Thursday, December 16, 2010

She Wore Blue Velvet

I love to Polka! And I’m proud of it!

By now, if you have been reading along, you know that I’m very proud of my Polish heritage. My father was a first generation Polish American. It is family lore that my Babci (grandmother) came to America, alone on a ship, when she was 13 years old. I have always admired the strength that must have taken. She met my Dziadek (grandfather) when she got here. They married and had 9 boys, the youngest of which was my father.

He went to a Polish Catholic school, St. Mary’s of Czsetochowa in Middletown, CT. It is still in existence to this day although the Polish heritage is dying out. My father spoke fluent Polish but he never taught us any. He wanted us to only speak English considering the ridicule he received growing up. Our parents wanted us to be ‘American’. This makes me so sad that so much of my heritage has been lost in order to be more ‘American’, whatever that means.

Before both of my sisters were married, Sundays were family dinner days. I remember vividly all of us sitting in the dining room, trying to eat my mother’s horrific pot roast, and listening to the Polish radio station. My father would put it on, sing or whistle along, and listen to the dj speaking his language. I would ask him what they were talking about and sometimes to tease me he would answer my question in Polish.

The thing about this memory that always makes me smile is the fact that, even if we were driving in the car on a Sunday, my father had a knack for turning on the radio and finding a Polish station. Even in other states. This became a running family joke. I’m sure this drove my Sicilian mother insane….

At every wedding or dinner dance to which my parents dragged me, I would dance the Polka with my father. Including when I was in high school and we would go to the Father-Daughter Dances. He would count out loud, “1, 2, 3…1, 2, 3…1, 2, 3…” until I found the beat. So it was only natural that at my wedding I would dance the Polka with my father. We only danced two dances together that night, ‘The Beer Barrel Polka’ (not my favorite) and ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’. It was the last time we ever danced together.

When you are Polish in America you are required to love Bobby Vinton, the Polish Prince. He’s a famous singer known for ‘She Wore Blue Velvet’, ‘Mr. Lonely’, ‘Santa Must Be Polish’, and ‘My Melody of Love’. I love Bobby Vinton. I can sing along and do with fervor. For many years, no matter where my husband and I went on vacation, it seemed that Bobby Vinton had been in concert there the week before. This became our running joke until one year when we planned an anniversary getaway in Atlantic City the same weekend when Bobby was performing.

So my husband, being a good sport, got us tickets. We had dinner, got dressed up and headed to the old convention center on the boardwalk where they used to crown Miss America. And there we were, the youngest couple in a the place. Me, standing up singing my heart out, and my poor Asian husband, surrounded by 2,000 Poles. He really is a good sport and I know he suffered through this concert because it meant so much to me. Although, he did admit that he knew almost every song…

On occasion you may find me driving down the road listening to the Polish station out of Bridgeport. The dj speaks English but the beat remains the same, 1, 2, 3…1, 2, 3…1, 2, 3… There are a few lyrics I understand. Thanks to Bobby Vinton I understand the most important ones.

"Moja droga jacie kocham...means that I love you so!
Kocham ciebie calem serce, love you with all my heart!"

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fuck Yoga

Yeah, I said it. FUCK YOGA.

Actually this was a website I saw the other day. This made me laugh out loud! This guy, angry at his ex-wife's obsession with Yoga, started making t-shirts and other items that just say 'Fuck Yoga'. He's making tons of money off of this.

Part of me, when reading his story said, "Fuck YOU!". I thought to myself that his wife was most likely obsessed with Yoga because this guy is probably a total ass. But then part of me said, "Yeah! Fuck Yoga!" At least, "Fuck what we have done to Yoga in the West."

We were in New York City on Thanksgiving morning and as we were driving towards the Lincoln Tunnel we passed several swanky, modern Yoga studios. They looked so amazing from the outside. Sleek. Provocative. The posters of contorted yoginis in expensive Yoga clothes adorning the walls, both inside and out. Part of me wants so badly to go into one of these places one day. Take some classes and really see what it is all about. Part of me is so curious: Do I have the chops to teach in a place like this?

But then again, would I really want to?

My students are primarily average sized, middle-aged and show up in exercise clothes they bought at WalMart. I love them. They are real. They don't expect Yoga to turn them into something they are not. Most of them know that enlightenment hardly ever comes without the work. They know that any class, even in the basement of the library or the community room at a church, can be just as good as an over-priced, pimped out studio in Manhattan.

But my fears of inadequacy remain... Am I good enough to hold my own in one of these places?

My practice has changed so much since I began teaching 5 and a half years ago. I've slowed down with injury, illness and basic fatigue. I was told by a local, haughty teacher that my teaching style is rudimentary. Well, considering the fact that the most increasing number of chiropractic patients are Yoga students, maybe we need more rudimentary teachers and classes. You can't stand on your head before you can stand up.

There are even 'Yoga Competitions' now. I mean, really? Fuck that! Yoga is about being in your body and learning to not compete with the person next to you. "Eyes on your own mat, students."

I like to think that if I ever had the chance to teach in one of these places that the same kind of students that come to my class now would come then. The real folks in real bodies. The ones who can laugh at me when I don't know my right foot from my left hand. The ones who can cry in class and we all cry along with them. The ones who come for themselves not to compete with the person next to them.


If you want to go for the exercise and need to wear pants that cost $100 with a $200 mat, then head into a big city. But just know that if you're not sure how to line up your feet parallel to each other then you probably just wasted $300.....