Prude: a person who is or claims to be easily shocked by matters relating to sex or nudity.
This will be important for the following post.
***For you non yoga peeps, I’ve put a link to a pic of each pose I talk about.***
I grew up in a pretty conservative, Southern Baptist family and I’m grateful for it. I think back on my life growing up and there are a lot of things really good about it. Sure, there was disfunction but hey, you can’t spell disfunction without the word “FUN” can you?
As a young boy I remember I was at the neighbors’ house in the back yard and they took me into their garage and showed me where their dad kept his special magazines. I was fascinated. To give some idea of how young I was, we moved from that house before I was in fourth grade.
The curiosity continued throughout my adolescence and I was aware of how attractive the human body is. Somewhere along the way I co-opted a view that it was naughty or forbidden. This carried me through high school and into college. I remained fascinated but never really knew where the cut off was from normal to creepy.
I certainly had my stint in my twenties of looking and doing what I may not have been ‘posed to look at or do. Then, in my late twenties I got religion again.
I met the woman I would soon marry and she got me going to church. This was quite a shock to some of my friends, I’m sure, as I dove head first into the 21st century version of the holiness movement. As this cathartic blog continues there will be more fleshing that out.
In the midst of this time I was so intent on doing what is right and trying to stay away from what is wrong. This, of course was an interesting time as I was also learning another way to define right and wrong.
I have, for most of my life, been easily swayed one way or another without taking a true stance on anything. This is definitely not a strong suit. However, the converse of that is an ability to talk to most anyone without judgement or condemnation. Oh God, I hope that’s true. I hope, I hope, I hope.
So with all this in mind I’d like to tell you about a recent trip to the Yoga Studio.
I got a Thai Yoga Massage today from a dear friend and it was a beautiful experience. Please don’t confuse this with the previous post. That wasn’t the norm. This is.
After the massage Julia and I talked for a few moments about the experience. I told her of a couple of moments during the session where I had pseudo-mystical experiences. One of them brought me to a deeper consideration of Jesus on earth and the other was an awareness of my body I had never known. I say “pseudo-mystical because I can, in part describe them both. As my friend Science Mike says, “One of the hallmarks of a mystical experience is the difficulty in truly expressing what happened.” That’s a paraphrase and I hope I’m not butchering it too much because Mike is a talented writer.
I told Julia I had trouble with one aspect of the massage. I couldn’t get out of my head. I practice meditation in prayer all the time. When I do, I am able to go rather quickly into a place where I feel I am communing with God and we are alone with each other. I can do this in a crowded room or on my back deck. It’s a real gift to have this time and I cherish it. But in Yoga, I have a LOT of trouble with this.
“Is my breathing matching the flow?”
“Am I holding that pose correctly?”
“Do I look like an idiot?”
“What do I mean by that? Who would be looking at me?”
“If they are, they aren’t doing their practice correctly and they need not be so judgmental and mind their own business… Why am I arguing with myself?”
“Is my hand going to slip because of all the sweat?”
“Oh man, my belly is hanging out and my shirt is all jacked up. Why am I subjecting myself to this?”
“Are my legs shaking?”
And I’m off balance.
“Here I go to the left.”
Another problem, and this brings me back to the prude thing… I like to watch the instructor. I need to watch to get an idea of what pose I am striving for.
“Okay, I need to bend the back upward and elongate my fingers forward and boobs.”
“Whoa, where did that come from?”
“Oh, no, I don’t want the instructor to see me watching her because she may think I’m looking at her boobs.”
“Okay, I think I have this. Wait, is my hand supposed to be on the inside of the foot or outside? I’ll look to my left and see what that other guy is doing. Okay, he has his hand on the wow, what is a hairy lower back.”
“Oh forget it! I’ll just take a break and go into child’s pose.”
“Ahh, there we are. Back into the relaxation and breath and mindfulness of the… Is my butt crack showing? Oh man, this is a good stretch but I don’t want my butt crack showing.”
“Time to get back up and try again.”
And I paid money for this. Do you understand? MONEY! I paid someone to let me come into a room and find more awareness to how prude I still am.
The dialogue continues on…
“Stuart, they are boobs. Get over it. They are a part of the anatomy and they serve a purpose and you need to just relax and get into the moment. There is nothing wrong with anything going on here. Just breathe and stretch and get to know your body and how it is connected to your breathing and your mind and your spirit. Things are going to work out.”
“Yes,” I think, “But why do people wear such tight clothing? I mean come on…”
I jump to my hands and raise to my feet with hands stretched to the sky.
“I should wear tighter pants.”
32 - Prudish

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