the circular runner

The Most Inclusive Hour of the Week

In Uncategorized on September 3, 2008 at 12:07 am

Tango and yoga classes are the New Religion.   

It may just be another phase, I know.  I’m certainly not trying to say that these two seemingly different hobbies are going to replace temples and churches any time soon.  For that matter, you could probably add a lot of other hobbies to the list.  Maybe running or Pilates, or sailing a model boat in Golden Gate Park—these are also eligible.  The point here is that on any given Sunday, some of the most reverential behavior to be found in the city is not to be found in a house of worship. 

For myself, as a tango dancer and occasional yoga do-er, I’ve noticed that people seem to need to exercise their reverence muscles in some capacity, and that Sunday yoga/tango classes, though very different in nature, are similar in one way: they offer people a place to be über earnest.  Take, for example, the fact that the people who go to yoga and tango go through a transformation as they ready themselves for class.  Like church, loud is bad in the dance/yoga studio.  The real yogi/tanguera is sure to turn off her cell phone, and she expects the same of you.  She also expects that you turn off your loud laugh, and your enthusiastic voice, and any other vocal tick that could pierce the penumbra of whispered goodness that is the studio space. 

Once you’re in that quiet place, she also expects that you choose the right class for yourself.  You’ll find that the tango/yoga communities are open to new converts, but, like any religious community, humility is stressed.  Know your place.  If you can’t do a headstand, don’t take an intermediate Kundalini class.  If your ochos suck, in the name of all that’s holy, get yourself to the introductory tango workshop.  Spiritual perfection takes years.  Same can be said of a perfect Warrior II position, or an elegant turn.  Be humble, and you’ll soon reach dance/yogic enlightenment. 

Lastly, and perhaps most important for the novice, make sure your mind is open to new experiences.  Just like you wouldn’t start laughing at a priest whose converting wine into blood, or chuckle when a rabbi tells you to abstain from your favorite cheeseburger, when you enter the Holy of Holies studio, don’t giggle when your instructor tells you things that at first strike your funny bone.  For example, while your legs are wobbling underneath you, she might tell you to allow for your solar plexus to be filled with light and goodness.  Or, while you’re feeling like a clumsy elephant, your tango master might quietly remark, tango is life; tango is passion. 

You may have doubts.  Every one does at first.   But let them go.  That’s what the yogi/tanguera expects of you, and you can’t join either community if you don’t accept. Remember, yoga/tango people won’t burn you at the stake for your disbelief, but the bad vibes you might get are pretty painful, all the same. 

Can I get a hallelujah?


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