She browsed the DVDs on the display: Advanced Yoga, Intermediate Yoga, Beginner’s Yoga – yes, she reached for that one, then saw – Extreme Beginner’s Yoga – ooh, even better; hang on – Extreme Extreme Beginner’s Yoga? Perfect.
She picked up that title to read the cover out loud: “Extreme Extreme Beginner’s Yoga… With Chris Basilingworth?” She saw the star of Sword Slash staring intensely back at her. “This can’t be right – since when did he become a yoga instructor?” She would know: she had read his obviously ghostwritten memoir three times, and not a word resembling yoga was anywhere inside it. She then saw, in tiny print at the bottom of the DVD cover: “Instructor: Maggie O’Dwight.” Ohhh....
At home, she played the DVD after changing into yoga pants and assembling her yoga mat, yoga block, yoga strap, yoga towel, and yoga water. Distractions were pushed aside and she was all set to have her mind and body made one.
A serene-looking woman, standing on a mat with her back to a nameless ocean, greeted her on the screen.
“Hello, and welcome to Extreme Extreme Beginner’s Yoga. You are taking your first steps in your journey to attuning your mind and your body with the rest of the universe as you receive the peaceful wonder of life all around you, and become fabulously toned in the process.” Her calm demeanor wavered infinitesimally as she moved forward to where a man was standing on a mat in front of her. “We are joined in our wondrous journey by Chris Basilingwoth, who is a beginner just like you.”
Chris turned to face both the camera and Maggie: “Hi, yes, I’m really looking forward to exploring this amazing practice and really focusing my mind, and my body. I am working off of three hours of sleep right now and this seems just the thing to help me unwind. This should be fun, yeah?”
“Excellent. You will feel so much more open and clear-headed after this session, the first of many as you incorporate these routines into your regular workout.”
“Well, I don’t know – to tell you the truth there’s a stunt we’re going to film soon and everyone I talked to recommended yoga to prep for it, so it was either do this video or pay for a lesson.” This with a look on his face that said, “As if!”
Maggie, still smiling, faced the camera: “Namaste.”
Twenty minutes in, the viewer was starting to get the hang of inhaling into her back and exhaling her heart out to the world. She kept having to turn to the screen to make sure her movements matched Maggie’s, and she noticed Chris’s arms started shaking as Maggie continued steadily onward.
“Now,” Maggie’s voice never changed pitch, “bend over at the waist, placing your hands flat on the mat if you can, or holding your shins if you cannot.” She looked to the side. “Or holding your thighs if you must.”
“Thanks,” Chris said.
Later, the viewer felt proud of herself as she was able to hold onto her twisted leg with her left hand while reaching for the sky with her right.
“Breathe in and lean back to look towards your outstretched hand – ” [CRASH] – “this is when you can place a block or a book at your back for support.”
Ten minutes later:
“Now, place your knees on top of your elbows – ”
“Oh come on!” [CRASH]
The viewer hovered off the floor in a near-perfect Crane: “I can do something Chris Basilingworth can’t, hee-hee!” [CRASH] “Almost.”
During the cool-down phase:
“Leave your palms up to receive the infinite as you elongate your spine along the floor. Breathe in and out fully, feeling it throughout your entire body – WAKE UP!”
Chris jumped up from the mat: “I’m coming! Call ‘Action!’” He ran into the ocean and started swimming to somewhere.
Maggie, after sitting up and staring after him for a few moments, turned back to the camera. “We conclude with crossed legs, hands on knees or palms up, and breathing, always breathing… no, Mark, we are not doing this all over again!... Until next time, peace and happiness to you.”
The DVD having ended, the viewer finally understood why this title had been marked “Clearance.”