Have you ever practiced yoga with barnyard animals?
Well, I’ve recently had the experience of sharing asanas with pigs.
More specifically, a couple of micro pigs named Barbie and Elvis.
It all happened quite accidentally when my yoga teacher decided to cancel her Sunday morning class. This class was one of the highlights of my week, after which I’d stroll down the walkway to a favorite cafe and have brunch while basking in the sunlight on the outdoor patio.
Oh, it was so charming and delicious. I had plenty of time and inspiration to eat, read, write, daydream. Once finished, I’d meander onward to do a few errands and then calmly drive home.
A perfectly blissful way to spend a Sunday until my teacher stole the bliss. And left me frantically searching for a replacement.
So when I heard that a local landmark restaurant was offering Sunday morning outdoor yoga classes, I leapt at the opportunity.
On Sunday, I drove through an arched canopy of ancient cottonwood trees, parked, and walked the rest of the way to a patio with a cobblestone surface and an air temperature of 48 degrees. Surrounded by dense vegetation, I was enchanted, if rather disappointed, by the rustic conditions. A large gathering of folks sat lotus, watching me vaguely hesitate.
How could I walk away? I’ve practiced yoga for 40 years. My pride (yes, big contradiction here!) wouldn’t let me surrender to defeat.
So I paid $5.00 and unfurled my pristine Manduka mat on the rugged surface. I took off my fleece-lined boots and pretzeled into a full lotus – barefoot.
It didn’t take long before a perky young woman arrived and settled in about a foot away from me. I was curious for a moment, but then she began to speak through a headset, and I realized she was the teacher. Now I had no where to hide and no way to voice my suffering.
She announced that the outdoor heaters were not working, so we’d have to tough it out. Then she commanded downward dog.
While triangularly facing my mat, I felt fur tickling my right ankle. Hmmmm. I didn’t have time to investigate, as the vinyasa was in full flow.
I did discover the source, though, as I chaturanga-ed down from plank onto my mat. It was a slow descent. I saw it coming, but not in time to hop up into tree pose.
Standing on my mat was a miniature pig, on whose back I was about to land – and – in whose muddy cloven-hoof prints I was about to eat clods of chocolate soil.
Not appetizing, but I muscled my way through it like any good yoga soldier would.
When I touched ground, the teacher introduced me to Barbie, and then to Elvis, and said they regularly join the class. Being the new kid, I guess I was chosen to be pranked this particular week.
An hour later, I resembled a mud wrestler, but – by golly – I made it through the entire class.
And just when I thought I could relax and lie down in mud-clodded corpse pose, I glanced forward. There is teacher doing handstand pushups, while sipping from a Margarita glass each time she reached ground level.
What do pigs and Margaritas have to do with serious yoga practice?
I’ve wrestled with the connection.
Perhaps the adorability factor of micro pigs? But, yoga doesn’t ask to be adorable. It’s self-contained and fully satisfied within itself.
Alcohol and handstands? Is a libatious reward really necessary on the mat? I thought the reward was invisible and quietly personal. And, non-alcoholic.
No judgment. Just confusion.
To assuage this confusion, I drove home, sat down at the kitchen counter, and took a luxurious bite of my most recently baked creation: a salted caramel-stuffed chocolate cupcake with coffee liqueur-drenched mocha icing.
The same color as the mud I’d eaten, but, SO much sweeter and soulfully satisfying!!
There may be some satirical, Orwellian connection between pigs and yoga, but I’m not eating any more of it.
I’ll bake my own.
And share the recipe if requested.