Everything is Connected: Corpse pose with happy ending

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Everything is Connected by Nick Mattos

By Nick Mattos, PQ Monthly
1) “Hey, what would you say about me going to yoga school and getting certified to teach yoga?†It’s 2011, and beside me in bed, my boyfriend has furrowed his brow. “Why would you do that?†“I mean, I’ve been practicing for 11 years now, and I think I might like being a teacher.†He looks at me dubiously. “I’m worried about you going to yoga school, baby.†I raise one eyebrow, smirk at my boyfriend lying beside me in bed. “Why the hell would you be worried about that?†“I dunno,†he says, running his hand over the back of his neck, squinting thoughtfully. “I guess I’m worried that you’ll come back all weird.†“Aw, handsome!†I laugh, setting my chin onto his bare chest, looking up at him. “Don’t worry. I’ll be the same as I ever was when I get back. Maybe just a bit more flexible.†(Joke’s on you, boyfriend!, I think. I was weird long before I set foot into yoga school.) 2) “Oh! You’re a yoga teacher?†the swarthy man at the bar asks me flirtatiously. I’m at the Eagle — my boyfriend dumped me the day after I taught my first yoga class (evidently I did get weird), and I’m back on the prowl. “I am,†I reply proudly. “You must be very flexible!†he starts, launching into a litany that will become alarmingly familiar to me over the next few years. “Can you put your legs behind your head? Do you teach naked classes? Can I get a private lesson in your bedroom? Can you put your legs behind MY head?†“Uh…,†I stammer, stunned by his questions. He continues, “Do you have tantric sex? You must have a beautiful body. If I come to your class, I’ll probably get a boner. Do you offer classes with ‘happy ending?’†I grab my drink, down it in one gulp, and walk away. Why didn’t the Yoga Sutras warn us about this? 3) I’m in New Seasons, putting salami into my cart, when I look up and see a familiar face. “Hey sweetie!†I exclaim, genuinely pleased to see an old student of mine. “How have you been?†She laughs anxiously, grips the handle of her cart. “Good!†she says sharply. “So good! I’ve just been so busy! Work has been intense and I’ve been dating someone new and I started Crossfit and I know I should be coming to class but I moved to another part of town and I’m getting really into ‘Game of Thrones’ and I’ve just been so busy!†She laughs again, too high and fast. “It’s cool, love,†I say, smiling. “Believe me, I know how it goes.†When it comes to evoking guilt in people, yoga teachers are the nuns of a new generation. 4) Outside of the yoga studio, being a yoga teacher is strange — it’s hilarious and socially awkward, not lucrative or prestigious but somehow respectable in a very yuppie way. However, when you’re in the studio, walking into a class of two people or six people or 60 people sitting on their mats, it’s something entirely different — you are something entirely different. You, the you that frets about finding parking spots and pines after boys who don’t like you back and rolls around your bed in manic insomnia fits, is simply gone. You stand before the students absolutely free of your internal narrative, constantly surprised to hear your own teachers’ words emerge in your voice, constantly amazed that these students trusted you to help them figure out how to experience their own, well, energy. The students twist and stretch and breathe, and then lay on their backs in Corpse Pose; you look at them and, whether this is their first or thousandth class, you are almost overwhelmed by how huge and pure your love for them can be. It’s so big that it chokes you up, leaving you to sputter your last few words to them before you send them back out into the great open space of the world — “Jai Guru Dev,†salutations to the teachers that got you to this place. All over the room, you see eyes start to flutter open. One by one, you look at the students, their faces radiant with a yoga glow. The light in me salutes the light inside each of them, thrilled beyond measure for whatever tiny role I played in helping them know that light. I bow gently to the students for the things that they taught me, for being such kind and challenging teachers, and meaning it with all my heart I tell them: “Namaste.†Nick Mattos definitely cannot put his legs behind his head. For more information on his yoga offerings, check out facebook.com/VanishingPointYoga or email him at nick@pqmonthly.com. BlogTail_NickMattos