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WRY TOAST: This yogi is dead-on (with yoga’s corpse pose)



A FEW months back, I started going to a Tuesday night family yoga class at Read All Over in downtown Fredericksburg.

It was part of my annual tradition of committing to a healthy exercise routine that makes me feel good about myself—and then abruptly dropping that routine to pursue a lifestyle more supportive of the plus-size garment industry.

I loved the class despite being an abject failure at any position that required bending or balancing, which luckily for me is only about 99 percent of yoga.

I excelled at shavasana, or corpse pose. It turns out that I have a very particular set of skills—namely, I enjoy lying around with my eyes closed—that make me adept at imitating a dead person.

You might not think a skill like that would be all that valuable. But I’ll tell you what: We’re all gonna die someday and when we do, I plan to look like I know what I’m doing.

In keeping with my tradition, I gave up the class in September. A change in my work schedule made down-dogging on a Tuesday night impossible—though if it hadn’t been work, I’m sure I would’ve invented some other equally lame excuse.

I pledged to keep up my skills at home, and given that I practice the corpse pose for eight or nine hours every night—sometimes longer if I can get away with it—I think I’ve done pretty well.

So I was, perhaps, a tad overconfident when I signed up for a charity yoga event last Saturday. It was organized by my friend Elyse Acanda, a local yoga instructor, who pledged to raise $20,000 this year to help end sex-trafficking in India.

She’s a bit of an overachiever, but, between you and me, I lie around way better than she does. Just sayin’.

So Elyse invited her pals to join her in a yoga mala, where everyone completes 108 sun salutations and raises money toward the cause.

I figured waving politely at the sun 108 times was a fine way to spend a Saturday afternoon. As it turns out, that is not a sun salutation.

It is instead a sequence of fluid movements, taking practitioners from a standing position down onto their mats and back into a standing position—at least when it’s done correctly.

When I do a sun salutation—or just about any other yoga sequence—it more closely resembles a grand mal seizure.

In fact, I should probably apologize to anyone at the yoga mala who may have had their Zen state utterly obliterated by my convulsive efforts.

Sun salutations start off easily enough. You stand with your palms pressed together in front of your chest and then raise them over your head. After that, things go downhill for me in a hurry. You’re supposed to bend over and touch the mat, which always seems much farther away than when I laid it on the floor.

After stretching your feet out behind you, you eventually end up in chaturanga, which is Sanskrit for “abandon all hope, ye who enter this infernal pose.”

I’m never entirely sure how I got into that pose; only sorry that I’m in it. For the uninitiated, it’s sort of like a pushup, only not as relaxing.

Not long after chaturanga, you transition to downward-facing dog, where you turn your body into an upside-down V. Owing to the excessive weight of my hind parts, this is a difficult position for me to hold longer than about 3 milliseconds, after which I sort of wilt onto the mat in what I like to call sweaty, asthmatic clump pose.

Once I stop hyperventilating, I struggle to my feet, press my hands together in front of my chest and start the whole glorious process over again.

On Saturday, I managed to wheeze and herky-jerk myself through about 54 sun salutations before scooting off to an appointment (though if I hadn’t had one, I’m sure I would’ve invented some other equally lame excuse).

I woke up the next morning feeling pretty good about participating in such a positive event—and also feeling soreness in body parts I didn’t even know I had.

But that hasn’t slowed me down. I’ve spent the last few days rededicating myself to perfecting the corpse pose.


You don’t have to break a sweat to help end sex-trafficking. Spotsylvania yoga instructor Elyse Acanda is about $2,000 shy of her goal of raising $20,000 this year to help at-risk girls and women through the Global Seva Challenge.

If you’d like to learn more about her efforts or even donate, visit

Edie Gross: 540/374-5428