the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: yoga

My Mother’s Bad Yoga Instructor

Danny from “Jew Eat Yet” asked me a question, and since it was a lengthy one, I will paraphrase it for you, “What the hell are YOU, a full-blooded American male, going to a blogging conference for WOMEN?”

The answer is simple. I don’t think in terms of gender. We are all individuals with passions that are unrelated to our chromosomes. This does not mean there aren’t difference between the sexes. Anyone man who has ever spent a weekend with a weepy, irrational, hysterical, overemotional woman who needs more “hug time” knows exactly what I am talking about. Also, as a believer in the literal truth of the Bible, man is always first. We were on Earth first, so it is natural that we should be the dominant sex.

As ordained by religion and the natural order, women must follow two ironclad rules in their relationships with men —

1) Women must always have an orgasm, or at least fake it well enough for the man to feel he did a job well done, so he can go to sleep feeling like he is “the Man,” and brag to his friends at work the next day.

2) Women must ALWAYS take care of men when they get sick, and expect nothing in return. Men can build skyscrapers and blow up cities, but they are not trained to care for themselves when the dreaded cold-bug hits.

It has been a sad week in Queens. For the last two days, I – a man – have been home alone with a cold, and it should shame women worldwide. My previous two caretakers, Sophia and my mother, were both unavailable, enjoying the sun in Redondo Beach, CA and Boca Raton, FL.

“I’m sick, Sophia,” I said on the phone.

“Sorry, Neilochka. I got a Russian Dialect coaching job with “Heroes” and have to make it to the studio. Bye-Bye!”

I tried my mother.

“Mom, I’m sick.”

“Make yourself some soup.”

“What do you mean — “make” the soup?”

“I can’t talk now. I’m playing mah jongg, and then I have my yoga class, and then there is a show at the center with ABBA imitators! Take care of yourself. Bye!”

Clearly, these two should have their “women licences” revoked. But I will have the last laugh, because God is a MAN, and he works in mysterious ways.

Anyway, since I am trying to promote myself as an EXPERT storyteller, I figure I should tell you some sort of story, so I don’t undermine my own brand name.

Here is a story that my mother told me about her weekly yoga class that takes place at the clubhouse in her retirement village. Please note — this is my mother’s story, not mine, so don’t judge the quality of the tale by your usual high standards.

My mother’s yoga class meets in the clubhouse. There are about 25 women, from ages sixty to eighty. The instructor is a young yoga instructor in her twenties who has a regular gig at a studio. Although she has modified her sessions to be more appropriate for seniors, she doesn’t seem to be very comfortable with older people. In fact, she makes the common mistake of treating seniors like they are children in grade school.

Some of the women have cellphones, such as my mother, and the instructor makes everyone put their phones on a table in the front of the room, turned off, so the ringing doesn’t ruin the meditative mood of yoga. The instructor considers the atmosphere of the room so essential that she has told the class that if a student’s phone rings, “she will have to leave and not return to the class for the rest of the year.”

“That’s pretty harsh,” I told my mother.

“She’s very serious about her yoga,” answered my mother. “She knows a lot.”

I have no idea how my mother can judge this instructor as “knowing a lot” since my mother has no experience with yoga at all, but I didn’t say anything, and let my mother continue with her story.

Last week, while the class was doing some relaxing yoga position, and gentle music was playing, one of the phones on the table started to ring and vibrate. The tall, skinny yoga instructor jumped up, her bones shaking with anger.

“Who’s phone is that ringing?” she asked, pointing a long finger at a flip Nokia sitting on the table.

No one answered. The women in the class, sitting in the dimly-lighted room, looked side to side, waiting for the culprit to come forward, but no one volunteered. Was the owner of the ringing phone afraid of being booted from class? Were the others covering her ass? Would the seniors stand in solidarity, announcing that the phone belonged to “them all” and that they would not be intimidated by this jerk?

If this was a cartoon, steam would be rising from the yoga instructor’s head (which is not a very good sign about yoga’s effectiveness in making you a calmer person).

“Do none of you have the dignity to step forward and tell the truth? Surely ONE of you must know who OWNS that phone?”

The instructor flipped on all the lights to glare into each woman’s eyes, searching for the truth like Jack Bauer involved in an interrogation.

“If none of you have the moral fiber to come forward and be a real person – I am cancelling today’s class. All of you. Leave. Class is cancelled today!”

The women started to leave. An Orthodox Jewish woman, the oldest in the class, picked up the flip Nokia. Everyone turned to her. The instructor shoved her face within inches of the culprit.

“What is wrong with you? Why didn’t you admit that this was your phone ringing?”

“Huh? I can’t hear very well…” she answered.

Her phone started ringing again.

“My son just gave it to my this weekend. I don’t even know how to turn it off!”

My mother, who just figured out to turn off her own phone, showed the woman how to press the button to turn the phone off, and then the rest of the class left yoga for the day.

My First Attempt at Targeted Advertising


For the upcoming Poetry Thursday
demographic:  hot Yoga chicks

I’ve mastered my emotions
Through tantric practices
Through careful meditation
I’m a Ayurvedic wiz
I know my Bhakti Yoga
I’ve sat with Liz Elayne
I’ve read my Upanishads
While posing in the rain
To reach my inner chakras
is actually quite hard
That’s why I feel my oneness
With the Enlightenment Visa Card

You know how several times a year, you get offers for credit cards from every organization you’ve ever been connected with:  the AAA, your college alumni,  Do you have any doubt that if my penis would apply for a Mastercard, that he would be approved for one?

I just happened to find the idea of an Enlightenment Visa card amusing.   From their website:

Finally, a credit card for people like us

Some people say money is evil…

We say “how” money is used determines the effect.

The Enlightenment Card was founded on the idea that money is energy and if used with positive and integrative intention, can have the power to affect change in our lives and the world. Everyone uses a credit card, so why not have one where people can earn points towards positive products and services that enhances their overall “Conscious” life path? Some of the categories of rewards you can earn points toward are yoga classes, organic products, retreats + workshops, travel, books + DVD’s, personal care, spa treatments, and more…And, members can even redeem their points to make donations to charities such as Trees for the Future.

Is collecting 154,000 Reward Points for a Thai Yoga Massage at a fancy resort really that much better than American Airlines Frequent Flier Miles?

There are eight different cards you can choose from, including “Truth,” “Love,” and “Peace,” each with a different “spiritual” picture on it.

I LOVE the Enlightenment Card’s slogan:  “Changing your world with every point you earn.” 

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