Yoga started up again last Thursday night, back at it after a 2 week hiatus while my teacher Maureen was on holiday. And it was so great to be back, even just missing 2 weeks makes my whole body seize up and people, it's not pretty. So we're there and it's the usual suspects, plus a few new suspects checking out the studio and the class for the summer session. And it's hot. As in Africa hot - or maybe India hot, since we're doing yoga - I don't know. But sweat running down your back, Bikram yoga hot - but it's good in a way, because let me tell you, the body likes to be hot, the body bends way better in the heat. Anyway, so all the doors are open to catch any sort of breeze that might be blowing, and since the studio is right on a corner and across from a park, we get gawkers. Yes that's right, people actually do stand on the corner and take a good long look and then say to their companions so we can't help but hear, "yep yer right Ethel, looks like what they're doin' in there is that newfangled yoga thing" and some will even go so far to stick their heads in and look around. Seriously. And then there are the times we go over to the park for our class. We get all sorts of weird looks, we get toddlers wandering over trying to do the postures, dogs barking around us, you name it. But usually in the studio we're safe. Or so we thought.
So it's nearly the end of class and we're all hot and tired and in a well-deserved Savasana and it starts like this:
A bunch of dudes outside: "hey hey check it out - yoga class, eh?"
1st dude: "oh man yeah, lookatem all lyin' down - heh heh yeah i'm gonna go lie down too"
2nd dude: "nah come on man, let's go"
1st dude: "no way, yeah heh heh, i'm gonna go lie down, come on"
Next thing we know, 1st dude stumbles in and lies down not 6 inches from my mat. So needless to say, I'm not nearly as relaxed as I was 30 seconds before, but ok, I'm chilling waiting to see how this is going to go down. So his buddy outside starts screaming at him to "get outta there man, come on, you know these people take this shit seriously, eh?" which actually made me laugh because in spite of the trainwreck that this seems to be turning into, there's still a sort of reverance and respect there for "this shit".
Anyway, by now, 1st dude - my mat buddy - is stretched out and my next reaction (after tensing up somewhat) is to just keep breathing, which becomes increasingly difficult as the booze aroma wafts over from him and completely masks Maureen's burning sage. And now I'm getting a bit worried. And let's be clear here - I don't have a problem with drunk people - heck I very often AM drunk people - it's just that a dude that is drunk enough to crash a yoga class might start out all mellow and "duuuuuude this is awwwwesome and I looooove you guys" but some little thing like a giggle or a sniff might just set him off and now all of a sudden he's all up in your face wanting to do harm.
So he stays, and wow, total props to Maureen for continuing as if nothing weird was going down. Drunk dude is still lying there making some soft snoring/moaning sounds - and uh dude? I so could have told you that when you're that tanked and you lie down, there's a very good chance you're not going to be able to get up again any time soon. So we finish up and now we're in our seated position again, with our eyes still closed. So as of yet, I haven't seen this guy, but given the state of his drunkenness (which seemed blinding) and the way he spoke, I kind of figured he was one of the older guys you sometimes see wandering round the park. But once Maureen had us open our eyes and I could get a look at my yoga partner, he wasn't an old rummy at all but a kid - probably not more than 20 (which technically I understand is not a kid, but you know what I mean) And I was so shocked at this little street dude - skinny white kid, no shirt and beyond sunburned (probably from drinking all day in the sun), hat on sideways (I'm sure there's a term for that - my dad used to say their hats were "on lock" - but something tells me that's not it) and those big ass baggy jeans - the pockets of which you might not have known comfortably hold a 26er of vodka. Ah, so now I understand why they're so popular.
Now, by this time you'd think drunk dude would be on his way, but he actually stuck around. At the end of the class, Maureen will often go around the circle and ask how we are, what we got out of the class, how it felt. So we each do our thing, and Maureen gets to drunk dude and he says "yeah, it was good man, I feel relaxed and I like being mellow so yeah, it's cool". Then he thanked Maureen, got up, stumbled past her and managed to bounce off both sides of the door frame as he made his way out.
Once he was gone, we rolled up our mats and had a bit of a laugh about how that was a first, and maybe we should all pitch in and get A/C for the studio so we don't have to keep the doors open, but all the way home I just kept thinking about this little dude. I wondered if he'd go off and tell his buddies about how he crashed the class, like it was some sort of conquest. Or, would the fact that Maureen didn't toss him out, that she let him stay and let him participate sort of stay with him? Would he try to come back sober? Was it enough of a positive experiece for him that he'd do it again? Now, I don't think that every person that happens to be pissass drunk in the afternoon on occasion is a lost soul wasting their life (hello, university??) but it was such a unique experience and it was handled with so much kindness and understanding, that I think it must have made an impact on our drunk yoga dude. At least I hope it did.