Reaching Nirvana Via Pigeon Pose

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A confession: I don’t own sportswear. Converse don’t count, who does sports in converse? (I do, because once again, I don’t own sportswear.) On a rare occasion that I can be found at the gym displays me in casual sweatpants, battered chucks and a too-big shirt with something mildly funny scrawled on it.Going to the gym, as a general way of living, goes against me on some sub-atomic level. I do it anyway, because pushing yourself, I’ve found, yields results you delight in endlessly.

In the combined time that I’ve spent at the gym, I’ve been through numerous classes, trainers, exercises and gym machinery; most of which I loathed. To be fair to gyms worldwide, I am acutely particular about what I do and don’t like.

And in my desperate pursuit of an exercise I wouldn’t mind doing on a near-daily basis, I discovered a total of two.

Yoga and Kickboxing, dichotomous as anything can be (that’s great in itself.)

My relationship with yoga is one long river with occasional waterfalls. An inexplicably horrible analogy, but it makes sense. I’ve been dragged to yoga classes, which my mother fancied greatly, and even though I’ve long since known I genuinely enjoy yoga, a routine never stuck. I attended yoga on an on-and-off basis like some sort of complicated-relationship for a very long time, and it’s been my honest intention to get back to practice at some point in my “adult life,” hence I decided now was the time.

Angry by nature, I was infinitely excited by becoming “Zen” and “calm” and “enlightened.” Truthfully, my eagerness was then channeled mostly into finding fitting, serene tunes and searching various poses I could actually do without breaking neck. After that came the not less-thrilling perception of needing yoga-oriented garments, which brought me to picking through Adidas, clueless and foreign looking in denim and ankle boots. But, since a whole other story could generate from sportswear, I will emphasize the subject in hand: Yoga.

I bought myself a mat, and on a Sunday I woke up early enough to find the amount of sun exposure tolerable. Avoiding the coffee maker, fridge, shower and bed, all of which seemed more welcoming then many of my so-called friends most of the time, I shuffled around in the strife of getting dressed.

Music on and back aching, I, in the backyard, sprawled on my yoga mat, began going through a series of exercises.

The thing takes me forty minutes.

From the stretching of the legs, to the reaching for the sky and into the pigeon pose, I bent myself until I was positively boneless, with every joint cracked. I sat myself into a meditative position and finally lied down (it’s that one final yoga pose.)

Without much detail, as I’m positive I haven’t the most precise routine, I do yoga every other day now.

More so than a good stretch, yoga instills into me an unshakeable idea that I genuinely enjoy healthy living, and on those days that I do yoga, I’m brainwashed into favoring a palette of fruits, vegetables and water.

Less violent too (but not less violent enough not to need kickboxing as an alternative on my none-yoga days.)

When I’m not listening to Nirvana, it’s quite likely that I’m bending awkwardly to reach Nirvana in some grotesque variation of the pigeon pose.

– Alice Pylypenko


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