Nav in Dante’s Yogateria

6 Jan
Actual unretouched photo of Yogi Nav. Credit: Deepak,

Actual unretouched photo of Yogi Nav.
Credit: Deepak,

Someone who shall remain nameless, and hence shall henceforth be named The Nameless One, convinced me to go with her to hot yoga. “In the middle of winter?” I guess, why not? Although I was a little confused upon learning that it was hot yoga.

When I was a kid, it only came in plain and vanilla.

Off we go in what was only a minor snowstorm. After a lovely drive, we arrived at what I thought was the yogateria. Little did I know. For some strange reason, I was bid to enter the men’s change room and don my black non-speedo swim trunks and a black tee shirt.

Black is slimming. This proved to be a good thing.

I was led to a room. It was no ordinary room. It was a sultry room, a dim room save for a few candles along a distant back wall, candles whose faint, flickering light cast haunting shadows across the bodies laying on the floor, so still in their repose that they seemed to await a quiet judgement that spoke of a pending agony, a deep agony, a complete agony.


And then a man entered. Not a large man, as the largeness of men is reckoned, nor a small man, as the smallness of men is reckoned, but a man in between a large man and a small man. He spoke. He spoke in a serene voice, a voice not lacking in confidence, a voice devoid of hubris or any other human failing, a voice that seduced me into yearning for the torture that was about to be inflicted upon my unsuspecting body, a body made not small by weeks of Christmas revelry and a lifetime of practice before, a body never intended by God or nature to bend at the joints, let alone anywhere else.

But it did. Oh, how it did.

As my eyes adjusted to the sultry gloom, a gloom better suited for a grim and swarthy tropical dockyard after sunset than a New Age nordic yoga torture chamber, I could make out the penitent bodies that surrounded me on the floor, bodies contorted in a macabre synchronized ballet of unnatural pose and pain so perversely profound that they formed, in unison, a dark angelic choir exalting in unholy silent scream.

I was surrounded by these dark spandex-clad and disturbingly lithe twenty year old Luly Lemon Amazon warrior princesses of unnatural flexibility. And as we contorted ourselves in a slow and silent tribute to self-flagellation, the air filled with a thousand musks in that dark and sultry room, a room closer to Hell than to Heaven, my very sinews crying in the agony of a thousand endless deaths, I came face to face with a realization that had only ever hovered at the recesses of my awareness, a realization that could only prove to be my complete and utter undoing.

Downward dog leading to the evil cobra reveals if the body in front of you is wearing a thong. Luckily for me, I wasn’t.

Then came other insights, in rapid succession, each one striking my mind as an innocent child striking its first match, awareness erupting from the dark into a brief consuming flame. There was a wall of mirrors in the front of the dark, sultry room, an unfeeling mockery of the torturous scene displayed before it, mirrors laughing silently at the writhing of the musky, sweat-drenched damned, mirrors that could betray the innocent eyes of one who, upon completing downward dog and then the evil cobra, that cold and heartless serpent whose venom coursed along my spine, through no volition of his own, beheld the wholly unsolicited yet inescapable display of the thong so cruelly thrust upon him.

It was a good thing that the dungeon of the distorted damned into which I had been deposited was dark, lest the mirrors betray the wanderings of my innocent eyes which were innocent no longer.

Then the man, who was neither a large man nor a small man, released us from our torment with but a single word, a simple word, a spiritual word. Namaste. There may be many responses to Namaste, or there may only be one. Whatever the response or responses to this word of subtle and sublime meaning may be, there is a response that is not that response or of those responses.

One is not to reply with “butter chicken,” however good an idea it may have seemed at the time.

Despite this and everything else, I survived Dante’s yogateria. I lived to tell the tale. I am older. I am wiser. And almost certainly more flexible.

compass rose

66 Responses to “Nav in Dante’s Yogateria”

  1. KG January 6, 2014 at 11:20 pm #

    OMG!!!! ROFLOL…. Nav…I couldn’t stop laughing right from the start and trust me I tried, really tried very hard not to laugh at your experience of Yogic hell. Too good and too naughty too.
    Yoga is very good. I do a little of it at home whenever I feel like it but for now I am prohibited due to the back pain for some time. I wish that my mind is smart enough to erase the images you painted with this post when I start next or else I will never end up doing it seriously.

    • navigator1965 January 6, 2014 at 11:37 pm #

      The Nameless One laughed despite herself at the butter chicken ending. Yes, yoga is good. I was soaked from the sweat of hot yoga, and will likely try again tomorrow evening. It’s good for me.

      Glad you liked it. It was fun to write.

  2. Jenna Rambles January 6, 2014 at 11:23 pm #

    So you had fun I see ;). Good read, felt as I I was there! You should of elaborated more on the smell of the place though. Yoga is not the nicest in scent

    • navigator1965 January 6, 2014 at 11:39 pm #

      That’s because you didn’t do your nose stretches before starting.

      Namaste. Butter chicken.

  3. Dalo 2013 January 6, 2014 at 11:50 pm #

    Wonderful writing, felt the pain but was to busy laughing my way through this post… Namaste, and I may do a little yoga tonight myself. Cheers!

    • navigator1965 January 7, 2014 at 5:36 am #

      Thank you, Dalo. Glad you had a laugh. I certainly had a few laughs while writing it. Who knows? I may become a convert. Namaste.

  4. suzjones January 7, 2014 at 12:28 am #

    Be still Evil Cobra and consume your butter chicken!!

    • navigator1965 January 7, 2014 at 5:37 am #

      I was pretty still afterwards! Thanks, Sue.

      • suzjones January 7, 2014 at 5:50 am #

        Muscles no longer working?

        • navigator1965 January 7, 2014 at 6:15 am #

          Listen to your body. Mine said, “Bugger off.”

    • LC Aggie Sith January 7, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

      Oh my word, Sue! I snorted hard enough to scare the dogs πŸ˜€

      • navigator1965 January 7, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

        Strangely enough, I am re-evaluating my interpretation of Sue’s comment in light of m’Lady Sith’s reaction.

        • LC Aggie Sith January 7, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

          If I can make one person rethink anything, I win πŸ˜‰

        • navigator1965 January 7, 2014 at 6:53 pm #


      • suzjones January 8, 2014 at 5:02 am #


  5. Good job seeing it through, Sir. Best of luck for the next go around. Maybe a mint under the tongue to help with the smells. πŸ™‚
    Happy Tuesday,

    • navigator1965 January 7, 2014 at 5:39 am #

      Audrey, Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. A mint it is! Cheers.

  6. Arunima Shekhar January 7, 2014 at 1:29 am #

    lolzzzz….as someone who cannot live without yoga, will try my best not to think of this post this evening, might have trouble concentrating!!! :)))

    • navigator1965 January 7, 2014 at 5:42 am #

      Arunima, Thanks for your kind words. Hopefully your ability to perform yoga hasn’t been permanently impaired by laughter! Cheers.

  7. Susan Lattwein January 7, 2014 at 3:39 am #

    Reblogged this on Putting in a good word….. and commented:
    This is too vivid, too smelly, too descriptive not to share as widely as possible. Again, I laugh….

    • navigator1965 January 7, 2014 at 5:44 am #

      Thanks for the re blog, Susan. Does that mean I’m all over down under?

  8. Susan Lattwein January 7, 2014 at 3:42 am #

    I couldn’t resist the urge to reblog this.
    A girlfriend and I were almost kicked out of a yoga class once for giggling too much. Too many bodily functions, too few distractions….
    Great post, you’re on fire, ha ha. πŸ™‚

    • navigator1965 January 7, 2014 at 5:48 am #

      I can just imagine the two of you. Thankfully I had no involuntary non-oral gaseous exhalations to deal with. Add a few of those to the cobra thong and I would have been a goner.

      I suppose you could say that I would have been Gone With The Wind.

      Thanks for the kind words. Cheers.

  9. idiotwriter January 7, 2014 at 5:45 am #

    I feel the need to quote here: ‘Priceless – JUST priceless! Bravo! Bravo!!’

    I want you and yours around for tea – gosh darn it I love your sense of humour πŸ˜€

    Normally when reading humour I laugh quietly to myself – you know – a little humpff hfff hfff – I tried this today…so glad I did not have any tea left in my cup. πŸ˜€

    • navigator1965 January 7, 2014 at 6:16 am #

      Thanks, Belinda. We’ve both had some good ones of late.

      Glad there was no tea incident.

  10. Susan Lattwein January 7, 2014 at 5:55 am #

    Alas, you’re not ‘all over down under’ yet. But I’m working on it. πŸ™‚
    Waiting for you to try the neti pot next week.

    • navigator1965 January 7, 2014 at 6:17 am #

      I don’t want to know.

      • Susan Lattwein January 7, 2014 at 6:33 am #

        I was too scared the water wouldn’t drain out of the other nostril, that it would slosh around in my brain. Good luck.

    • suzjones January 7, 2014 at 6:39 am #

      Oh Susan, that visual has just done my head in πŸ˜‰

  11. themathmaster January 7, 2014 at 8:42 am #

    We have a Bikram Hot Yoga studio near my house. I was considering it. Now I’m afraid to go in.

    • navigator1965 January 7, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

      I actually had fun, although it is demanding. It’s worth giving it a try – just make certain to get into a beginner’s class!

  12. lensgirl53 January 7, 2014 at 8:58 am #

    I am laughing tears. The photo of your yoga buddy needs to forget the contortions and work on the abs. Must be all that vanilla yoga…. btw, I like peach “yoga” the best. Still laughing…..thank you.

    • navigator1965 January 7, 2014 at 4:39 pm #


      So glad that it brought a smile to your face. Nice that you got the vanilla “yoga” bit. I’m still looking for a Yoga Abmaster 2000 on ebay, but can’t seem to find one.


  13. babyjill7...Marilyn Griffin January 7, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    I was there…among all that contortion…sweating…feeling the pain …and accomplishment…

    • navigator1965 January 7, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

      Hello, and thanks for your kind comment. It was actually a bit fun, although fairly challenging for my tight and tired 48 year old frame. I sweated an incredible amount – they don’t call it hot yoga for nothing, obviously.

  14. LC Aggie Sith January 7, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

    I am there in spirit, and laughter. Lots and lots of laughter πŸ˜‰

    • navigator1965 January 7, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

      Thanks, LC.

      Just say “yes” to spandex. Maybe one day I’ll learn to type “Lulu” properly.

      • LC Aggie Sith January 7, 2014 at 6:14 pm #

        Spandex? Oh no….never. I think that was made to bring Purgatory to Earth.

  15. Mich-in-French January 8, 2014 at 8:52 am #

    Oh dearest Nav – I know how you felt – I myself have had the downward dog – rising cobra experience and it is something else – I was however in a very brightly lit gym so there was no hiding what went down!
    Absolutely brilliant story – that I will remember fondly today when I need a reason to giggle!

    • navigator1965 January 8, 2014 at 5:22 pm #


      Thanks so much. It’s always nice to be able to a smile on someone’s face.

      I get to do hot yoga “flow” tonight. I must have been a very naughty boy in a former life. }:-(>

      • Mich-in-French January 11, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

        My commiserations as you downward dog and pray you don’t pull anything you may need the next day hehe

  16. LindaGHill January 8, 2014 at 9:15 am #

    Hahahahaha! This is precious! Beautifully tongue-in-cheek writing, and no, I’m not talking about the thong. hahahahaha

    I really should have bought you spandex for Christmas!

    • navigator1965 January 8, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

      Lucky for me you didn’t!

      • LindaGHill January 8, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

        True, you might have broken out into song in the middle of class. Wait… Triumph didn’t sing the one I’m thinking of…
        The Thong Remains the Same

        Couldn’t resist.

  17. PsiFiGal January 9, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    OMG Butter chicken!!! You made me laugh, trying to do it quietly because my sis is sleeping… Seriously though, didn’t they tell you, that if it hurts it’s not yoga? If it hurts, stop. I was told that years ago and it stuck with me even though I don’t go to yoga anymore. Namaste πŸ™‚

  18. Aussa Lorens January 9, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

    Haha! Will you be going back? And just how hot is it? I love laying in the sauna– especially in the winter– but the emphasis here should be on the word “laying.” As in, no motion or effort exerted, whatsoever.

    • navigator1965 January 9, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

      Dear Madam Aussa,

      For the response, you must await this weekend’s “Yogateria Chronicles” post. Your questions will be answered.

  19. Kim Saeed January 9, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

    Navigator, I haven’t had a good belly laugh like this in AGES! I had no idea you could write such humor. I wouldn’t be surprised if this goes viral…it’s definitely worthy.


    Or should I say, “Butter chicken”…LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • navigator1965 January 9, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

      Thanks, Kim. I’m so glad that you had a good laugh. It is the best medicine, after all.

      It was actually intended to be a serious warm up for my Man Booker winning novel, so it appears as if I have some adjustments to make.

      Butter chicken.


  20. Kim Saeed January 9, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    I just shared on three of my social sites…can’t pass up this chance to share laughter! Going back to read this a second time πŸ™‚


  1. The Yogateria Chronicles: A Sinister Danger | The Mirror - January 9, 2014

    […] My first exposure to yoga, which nearly cost me my life, left me older, wiser, lighter by at least 50 lbs, and more flexible. Rumour has it that in Ottawa the next day, lithe 20-something’ish female business professionals were all discussing the great yoga scandal of 2014, being both scandalized AND mortified at the great transgression that had transpired. “OMG, he didn’t! He said ‘Butter chicken’ in response to namaste? That’s very bad. That’s terrible. He could be banned.” […]

  2. The Yogateria Chronicles: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo | The Mirror - February 1, 2014

    […] Β Nav in Dante’s Yogateria […]

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