Big News: I’m going to be in the Guinness book of world records, and I didn’t even have to do anything disgusting, friends. I’m going to be in it for doing the most continuous yoga postures with the most people (in the shape of a heart) in the world! If eight year old Emily could see me now, she would think I had made it.
I rode my bike over to Roppongi mid-town the first weekend they had free yoga in the park, and about 400 other people showed up too. It was great, and the first teacher had a nice low pitched voice, which, thank you Ganesha or whose the little elephant baby God?I appreciate a low pitched teacher voice because all week I’m around the high pitched lady teacher voice, and it’s rough.
So I was thinking there was nothing uniquely Japanese about this yoga, maybe there were more full faces of make up there, and more heels than I’ve ever seen show up at a yoga class, but it’s a pretty universal activity. The teacher led us in warm ups so we could get to know our four hundred neighbors. I’m not sure eight year old Emily would be impressed by my attempts at getting air while high fiving strangers, though.
Once we sat down I realized I hadn’t worn the right pants, when I leaned forward, you might have been able to see a bit of my bum crack. In a normal class when this happens you wonder, “I wonder if the approximately ten people behind me can see any of my bum crack.” But on the first day of the free yoga series I was right in the middle of the park so I wad to wonder, “I wonder if any of the approximately two hundred people behind me can see any of my bum crack.” That’s not so relaxing. Another thing that was not so relaxing, on the first day when the instructor wanted us to put our hands over our heads, he called out “Banzai,” so there I was with four hundred people putting my hands over my head to the teachers chant of “Banzai.” I’ve done Banzai before at the end of work gatherings with all you can drink alcohol and even then I only do them from only the elbow up. It’s my signature half assed, what do i know? Meh kind of Banzai. But on the first of free park yoga I did Banzai with my whole body and soul. Weird.
He also had us do partner massage with our neighbors. I went by myself, so I ended up in a threesome where when the yoga teacher called out cup cup cup, chop chop chop, don’t forget the but, don’t forget the but, I cup cup cupped, chop chop, chopped, didn’t forget the but, didn’t forget the but, didn’t forget the but. Because a teacher told me to, I rubbed a strangers but in the park and she was okay with it. Okay.
So all was cool and free and at the end of the class those who had never heard of the Guinness Book of World Records walked away, and the rest of us made a big human heart and did more yoga. We were short of the world record by a few people, so almost two hundred of us were sitting there in the shape of a heart while the announcer tried to gather more people. People were just walking by completely indifferent to our plight. A guy walked by and I asked him “yaritai?” which means want to do it, want to play, or want to fuck? And he goes “What?” And he just kept walking.
There was a family of three who had finished the yoga class and then ate a packed lunch and then wandered around the outside of the heart while the announcer was pleading for help to put us over the 200 person mark. I guessed they wanted to be asked individually, because eventually the announcer ran over to them and got them to come into the heart. All of us in the shape of the heart clapped.
So after the first day I kept arriving late, I would fly past the security guards on my new bike careful to look like the sky was suddenly interesting, park my bike illegally where the security guard would have to come over and ticket my bike while I did yoga. One day was a benefit for Tohoku, and it was a particularly large group with a lot of stragglers coming in whenever they wanted. Some people had just given up on figuring out what the teachers were teaching up front and were just napping in the back or giving each other back-rubs. I guess if you give a donation, you are suddenly under no obligation to follow the teacher. In a group of five hundred people, the latest 100 people are kind of special. Back of the class people are my people. When I arrived There was one woman in a strapless full body sweatsuit material jumpsuit, in downward dog and huge sunglasses, just yelling loudly but in a non urgent way after her toddler son who was enjoying the freedom his mom’s yoga practice was providing him. She would get into each posture and then call out to him over like one hundred people because it seemed like the thing to do, but both of them seemed kind of resigned to the fact that her calling out to him was never going to bring him back.
One day I showed up and I got down into shavasaana and I was meant to close my eyes, but I couldn’t help looking around. Four hundred people on the ground looks apocalyptic. And what was weirder is that there were a few toddlers just wondering around. One of them was in his little toddler under shirt tip toeing around the bodies and laughing so hard at something nonexistent that he had to throw his head back and rub his tummy. There was a huge sky scraper behind him and all the adults looked dead, and I was afraid this was the scene in which he was going to eat my flesh. Another toddler wandering around the bodies was half black and kind of frizzy haired and she had picked an i-phone off of one of the bodies and was taking photos and talking to herself in Japanese, I tried to relax, but the zombie toddlers made me keep one eye open in dead man’s pose.