My Sixth Yoga Class

by cheri block

I usually arrive at my yoga class early, partly to avoid the traffic and also to find a spot on the floor where I can see the teacher. I’m only 5 feet 1 inch tall and about 110 pounds, so most people block my view in movie theaters, sporting events, and yes, even in yoga studios.

Tuesday night, I learned how territorial even the most mindful people are.

The “Om” studio is the shape of the State of Utah. If you visualize Utah, I usually place my mat at the lower end of the Great Salt Lake. The panhandle of Utah is the teacher’s stage. There up two steps she places her mat and from this position, we are able to see her and she, us.

The first row of spaces under the panhandle must be coveted, but I’ll get to that part of the story shortly because I’ve never been a person to park myself in the first row of anything, unless you count the blind date I went on in 1968 while I was a student at USC. The chump picked me up late in an old Saab; we drove to Pasadena to see The Lion in the Winter, but the only seats available were in the first row. He bought those seats. For the next two hours, with my neck bent back like a birdwatcher, I studied the collars of King Henry II and the neck and chin of Eleanor of Aquitaine, played by Katharine Hepburn.

There on my mat in the Great Salt Lake, I watch a woman with short grayish hair enter the studio. She stares at me, nods, doesn’t smile, and picks the spot in front of me. Never mind that the entire state, from St. George to Provo, is wide open. She unfurls her purple mat and then goes to the bookshelf with the yoga props. I notice that she is taking out six blocks, instead of the necessary two. She is saving and marking spaces, I observe.

Her friends, all tall and formidable women, arrive. They speak another language. I strain my ears, hoping to understand the Eastern Bloc dialect. In my experience of running a business with customers who are from around the world, I believe that alternating from say, Mandarin to English in an English speaker’s office means you don’t want the English speaker to know what you are saying, such as This tuition is too expensive. Should we go to the Learning Bee to see if their tuition is lower?

The three women now blocking my view are probably Czech, I determine. They sound just like the people I listened to in Prague last May. They rattle on in Czech, which sounds anything but still. At the sushi restaurant across the street from “Om,” I hear English spoken in a crude intonation. It too, sounds anything but still.

I become mindful and redirect the factory of voices in my brain from manufacturing clutter to practicing silence.

The class begins. In our Bhujangasana (the Cobra), we stretch our legs back in an effort to keep the spine supple and maybe help our liver and gallbladder. I listen intently to the instructor’s restful voice. I practice listening instead of seeing since my vision is blocked by the Prague Castle itself.

I am making progress here in Utah.

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
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21 Responses to My Sixth Yoga Class

  1. dafna says:

    This is very funny Cheri!

    I’m glad you are getting a mental/physical health benefit from the classes.
    I wish your teaching shingle was still up and you lived closer.

    The local school system is most certainly disturbing my “mindfulness”.

    • Cheri says:

      Hi dafna,
      Thanks! Can I be of any assistance online?
      The local school systems are generally in trouble and have been for a long time.
      I hope Jacob is doing OK.

  2. Cyberquill says:

    Zmrzlina sounds perfectly still to me. Why can’t I find the reports for classes one through four?

  3. dafna says:

    Oh Cheri,

    what an incredibly generous offer! i will have Jacob read whatever advice you supply!
    maybe another blogger will “crowd-source” the issue also 😉

    parental involvement and/or tutoring is surely necessary to bridge the gaps. last year the school (students) failed their minimum government standards so although Jacob tested well, there were funds available for a tutor.

    Jacob’s reading comprehension and orthography skills are good, but his grammar is awful.
    similarly with math, he can solve complex problems in his head, but is being allowed to use a calculator for simple long division, for which he needs practice.

    yes, seventh graders are now being asked to write “essays” about the books they have read rather than write “reviews”. however, my son does not comprehend the difference between the two writing forms.

    do you have a “contact” button on the blog? perhaps you could help clarify. Jacob is at the age where most “advice” coming from mom gets ignored.

    i have heard students on the local college radio station unable to pronounce words such as “strychnine” – it makes me wonder about the future.

    sorry about the monologue, but thanks for the offer to share.

    • Cheri says:

      Hi dafna,
      If Jacob has a question about the difference between an essay and a book report or if he has a question for which the answer might be helpful to others, I will be happy to answer it.

  4. Maybe those ladies are part of your karmic group and have been sent to give you a chance to develop your pratyahara. Or maybe test your ability to maintain the yama!

  5. Cheri says:

    Not sure if what I just did will affect the RSS feed or the email subscribers, but my server, the HughesNet Satellite will not let me see other wordpress blogs, including my own. I have changed my primary domain ( back to the secondary one ( and the blog opens for me, at least.
    If you read this and can let me know if you are receiving the RSS feed or can access it through, that would be great.

  6. wkkortas says:

    Stinkin’ Amazons.

  7. Everything is normal on my end.

  8. Oh dear, what an intro to Yoga you are having. Stick with it. It gets better.

  9. Cheri says:

    Oh, I’m not going to quit. In fact, I wish I’d started 30 years ago.
    Several years ago, I injured my shoulder. I’ve babied it, but I could no longer raise my arm straight over my head.
    I can now do that after only seven classes. My back feels better, too.
    My spirit has always been energetic and high, but also worrisome and busy. I have a feeling that my spirit energy will appreciate this practice.
    Thanks for the encouragement and advice to find a teacher with “long practice.”

  10. Philippe says:

    The the only time I did Yoga in a class I was informed I would find the exercises relaxing, and I would become calm, and all of that. However, the exercises made me tense, and I got even tenser at the thought that they were making the rest of the class more relaxed and calm.

    At the end of the session I was a nervous wreck. My heart was beating so fast I thought I might have a heart-attack.

    Do I, peradventure, speak for all those others who become nervous wrecks after doing Yoga, but dare not confess this for fear of ridicule?

  11. Cheri says:

    Hi Phillipe,
    Sounds as if being trapped in a small room with a bunch of people in tights was not for you!
    From what I have read of your writing, you seem to be very comfortable in Nature, getting your exercise, right?
    Let’s see if anyone else weighs in here.

  12. Brighid says:

    Yoga for seniors, Yeah! on the schedule… Thanks for the tip, I will take the tall Amazon bod to the back. I really want to take the classes, but have trouble with the ones that “own” their piece of the room. Wonder if I spend too much time just the dog, books, & I.

  13. Cheri says:

    Go for it, Brighid. My dog Dinah heartily encouraged me to leave my comfy couch, my pile of books, my soup, my road, and my computer.
    She told me to take the class when I am most restless. I took her advice and enrolled in a class from 5:45pm-7:15.
    Let us know here, what happens.

  14. Pingback: Мой Девятый Класс Йоги ( My Ninth Yoga Class) | Notes from Around the Block

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