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Sep 26, 2022

“High Yoga” Is Generating A Genuine Buzz

In the wings: Plastered Pilates

By Ed Goldman

Contrary to assumptions, “High Yoga” is not how you greet a legendary baseball catcher in Yankee Stadium or a smarter-than-average bear in Jellystone Park. 

In each case, that would be “Hi, Yogi“—but because that famous catcher is no longer with us, and that smart bear is a ‘toon, it’s unlikely you’ll be greeting either of them. Unless you do so while stoned. And therein lies today’s column fodder. 

Edgy Cartoon

Of all the Nirvana!

If you’re a fan of passive exercise and weed, perhaps you’ve considered enrolling in a High Yoga class. I’d call it a new trend but I think “new” might be an unnecessary adjective when defining a “trend.” 

On the other hand, maybe it’s not just a trend. I have a feeling the practice of toking up before or while we do the downward-facing-dog pose is going to be with us for a long time. Either that or, thanks to the magical properties of cannabis, what will merely seem a long time.

People are sometimes taken aback when I report I was never all that into marijuana—though they register zero surprise that I was never all that into yoga. So for me, anything new in the world of pot or yoga would be a little like reading in National Geographic about the customs of villagers 15,000 miles away. Except I also don’t read National Geographic.

I have nothing against the discipline (I’m talking yoga now, not pot or reading National Geographic). I simply don’t like doing anything in groups: exercising, attending class reunions, storming the Capitol to overthrow the U.S. government or sitting through time-share presentations (even when something called a “continental breakfast” is included, which reveals that the hosts have never toured any continent).

Being a bit hermitlike only bothers me when I realize if I ever do anything socially irresponsible—like set off fireworks at a funeral or use the word “irregardless” in a speech to retired English teachers—neighbors will tell the news media afterward, “Well, he always was kind of a loner.” On the extended newscast, someone will probably add, “Me and Delores was always asking him to have supper with us but he’d turn us down in kind of a funny way—like saying that as soon as I personally lifted my condo from its foundation and carried it across the street, he’d be over for supper and even bring a few bottles of Miller High Life. I thought he was being funny on account of his knowing I’d taken a disability retirement from Walmart because of a hiatal hernia. I guess he can’t help it, since he says he’s a quote, humorist.”)

Anyway, in the hope of being open to new experiences, or at least of being seen as someone who is, I decided to check the website Everyday Health to see what some “starter” yoga poses are and how they might be enhanced with the introduction of some reefer gladness. Here are six:

  1. The “Easy Pose,” Sukhasana, is to relieve stress. If you were simultaneously smoking pot, this would seem to be an exercise in redundancy. I’d get so relaxed I’d have to starch my sweatpants to stand up.
  2. The “cat-cow pose is “to awaken the spine and ease back pain.” The latter sounds possible but the former somewhat counter-intuitive: Who wants to awaken anything when high, except a new appreciation for Jethro Tull?
  1. The tree pose “Vrksasana” is meant to “improve your balance.” When I first read this I thought it referred to my financial illiteracy issues and gladly would have asked for it by name; but I couldn’t pronounce “vrksasana,” which stressed me out, so I toked up.
  2. “Downward-Facing Dog,” which is also called “Adho Mukha Svanasana” by show-offs,  is designed to “enhance flexibility.” In my experience as a dog owner, when it’s facing downward and there’s another dog in the vicinity, it’s either to offer a “play bow” (i.e., “Let’s frolic!”) or a romantic invitation (i.e., “Let’s frolic!”). No matter the dog or person’s motive, I do agree it demonstrates flexibility, either physical or moral.  
  3. The “child’s pose,” is called “balasana,” which I think is an Eastern translation of what most children say when they’re posing: “I wanna.” Supposedly conjured up “to help you relax and unwind,” I imagine it consists of giving the kid what he or she wants then lighting up to congratulate yourself on how you handled it.
  4. “Baby Pigeon Pose to Open Up Your Hips” (see “Let’s frolic!” above).

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).