I live along the Russian River in a mellow little hiccup of a town named Rio Nido. In the summer I get a nice workout three or four times a week biking to the nearby enclave of Guerneville and practicing Ashtanga Yoga at a tiny 10-person studio called River Bed Yoga.
Summers on the river are markedly different from the rest of the year not just because of the change of weather, but because vacation rentals in the area are second in the state only to Lake Tahoe.
For the most part I welcome the tourists; they liven up our quiet little communities and bring in much-needed commerce. In terms of yoga though, it can be a different story. Tourists, or "drop-ins" as they are called, reinforce why I choose to live serenely on the outskirts of Sonoma County.
Just yesterday I was trying with very little success to follow along with our teacher’s instructions. She wasn’t the problem. It was a female "drop-in" who had planted herself front and center and appeared to be leading the class.
She was undeniably beautiful. Her fluorescent orange top crossed seductively in the back drew much attention — this was not her fault, but did she really need to perform her version of yoga?
I know Ashtanga is about meeting one’s self where they are, and focusing on what’s happening on one’s own mat, but I’m a writer of many years, so observing is also what I do.
How could I not notice that if we were all in the inverted V of "downward facing dog," Miss Fluorescence was laying down so we couldn’t miss how bendy she was.
When she did make the effort to join the class and stand with the rest of us, the teacher would try and engage her by saying something like “that’s a nice variation,” but she couldn’t even be bothered to answer.
It wasn’t until after class that I found out what her problem was. She wasn’t mentally ill, well not exactly. She had something far worse going on: she was a yoga snob, and she was from L.A.
With a Perspective, I'm Shannon Willitts Falk.