At 6:10 pm, I leave the house carrying three books (two to return to the Los Angeles Public Library, and one on Oscar Wilde by Richard Ellmann to read before class begins), my yoga mat and my blackberry.
I get two buzzes and check my phone. I have a Facebook message. Maybe someone wants to give me a ride to the Lag B’Omer party tonight at Dockweiler Beach. I’d like to go but not enough to drive myself there and back and pay the hefty $5 beach parking charge.
My message is from filmmaker Steve Karras. He wishes me a Happy Lag B’Omer and then he wants something…and at that very moment, my right back, which has been twitching since Shabbos in Manhattan Beach, goes into violent spasm. I collapse to the ground, surrender all my belongings, roll on to my side and try not to scream.
The spasm goes away as I ignore Steve’s email, and shift my books and yoga mat to the opposite arm. I should go home but I don’t want to be home tonight. I have one book due today at the library. I don’t want to pay a fine.
I walk on.
At yoga, I find sitting with my blackberry in my shirt pocket provides too much stress to my back and I put my phone away in my man purse.
I lie down and send my legs up the wall, providing relief to my lower back. I read this superb biography.
"Oscar Wilde!" a muscular blonde woman cries. "Luke, I was in The Importance of Being Earnest."
She launches into a recital of Shakespeare.
When the hubbub dies down, I start chatting with the other actress next to me. Next month, both actresses graduate from level one teacher training in Kundalini Yoga.
"All my life," says the brunette, "I’ve been looking for God. I’ve finally found Him in myself. I’ve had some profound experiences of Him through doing this yoga."
I can only manage part of tonight’s set before I have to retreat to lying on my back, knees up.
The teacher has instructed the class to go into a difficult pose — something like archer pose, curl the feet up, lower the knee almost to the ground, and breathe "into the body glove."
He says, "Safety is dangerous. Stretch. You’re not going to pop a tendon."
Well, I’ve never popped anything in this class, but doing this type of yoga has stretched numerous tendons across the tops of my feet (doing the pose where you sit on your ankles), causing hundreds of dollars of physical therapy.
My physical therapist Lyn Paul Taylor says he gets countless patients who’ve injured themselves doing yoga.
PS I got physical therapy today from Lyn Paul Taylor and am feeling much better.