up with a quaint colloquialism: Let’s split this pop stand.
Still waiting for the yoga instructor to run out of breath, Harry reflects upon his three-pronged New Year’s resolution: lose weight; get a woman; get a job. Three things he has not managed to achieve in six decades of terrestrial existence.
He looks up at Mildred who appears to have dozed off, thinking to himself, Not bad looking for someone who’s been dead for a week. She was probably my best bet before her untimely demise.
Yes, it would appear that Harry had, at last, set his sights on a good prospect, although just how the two lovebirds might consummate their connection is something of a puzzle.
Looking around at the nearly somnolent yoginis, he tells himself, The time has come to move on to a greater challenge.
At the end of that fateful third session, he waddles toward the door of the Senior Citizen Community Room for the last time. His days of armchair yoga have come to an end.
As he reaches the door, he turns around, and declares to the stunned yoginis: “From now on nothing will impede my advance in the yogic arts! Ladies, I take my leave of you.”
With a final ostentatious flourish of his right arm, which knocks over the lady hooked up to the oxygen tank, he proclaims, “Farewell!”, spins on his heel and, motioning discreetly toward Mildred to follow him, exits in triumph.
“Help! Help! Help! Somebody help me up,” croaks a bewildered voice from the floor.
The ghost of Mildred Zimmerman swoops down, lifts up the crumpled body, and gently sets Eleanor down on the chair next to the oxygen tank.
“Is that you, Mildred?” asks Eleanor.
“Yes, dear. You’ll be joining me soon. Very soon.”
Mildred then exits, passing directly through the wall of the Senior Citizen Community Room, a self-satisfied smile upon her lips, thinking fondly of her dear Harry: I believe I’ve hooked a live one.
At the end of the third session of Yoga for the DEAD, our hero had resolved to unleash his vital powers upon an unsuspecting world.
With the ghost of Mildred Zimmerman in tow, hovering about five feet above him wherever he went, his step was noticeably sprightlier than had been his custom. On the other hand, he hadn’t remembered her being quite so talkative when she was among the quick.
She chatted away constantly, “Harry, your socks don’t match. You know, dear, you could use a little help with your personal hygiene and, if you don’t mind my saying so…”
He got in the habit of saying “Yes, dear,” almost continually. Nevertheless, she would prove to be a good helpmate in what would become a meteoric yogic career.
And so began, modestly, the story that has come down to us as the Legend of the Suburban Yogi.
About Don Plansky
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