Thoughts On Yoga

Keri and I have practiced yoga for the last 17 years. It started simply with Access TV and Gerda Krebs at the Muttart Conservatory. We still fantasize about doing yoga there and possibly napping immediately afterward in a sunbeam if possible.

At this point in time, I was not working and was living with Keri in her parents’ basement. I was fixing my health in a number of ways and we gravitated to Access TV yoga. We also have used other instructor’s practices over time. Wai Lana was another Access TV yoga teacher from the beginning. She liked serene rocks at the seaside as a motif going with a more intense practice coming from a younger perspective than Gerda, proud to be 60-plus. I can recall doing multiple practices in a single day because I had the time to do that. Breathing is a vital observance in yoga. In beginning the practices, I felt the places in my body needing an oxygen feeding. It’s a thing you can feel that is refreshing, like a cool drink on a warm day. You don’t need to get any special clothes or schedule a class with a pack of other people. We started out taping Gerda and Wai Lana on VHS and in time going to Rodney Yee and Robert Peng on DVD.

Keri came across an online argument, where she put in a sentence on behalf of doing yoga practices and ended up with someone crying “cultural appropriation.” Well, “cultural appropriation” is nearly the end of the rotating axis of things turning the very wheel of history. Bagpipes come from Africa – Scotsmen loved the droning sound. The Chinese showed Marco Polo how to turn flour into pasta. Sam Phillips wanted a white singer who could sound like a Black one. His receptionist found Elvis Presley. Nineteenth century yoga master Lehiri Mahasaya foretold that, “The message of yoga will encircle the globe. It will aid in establishing the brotherhood of man.” These are the words of a man not feeling threatened by “cultural appropriation.” Yoga is a subject to which I am certain Keri and I have both referred previously in some sense. A co-worker of Keri’s once proposed a Keri cult. The only tenets Keri would endorse were to practice yoga and eat your vegetables. This fully makes me a member along with actually being married to her.

The last thing for me to say on yoga is that it cured my back pain. Coming from a childhood on the farm, back pain is a recurring side-effect. The practice of getting your body aligned is quite simple and it might be culturally appropriate for some to take pills, drink alcohol, and watch Fox TV to ease the wear and tear of working. However, breathing, stretching, centering your sacrum, and finding peace for your day is simply good for humans of any culture.

Reinhardt lives in Boyle Street with his wife, Keri Breckenridge.

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