Hoping that a balanced chi would not only extinguish the pain and
anxiety, but allow me to get a good night's sleep, I gave Yoga a shot.
Even though I was the only person who consistently lost his balance
attempting basic poses (especially when they involved standing on one
leg), after each class I felt as though there was an invisible cloak
wrapped around me, minimizing all my anxieties. However, by the time I
went to bed, my chi became destabilized and it was a tossup whether or
not I got a good night's sleep. When I told the instructor that I wasn't
getting better, having only managed a couple hours the night before, she
offered to give me a free private session after class.
Unlike the quacks I'd wasted my time on, these yoga people really wanted
me to get better!
Once everyone finished the end of class ritual -- drinking tea and
briefly discussing what was on our minds -- the instructor led me to a
tiny room with old wooden floors and an overpowering smell of incense.
She mentioned something about being a healer and had me lie down on a
mat in the center of the room. After telling me to close my eyes and
relax, she began twisting me about, shaking my limbs and torso. It
seemed bizarre at first, but before long a powerful vibration rippled
from the center of my chest through my outstretched fingers, drowning
out the anxiety and muscle pain.
I hadn't felt this good in months!
Following the massage, the instructor had me remain on the mat and she
gave me this Korean electronic device that was supposed to encourage my
brain to produce the wavelengths of a natural sleep cycle. I put on the
headphones and these grey plastic glasses that looked like a knockoff of
Cyclops' X-men costume. Once the instructor turned it on, red lights
flashed out of the corners of my eyes and there were these repetitive
buzzing sounds as though a whole beehive was drumming in unison.
Whatever that crazy device was doing, it must've worked, because I fell
asleep shortly after turning it on. Four hundred dollars later, I came
home with my very own Korean brain wave thingy. My insomnia troubles
A week later, the Korean sensory device was buried in my nightstand
drawer for good. There's no way that piece of junk actually helped. If
anything, the annoying flashing and buzzing noises kept me up longer.
I'd probably conked out during my appointment from a combination of
sleep debt and the relaxing massage. Unless the instructor was willing
to offer those massages regularly, I was done. When I told the
instructor I was dropping out, she said, "Before taking yoga, I had
similar problems to you. It's up to you if you want to get better. At
least consider a weekend seminar."
After researching the yoga studio, I found out that centers all over the
country had been accused of encouraging members to take out loans to pay
for expensive seminars and worthless brain wave devices. In fact, the
studio only added yoga to its name in the past few years to take
advantage of the national yoga craze.
You know you want to read more.... but wait until Debacle memoir is
published ... (soon?)