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Yoga-Speak For Dummies

Yogi says: "I keep death close to me in spirit all the time so that I can fully appreciate the miracle that is life." Yogi means: I am having some pretty serious anxiety issues lately.
08/21/2009 05:12am ET | Updated November 17, 2011
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Have you ever taken a yoga class, only to walk out bewildered at what the teacher was trying to say? And I'm not talking about what she/he was saying in Sanskrit. That part, you understood. It's the English that threw you. Do you have "yoga friends" on Facebook? Friends you met in yoga class, maybe a yoga teacher of yours, or two? Have you read their updates and wondered, "Um...what?"

I can help. As a practicing yogi but lapsed yoga-fanatic, I have the inside line, and I'm not afraid to tell it. So here goes, Yoga-Speak translated:

1. Yogi says: "Mercury is in Retrograde".

Yogi means: "I can't get my crap together. I'm going to be late for all my appointments and forget to pay my bills for an unspecified period of time. And I am not going to take responsibility for it. Rather, I am going to blame it on the planets. And now you can too!"

2. Yogi says: "My biorhythms are off."

Yogi means: "I am feeling rather grumpy today. In fact, I kind of hate the world. No, make that, it's a damn good thing I don't have a rifle and work in a post office. But la la la, I'm a yogi, and I can't cop to that kind of negativity, so I'll just blame it on something cosmic and pray that no one knows what I'm talking about."

3. Yogi says: "As my eyes are opened to the Truth that is around me, I accept with equanimity the absence of Justice but keep my focus on breath so that the source of Love will nourish me.

Yogi means: "I hacked into my girlfriend's email account and found out that she's cheating on me with some fat-ass lawyer. Screw em. I've got 25 hot young things waiting for me in my next class."

4. Yogi says: "Don't worry about what the pose looks like."

Yogi means: "You really look like an idiot trying to do that pose, and I'm only speaking to try to keep from laughing."

5. Yogi says: "Don't worry about how deep into the pose you get. It's really all about the breath."

Yogi means: "I am totally lying. When I do this pose, it's all about how deep into it I get. If I can put my legs behind my head, I consider it a good day. If not? I sulk and deprive myself of dinner."

6. Yogi says: "Don't let anyone steal your energy."

Yogi means: "I am distracted by my student who has hopped up into a handstand even though I told the class to wait for my go-ahead, and it's pissing me off that she won't do exactly as I say. Bitch! I hope you fall on your face!"

7. Yogi says: "I just love my live, raw, vegan diet! It puts me fully in touch with my body and the connection between nourishment and the attainment of enlightenment."

Yogi means: "I am incredibly psyched that I dropped 10 pounds last month by eating nothing but lettuce and mung beans, and now my size 2's are falling off of my skinny ass!"

8. Yogi says: "I keep death close to me in spirit all the time so that I can fully appreciate the miracle that is life."

Yogi means: I am having some pretty serious anxiety issues lately.

9. Yogi says: "There is no ailment that yoga cannot cure."

Yogi means: "There is no medical ailment that yoga can cure, but you'll figure that out on your own. I hope. Meanwhile, I'm off to the plastic surgeon to get my Botox. Can't very well be teaching yoga with frown lines, right?"

10. Yogi says: "I would practice yoga even if there were no physical benefits."

Yogi means: "Which way to the gym?"