How (Not) to Do Yoga
Getting fit in Cairo is no easy feat, but Timmy Mowafi had no idea it'd be this hard...
Typing away at my social media machine and aimlessly scrolling through streams of Facebook posts, wandering why people are my friends, I realise that I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t working or thinking about making money. It’s said that most people use only about 11% of their brain; I’m using about 1% and cruising on autopilot. My back aches and I look like a walrus on heat, trying to crack it every two minutes. I smoke another cigarette and walk to get my phone charger from the other side of the room. I feel out of breath. This isn’t a life. I used to be an athlete, I think to myself. I need to get fit!
So I head home and smoke a couple of joints. This isn’t a life, I think to myself again. I need to get fit! Except this time I’m giggling. My friend points out that I’ve made the same statement everyday for a month.
“Fine! Let’s go do something which is fun and will get us fit! Let’s go do Parkour!”
“You’ve been talking about going to do Parkour for a year, I’m not going to go do parkour with you.”
Fuck him, I think. I don’t need him, I have plenty of friends who will want to learn the post-modern French sport of extreme running with me! I pick up my phone.
“Heyyy, man! Long time! Sooo, do you want to do Parkour with me? It’ll be exciting! Like back in the old days when we used to train Football together!”
“Timmy, I work at the office of the Irish consulate. Jimmy Carter and Kofi Anan are visiting tomorrow, I have a meeting with five heads of state and I wear a suit to work. I’m not doing Parkour with you.”
Fuck him, he’s boring. What a sellout, I think. I have plenty of other friends who will do elaborate jumping with me! I dial again…
“Yooo, man! So I was thinking: you’re always asking me to go to the gym with you. How about we make it interesting and you come to Parkour with me?”
“Parkour? Where are we going to do Parkour in Egypt? Are we going to jump up the wall in between apartment buildings?”
He made a fair point.I turn to my friend.
“Let’s go do yoga!”
“Nah, man I’m Muslim,” he retorts.
“Come on, dude! It’s got nothing to do with religion, it’s about… it’s about… It’s about helping your respiration. This, in turn, helps stimulate your body’s lymph system. Your lymph system is a powerful aspect of your body’s natural immune system. By breathing deeply, you activate this lymph system and get rid of even more toxins in your body, even more quickly!”
“You’re just reading that off Wikipedia, Timmy.”
“So? You love lymph systems! Let’s Go!”
I grab the tightest tank top I have and my sisters sweat pants, which I assumed is the standard uniform for yoga, and we headed off in the car, with my friend still questioning me about the practice of yoga.
“So, yoga teaches you how to like, fly right?”
“I don’t know. I’m already pretty high.”
“Isn’t there, like, weird ambient music and chanting?”
“I don’t think so, man. I think this is just sort of for health.”
He then proceeds to play his own DJ set, which can only be described as heavy khabt.
“Aren’t we supposed to drink some green shit for like, 6 months before doing yoga?”
“I don’t know, probably; pass me that half eaten hot dog from On The Run.”
We’re cruising around, high as hell, listening to khabt with the munchies, on the way to yoga class and I finally realise we have no idea where we’re actually going. I look online and give the centre a call. A hot sounding lady answered.
“Ummm, where are you?”
“Err, eh el nazam? Namiste, nazamiste. Where do I do the yoga?”
“Ah, well, do you know the salad place off 26th July street?”
“Okay. Do you know where Pub 28 is?”
We head into a secluded street, and into a cute little door painted green. We followed the smell of aromatherapy candles and lavender wafting down from the second floor to find a door with a poster of the Indian elephant God Ganesh stuck to it. My friend furrows his burrows and questions the religious consequences of entering such a place. I put up my elephant pinky ring to the poster and make them say hi to each other in funny voices. I was feeling spiritual already.
I put my ears to the door and heard complete silence but for the soft, soothing orders from the yoga instructor with the hot voice. Before my fist hit the door for the third time, the instructor flings it open with her middle finger on her mouth, shushing us and telling us to hurry in.
We grab a couple of yoga mats and settle down across the room from each other, while the other Yogis contorted themselves into the alphabet. We felt like naughty kids in school, doing our best not make eye contact and burst out laughing.
I look around and notice I am surrounded by what can only be described as four flexible MILFs (and one obese math teacher). I was loving yoga until the instructor snapped me out of my lackadaisical gaze and mumbled something in Indian.
“Fine, thanks,” I reply.
It turns out, the Indian for ‘forward fold position’ sounds a lot like ‘how are you?’ To my surprise I bend over and grab my toes with ease. I look to my right and the obese math teacher is struggling. Ha, fatty! I’m already sooo much better at yoga then someone in the class. I bet she comes every week! Hot voiced instructor probably thinks I’m a natural, a wunderkind of yoga. She’ll be asking ME for moves soon! I suddenly imagine myself dressed in all-white linen, a crown of flowers round my head, on a mountain top, preaching about cosmic oneness… to four hot MILFs.
By the time I am no longer wearing the white linens, have taught my 4 lithe MILFs/ new disciples how we can all be one together, and my fantasy comes to a climax, I look down to see I have a full on erection.
Not only is my penis also reaching for a higher spiritual plain, but the four women are bent over in Downward Dog position in front of me.
I panicked, quickly slapping my hands down to the mat and into Downward Dog (on heat) position. It looked like someone had opened up a small umbrella. I was okay like this through High Leg and Planking, and the Cobra position actually felt quite nice. But then she called out the dreaded Urdhva Mukha Upavistha Konasa! There’s no way I could get through the Urdhva Mukha Upavistha Konasa without little Timmy being exposed. I acted confused and headed straight back to planking. She asked me to change, I then told her that my back hurt and I needed a minute. Hot voiced instructor then proceeds to sensually massage my back. It was going to be a long night.
Once little Timmy got tired of yoga, I could concentrate and get on with the exercises, and was actually starting to really enjoy stretching my muscles in ways I never thought I could and expanding my pain barrier and brain barrier with every new pose. My friend was getting really into it too; he barely noticed when the instructor started to slowly dim the lights down and down, until it was almost pitch black. I see the shadow of my friend then getting up, thinking the session was over, at which point the hot instructor tell us to put our hands together in prayer. My friend gets flustered and doesn’t know what to do; I urge him with my eyes to sit down and put his hands together too.
Then the chanting begins.
Everyone in the room repeats: “OOOOOOOmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.”
All I hear from the other side of the room is: “Estaghfarallah.”
I crack up laughing. My stomach rumbles from the laughter and half eaten On The Run hot dog.
She chants again but louder: “OOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmmm.”
I reply with a fart just as loud.
We both get up.
Think I’ll just go to the gym next week.