Observations from the Mat #5: Practicing with a hot yoga teacher

I’ve been practicing yoga for over five years. At that time I started, I am
happy to report I was not one of those guys who “checked out” women
while practicing yoga. I was too busy trying to nail my asanas (yoga poses) to
think about nailing the pretty lady in front of me. Anyway, at my old age, just
the thought now makes me cringe; the attractive fellow students with the
leggings are young enough to be my daughter. Unfortunately, there’s a first for
everything.

I was starting a new class with a teacher of whom I have never worked. When
she walked into the studio, the first thing I noticed besides the standard
leggings many women wear in yoga classes was her top. She wore something
similar to a camisole rather than the conventional crop top or other types of
exercise shirt that revealed more of her dark skin the most tops. I’m guessing
there was a camisole under the thing that looked like a camisole since there
were two sets of spaghetti straps on her shoulders. One would expect a thicker
bra strap, but it wasn’t. Jesus! Stop looking at the teacher’s brown shoulders,
Jack! Okay, I don’t know what to call the outer camisole thingy. I felt creepy
skulking around Forever 21, Spanx, and Saks of Fifth Avenue websites getting
the proper names for “leggings” and “crop top” but never see the kind of top this 40ish-year-old woman was wearing. Just know that it looked like a camisole, okay, and it was delicate–not the kind of stuff you usually see women in during practice.

So, she’s got this exotic name to go with the dark bare shoulders. Another
thing, she walks in with her hair down–way down. Black, curly hair that she
wears in front of her. She smiles a toothy, but a cute smile that betrays the
name, the top, and now hair. She walks over to one of the mirrored walls and
puts her hair up. I could use this time to meditate like Patrick across from
me. Frickin’ perfect Patrick with his perfect young body and his superior
asanas. Must he roll out his mat across the room from mine and remind me how he can stick a pose better than me? Why does that bother me now–that kind of
comparison crap hasn’t bugged me for years?

She turns to the few people in the class and introduces herself. Soledad.
Damn, even the name is sexy or at least exotic. We all say, hi. She asks me if
I attend other yoga classes here. I say two, with Heather. I then babble on
about why the few early birds have our mats in this current configuration–an
idea Heather started. She gives me that cute if incongruous smile and says
something like she might be changing this up later. I feel like an ass. She
didn’t ask about how the mats were set up, so why did I offer up this worthless
piece of information. I look down and notice her feet. Can feet be sexy, or am
I now attributing everything (sans the smile) to her general sexiness? I Check
her left finger. Not married. (Be advised, I do this to everyone: women and
men/attractive and not so attractive. It’s a weird tic, and no, I’m not bi.)

She rolls out her mat in the center of the room close to mine. From a standing
position, she crosses her feet, then bends her legs until her rear quietly
lands on her mat in Easy Pose without the use of her hands–they have been in
Namaste the whole time. (Challenge and explanation to any readers who didn’t
get that last sentence: While standing, cross your feet. Now sit on the ground
while keeping the palms of your hands together as if you were praying,
“Please God, preserve my tailbone!) I didn’t notice this graceful move
until she was on the mat. I was too busy looking at her hair and shoulders.
Damn it, Jack! You’re not here to check out females. She then starts to talk to
us about what she hopes we will get out of this class. It seems like she is
looking at me a lot as she tries to make eye contact with everyone. I doubt she
spends a second longer looking at me and my lazy eye more than anyone else,
including Perfect Patrick, it’s just that she has these big, beautiful, dark eyes.

When she’s looking and someone besides me, I can help but fixate on her top.
I don’t mean her bust, I mean the thing she’s wearing. I examine the delicate
straps until she swings her face towards mine again. Then I look away,
embarrassed. This is horrible! I never do this shit in yoga. My other two
teachers–Heather and Brenda–are both attractive, but besides that
observation, I am all business with them–none of this stealing glances shit. I
have quickly become one of the guys women talk about in funny YouTube
videos–the guys who attend classes only to check out attractive women and
their tight yoga clothes. I swear that is not me, at least not until now.

There was that one yoga teacher I practiced under for a short time. I forgot her name. She was also beautiful in an exotic way, but I didn’t get all worked up over her looks. It was a good class. She taught Yin yoga (a type of yoga where postures are held for a more extended time than most yoga practices). Even during Savasana, when she would walk around during this cool-down period and administered shoulder massages and finish us off with aromatherapy–a delicate rub of eucalyptus oil between the eyes–the Ajna chakra, I couldn’t say I was aroused only emotionally stimulated. Soledad is a different story, and it’s distracting and embarrassing.

I like to come to my yoga classes early. I have a spot, and I want to claim
it. I roll out my mat, set up my blocks, and place a blanket at the back of the
carpet where I sit and attempt to meditate until the teacher arrives. I am not
as early for Soledad’s class as I am for Heather’s due to church on Sundays,
but on one day, we skipped service, and I got to the club about as early as I
do on the other days. When I got to the studio, I noticed the double doors were
closed, and music was coming from the studio; it sounded like–Astor
Piazzolla
? When I opened the door a crack, Soledad was dancing an Argentine
tango with a man. She was wearing the same top she practices in during our yoga classes, but she was also wearing a flowing skirt.

Before I could think up some romantic engagement between the two, Soledad
stopped the music coming from her phone, gently criticized the man–who seemed about ten years her minor, then re-started the tango. I tried my
hand at tango
, but I wasn’t very good at it, and I knew it. Suddenly, a
woman came into my narrow view. She gently cuts in, leaving the man out. At
this point, Soledad and woman embraced in a salon-style dance pose, and after
Soledad restarts the music, the new couple begins to dance. At the time, I
realized my yoga teacher was instructing a couple in Argentine tango. Just
then, as I’m starting to feel like a peeping Tom, I heard someone say from
behind me, “Excuse me.” I backed up, embarrassed, and a fellow yoga
student walked through the door. Soledad smiled at the woman who walked into
the studio and rolled out her mat. Soledad then saw me, smiled, and said
welcome. She then told the couple whom she was dancing with that she was about to teach a yoga class and that they would talk soon.

Before the yoga class started, Soledad removed her skirt (or is that thing called a wrap? I’m not looking that up!) revealing her leggings and explained to the class that she was teaching a couple how to tango for their wedding reception. The next Sunday, my exotic yoga teacher wore regular yoga clothes. Presumably, the young couple completed their lessons. My teacher’s clothes were more typical. Unfortunately, my web search results are anything, but. Thanks, Google Search Engine Marketing! Now every time I perform a Google search, I get ads for camisoles on the sidebar!

Maybe it was the change of clothing, or I just got used to the new teacher and her natural sexiness. She still comes to class with all that beautiful black curly hair draped over her chest, but after she puts it up in a Marge Simpson bun, it is no longer obtrusive. Still, I felt pretty creepy over my thoughts when I was recently reminded of Bikram Choudhury. Choudhury is the infamous hot yoga guru who, in 2013, was hit with several lawsuits alleging sexual harassment, sexual assault. Some of these allegations are explained–at times–painfully in the Netflix documentary “Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator.” See the trailer below.

For those who don’t have Netflix, but do have HBO there was an article from the previously aired sports show “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.” Check out Choudhury doing his best Donald Trump impression!

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