I’d been wrestling a head cold that’s gone around my office and as a result my body has been a bit curled up and tight with coughing. I’d even missed a couple of days of work and I intuitively knew I needed to just stretch it all out; to open my body up. In fact, I knew needed to pay good money and hit a few yoga classes. So on Wednesday night I went to a Yoga for Detox class. It seemed like a good choice at the tail end of my illness. I knew from the class name that it’d be a series of very practical twists and squeezes to my organs and lymphatic system. Absolutely what I needed!
The set and setting was lovely: a dark room with wood floors and candles all around. Soft music was playing. It was very intimate – a small group of strangers gathered to share a lovely practice together. There were only four of us in the room: a girl to my right and another guy to her right, all three of us up on the front row by our instructor for the evening.
And our teacher was cool. A very open-hearted gay guy, which is a real nice change from my usual regimen with Audah. I’m her devotee first and foremost of course, and to branch out from her is a bit unusual for me. (I tend to be yoga-teacher-loyal to a fault.) Anyway, he was a really good instructor who in the end had two of the most important traits I look for: actual time to meditate in class and safe, articulated transitions between poses.
About a third of the way through the class we landed in a standing pose with our hands pressed together at our hearts. Our teacher said “we’re going to pause here and do an OM together.” Strange placement, I thought, but okay. The four of us inhaled and out came our OMs...
Look, my throat chakra is pretty wide open folks, and I can’t actually help how clear and loud my OMs come out. Let’s just say that this time it was a little “off-key” and perhaps a bit scratchy due to a stuffy head. When the OM was over I thought well, that was a little awkward and for reasons I will never know, I took in another deep breath...
And I OMed again! It was a little more “in tune” this time but equally loud and almost piercing in its intensity. Any throat debris had cleared with that first OM and as a result this one was very stable. About mid-way through my OM Solo I realized I was the only one OMing.
And I mean, what do you? Do you stop mid-OM? Do you start laughing? I peeked open my right eye – the girl next to me was trying not to lose her shit. My teacher’s energy field felt a little stunned. I couldn’t get a read on the other guy who was too far away, but I’ll make the assumption he was thinking something like “uhhh, what are we doing here?” I didn’t know what else to do, so I powered through to the end of the OM very strong, the vibrations hanging slightly in the air after I was finally done.
We shared a long Awkward Pause.
Finally, I broke our silence and said “Oh my god, I’m so sorry you guys, I totally thought we were doing three OMs for some reason. I have no idea why I did that.” We all laughed and the teacher said something like “no worries girl, you be you ok!”
I spent the rest of the class trying not to lose it. The residual memory of the situation kept cracking me up! My yogic practice actually began to take shape at this point. As we moved through the rest of our detoxing asanas, I was feeling the laughter reaction rise, watching it tickle my torso and heart. I’d simply breathe deeply through it. Another laughter tickle… and more deep breaths. The energy of it was extremely healing to my body. Even in the moment, I hoped that the other three people in the room experienced their own healings specific to them and prayed that my OM Solo didn’t derail them too much.
But wait there’s more because somehow I did it again! We came to the end of our class and our teacher said “we’re going to do an OM Shanti Shanti Shanti to close class.”
Oh dear, there’s a few ways to do that, I thought.
The four of us took a deep breath and out of my throat came another giant OM – and again for reasons I may never know – that OM also came out long and lean and lasting several seconds. At its conclusion, we all kinda Shanti’d a bit at the end for a bit of a mantric train wreck. ‘Stunned’ is the only word that comes to mind to describe the yoga class faux paux.
Hands at our hearts, we bowed and concluded class. Still not feeling totally great, I knew I needed to eat something for my energy and post-head cold stamina and the restaurant I wanted to swing by was closing very soon. I hightailed it out of there and laughed and laughed at myself all the way to dinner, finally expressing the laughter I’d been tickled by all evening.
There’s something about these things that can be so egoically embarrassing that the situation actually ceases to be embarrassing. Maybe we leave our body for a second because we can’t register anymore how embarrassing it really is. Maybe it’s pure acceptance of ourselves. Maybe it’s somewhere in the middle, who knows.
No shame in my OM Solo though! I’m glad this experience happened. I’ve had the best time over the last couple of days telling a few of my closest mindfulness / yoga / spiritual friends the tale – in each case sharing nose-snorting laughter, complete with actual tears, between us. That’s always a good, healing thing. Namaste, etc.
May it be so.
Periodic updates from Aurah in the Field.