My father spent a month of my childhood bedridden after back surgery, and from his boredom sprang a passion for infomercials. As a result, the Sawicki house contains two Magic Bullets (the kitchen tool, not the vibrator), a George Foreman grill, a Shake Weight and a rather advanced telescope. We also own the Wai Lana Yoga video set. Wai Lana is a svelte Asian woman who instructs you to "clench the buttocks firmly" while meditating in pretzel-like positions for a long time. As an eight-year-old trying to follow Wai’s poses, I giggled and became bored within five minutes. Where is the workout? Why all the hype? Yoga, yogis and Lululemon-clad soccer moms eventually became my favorite mockery targets.
Fast-forward 13 years and I'm summering in Mumbai, renting a room from a yoga-crazed grandma. Her propaganda is immediate: "Your neck must hurt from that long flight, do some yoga! It’s great exercise, helps you connect with yourself, and it's Indian.” My response: “I'll join that fancy gym down the street, I know myself too well and my twice-daily commuter train journeys already provide an overdose of Indian culture. Yoga will serve me no purpose!” Her relentless nagging, however, is irritating and eventually obliges me. Perhaps if I go once it will appease her?
It’s the big day and I arrive at the yoga studio. I am instantly scolded for my inappropriate top—one of those saggy neon tanks I bought from some sorority. I guess I should just wear a turtleneck next time? Hmm.
Time to meet my fellow yogis. They consist of 12 women and two men who reek of masala and mothballs. I am the youngest by at least 40 years and likely the only one with original hip joints. Surely I should’ve joined a more advanced class, right?
Wrong. 20 minutes later, I'm hanging upside-down from a rope and grunting with sweat stinging my eyes. I regret not wearing a stronger deodorant. My elderly classmates, however, lack both perspiration and humiliation. They resemble a herd of inverted Saint Bernards peacefully humming "om shanti om" with their wrinkled jowls swaying in the artificial breeze.
After another hour of adult acrobatics, I'm embarrassingly exhausted. But it's a gratifying pain, like the morning after an ab workout or flossing when it's been a while—the primary difference being that my chakras are now aligned (or something like that). It’s great. Now that I am one with myself, I realize that myself is craving a mango lassi. I get one, but not before I kick myself for wasting so many years mocking yoga. I was such an unenlightened fool! I wonder if Lululemon is having a sale…
My new hobby (and an abundance of frequent flier miles) eventually leads me to Thailand, alone, with nothing but a giant backpack full of stuff and my newfound sense of self. What’s a girl to do? Pre-yoga Chelsea would have tipsily sunbathed and flirted with Scandinavian tourists, but current Chelsea? She did precisely the same thing, only at a hippy-dippy wellness resort!
Now this is no ordinary resort. The women are all French, 29 and simultaneously on a juice fast and hallucinogen trip. The men wear skirts and each meal (which is vegan, duh) comes with a shot of wheatgrass juice. Did I mention I’m a carnivorous American?
Granted, this place was awesome – prime people watching, yummy food (if I ate at the meat place down the beach) and free yoga classes. There was also an “energy-healing center.” Yes, I rolled my eyes, but then an attractive yoga teacher hosted a workshop called “understanding your true desires.” Well lolz, but I went for his godly presence and free food.
“Understanding your true desires” involved confusing chants and discussing everyone’s likes and dislikes. What did I learn from this? I truly hate peanut butter and Mitt Romney, but should be more open to mayonnaise and Taylor Swift. What’s the difference? I hate that I hate peanut butter—I’ve actively tried to like it many times—and it still makes me gag. The same goes for Romney, minus me trying to like him and hating that I hate him. But mayonnaise, Taylor Swift? My unreasonable vendettas are rooted in one bad sandwich and several annoyingly perky songs.
My hot teacher then revealed his life motto: Try everything twice. You can have a bad experience your first time with anything, be it Republicanism, condiments or country music. How do you know you truly hate it? Try it again! And then my epiphany: You beautiful man, you’re a genius. I hated yoga and now it’s amazing! Wait, oh my God, so many of my favorites once disgusted me. Sushi! Whiskey! The South! I’m just happy I had the guts to give them a second chance.
So, Dukies, I challenge you. What is something you hate? Open up your mind, your taste buds, whatever; try it again. I know it’s easy for me to shut out potentials because I enjoy b---hing about them, and that’s bad! So go out and try things while we’re still young and resilient. Hopefully you’ll find something awesome. Now if you’ll excuse me, yoga beckons.
Chelsea Sawicki is a Trinity senior. Her column is part of the weekly Socialites feature and runs every other Wednesday. Send Chelsea a message on Twitter @ChelsTweetzz.