Years ago, I took a weekly yoga class to lengthen my muscles and perhaps to teach them how to relax. If you knew me years ago, I think you would agree that “tightly wound” was a kind way of describing me. The studio was (actually, still is) a place devoted to the practice of yoga; it’s a deep and very sincere space, if you know what I mean.
I attended a weekly “Intro to Yoga” class. The teacher was kind, patient and so willing to help my fellow classmates and me improve. It was nice to have that attention as I twisted and turned and generally tried to learn the poses and philosophy. My classmates were mostly the same people every week. I typically kept my eyes on the instructor or myself, did my thing, then went home, relaxed, muscles humming happily.
About ten weeks into my practice (that’s what they call it) I was pressed for time and decided to take an “Intro” class at a different day and time. Just as class was about to begin, a man entered, looked around the well-attended (read: crowded) class and spotted what he thought was just enough space between me and the wall to place his mat and himself. A little startled at his abrupt entry I scooted my mat over to give him a bit more room.
Focused on my breathing, in and out, I was a happy.
I thought, “Focus. Breathe.”
As the class moved as one into downward dog, I heard another, somewhat louder “pffft,” and a slightly sulfuric odor wafted gently up my nose.
I tried to focus on my widespread fingers anchoring my body into the earth. I tried to focus on my breathing. But the smell had broken my concentration. Badly.
I struggled to regain my focus. And I succeeded for most of the rest of the class, even though the periodic “pfft” kept me off balance.
Finally, feeling like I was moving and breathing in a yellow haze, I shot a glance to my left, where the man, the just-on-time-to-class person, was positioned. And where the “pfft” originated from.
The man was dripping with sweat. Facing him as we moved into plank position my nostrils flared as a funky mix of stale beer and BO filled them. . .that. . . and something more; something I couldn’t quite place.
Literally shaking my head, I refocused with a vengeance on the pose: plank, then we repositioned our arms and flowed into side plank. Unfortunately for me, the side I faced was “his” side. The man’s gym shorts had ridden up, exposing a lot of very hairy, not very attractive leg. But that wasn’t the worst of it. Oh, no.
That meant the man’s butt faced me so I got the full-on “pfft” of the fart he let loose during the move.
And I quite literally gagged in a side plank.
When class ended, the man got up and left without a backward glance. But his hazy yellow “pffft” stained the air where his mat had been and where my mat and I still were.