Swami Yogananda is hard core. He bends us further and pushes us harder than any teacher I‘ve ever had. I also find myself rolling around in deep belly laughter for a good portion of every class. In fact, before taking Swami Yogananda’s class, I don’t know that I have ever laughed in yoga.
There is one woman in particular who I love. She is around sixty, and deeply glamorous. She is of indistinct European origin, and she dies her long hair platinum blonde. Outside of class, I see her eating on patios overlooking the valley, a long cigarette in her hand, wearing a black sleeveless shirt that dips low, exposing most of her back. She throws her neck back when she laughs, and I can see that she is a deadly flirt.
In class, however, she suffers. We all suffer, but her suffering is impossible to miss, because she audibly projects her pain about the room, screaming in torment, panting in desperation. She is generally the source of my uncontrollable laughter. The other day, Swami Yogananda approached her where she stood doing an upper body twist. She was already moaning in exquisite pain, but when he wrenched her around a further sixty degrees, she gasped as though her soul were escaping her body, and moaned, “Why me?!?! Oh Swami, what have I ever done to you?!” She was dead serious, and I was hysterical. The Swami approached me next, stepping on my feet and twisting me further than I thought my torso could possibly go. I gasped too, all air escaping my lungs. “How you are?” he asked in my ear. “Pain,” I managed to eek out. “Good!” he said, twisting me further. “More pain, more gain.”
This morning, the European woman had me in hysterics again. She was doing her usual moaning routine, gasping as she dropped her legs to one side, taking loud, shuddery breaths as we held our feet. Had her voice been coming from behind closed doors, I would honestly think she was being pleasured by the world’s most renowned lover. Her agony is that exquisite.
Then the Swami approached. “Oh, oh, oh,” she gasped, merely watching him walk toward her. Pavlov’s Law was in perfect, working order. He hadn’t even touched her and she was gasping in pain. He leaned down and gave her a push. “Oh god,” she groaned. “Oh, Swammmmmi….!” He laughed, his normally serious face cracking as she cried out. “You like?” he asked, pressing one of her shoulders flat to the ground, twisting her hip in the other direction. “Ohhhhh!!!! My!!!! Godddddddd!!!!” she cried out. “Oh, oh, oh! Oh, Swami. Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh, Swammmmmmmi!!!!”
Me and the girl beside me were laughing so hard, I had tears spilling down my cheeks. The European woman seemed absolutely oblivious to our presence. All that existed in the world was her, the Swami, and her gorgeous anguish. Her face was twisted in pain, but she sounded like she was on the brink of an earth-shattering orgasm. “Oh, oh, oh! Ahhhh…. Oh, Swami…. OHHHHHHH!!!!!”
When class was over, we walked up to the coat rack together. “So, are you doing the whole month?” I asked her, curious. “Oh darling, I’ve already done it,” she drawled. She cast an appraising eye over my body. “It’s just that I’m much older than you, so it takes more work…” She flicked her blonde hair over her shoulder and gathered her things. “I’ll be here for awhile,” she continued, throwing a glamorous bag over her shoulder. She was much smaller than I would have suspected, standing a full foot beneath me. But the aura she emanated was powerful. I was almost shy about speaking to her.
“Well,” I said, giggling in spite of myself. “You are my favorite part of class!” She beamed a smile on me, and I think we became friends ;)