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cover girl
Photography by kiko tabuchi

cover girl

by stephanie stevens
Self Development

I recently learned that I will appear in a national magazine’s special issue, The Fifty Worst Yoga Students in America. At first, I was overjoyed to finally be recognized for something. But then my little balloon began to deflate. I learned that I was out of the running for the cover. Apparently, the editors were concerned that the sight of me squeezed into a yogatard might cause a precipitous drop in circulation. However, I believe I deserve a shot at the cover, and here are some of the reasons why:

Well-roundedness: All of my asanas are really, really awful. Also, I am somewhat round.

Perseverance: I keep showing up to class even though I’ll never be a 2 or a 3 or an ashtangi. Of course, I persevere sporadically, which may be the reason why.

Intention: My intention is to figure out what I’m having for lunch. Sometimes my teachers give excellent suggestions: “Breathe into your rib basket....” 

Creativity: Teachers complain that I am not following them, but appear to be doing random, unidentifiable poses on my own. 

Chutzpahsana: When a teacher says that a particular asana is cleansing the cells in our kidneys, I have the guts to utter the question on every student’s mind. “Is that based on science or did a little bird tell you?” 

Bravery: I like to keep my injuries to myself. That is, until I shatter the quiet of the class with a bloodcurdling scream. Then I’m forced to reveal my sciatica, my sprained neck, and my broken toe. 

It’s true that I have some weaknesses. I have not engaged in any yoga-related debauchery. My name has not been linked to any studio scandal. But then nobody’s perfect.

Exhausted from jotting down my arguments, I fell asleep and had a yoga dream. It looked like the Frankie Avalon number in Grease, except Rizzo was chanting. Suddenly, a member of the new American yogastocracy descended the staircase. She told me to “Go back to the studio.” She said I needed to practice more. I wasn’t ready for my close-up. She was trying to kick me off the newsstand. Now usually, I’m rather passive in my dreams. I just kind of sit back and eat popcorn or maybe a kebab. But I sprang into action to defend the rights of the yoga rabble.

I said, “For someone who preaches love and acceptance all day, aren’t you being a bit cliquey? Besides, America has so many celebrities of questionable character, it’s about time we glorified a yogi who was scraped off the studio floor. Finally, for a lot of us, this is as good as it gets. Our heels aren’t ever getting down in downward dog. Yoga is not about the perfect asana. Yoga does not belong only to the flexible and the graceful. It is my yoga too.

She reconsidered and gave us her blessing. I was glad to see that all that alternate nostril breathing had done her some good. I realize I may not get the cover, and I guess that’s ok. But for once, let the worst yogi win.