Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 11.16.19
Stanstead, Quebec


Yoga: Self-Taught

I can do this, except I call it "tripping."

I begin by finding a quiet place. There is snow on the ground, so that means the neighbours have decided the street is a snowmobile drag strip; there is no quiet place. I reach deep within myself to find a centre of calm and deep within the drawer to find a pair of earplugs.

I make sure I am wearing something comfortable. I am comfortable in blue jeans. It's a habit I can't break, even though I know it's not a good look, a man over 50 wearing saggy-ass denim all the time outside work hours. But this is my spiritual journey and these are my Kmart Wranglers.

I centre myself in a spacious room, away from open windows where people walking by might see me and wonder if I'm standing with my arms in the air because someone has a gun on me.

I have no yoga mat. Instead, I have a throw rug that is 90 percent acrylic, 8 percent dander, 2 percent dust mite. It is hyper-allergenic. That's not a typo. I spread the mat before me and try not to think what the wet spot might be.

I begin with conscious breathing: in through the nose, out through the mouth, in through nose, out through the mouth. The cat litter definitely needs changing. In through the mouth, out through the nose, in through the mouth, out through the nose.

Next, I sit in a cross-legged position and --


I sit in a relaxed position with my legs kind of buckled in front of me, whatever's comfortable, really.

Breathing slowly, I become aware of my body -- the top of my head, the curve of my back, my arms and torso, the muscles in my legs -- and am overcome by a profound understanding that eventually I'm going to have to move or it's not really yoga.

I shift onto my hands and knees and lower my head to the floor, a position known as Crouching Lost Contact. Hold ... hold ... hold ... hold ... ho ... ZZZZZ ...

From this deep relaxed state in which I have a brief dream about being a human beer nut dispenser (you do not want to know how the beer nuts are dispensed), I move into a standing position. I then move back into a crouching position until the dizziness passes from standing up too quickly.

Standing slowly this time, I raise my arms over my head, hands together, in the Erect Parsnip pose, or possibly the Semi-Erect Parsnip pose depending on how much stress I've been under lately at work.

Next, I arch my back as far as I can and am flooded with a magnificent sense of certainty that I definitely won't do that again.

Throughout these exercises, I clear my mind and lose all sense of my surroundings. I am aware only of my body and that it is moving and breathing, apparently digesting. I am at one with the cosmos, eternal, timeless, though not quite, as I glance at the clock and see I've only been doing this for two minutes.

I sigh heavily and with purpose.

I now lie on my stomach, arms by my side, feet pointed outward.


I now lie on my stomach, arms by my side, toes pushed against the rug so they don't involuntarily curl up in a hideous foot claw again. This position is called the Glove Compartment Chapstick. I raise my head from the floor ...

I raise my head from the floor ...

I raise ...

I turn my head sideways.

Hey, look: a quarter!

Gracefully and with full awareness that my body is a wonderland and whatever happened to John Mayer anyway, I roll onto my back. Placing my hands beneath my buttocks, I allow all tension to flow out of me and just go ahead and giggle at "buttocks."

Supported by my hands, I push my lower torso upward until my feet are straight in the air. I am filled with a sense of achievement and simultaneously disappointment that I'm not by a window after all because I can't believe no one is seeing this.

I bring my lower torso down to the floor with the sound a bowling ball makes when you throw it too hard and it lands with a thud about a quarter way up the lane. And now I return to a facsimile of a cross-legged position, close my eyes, breathing in and out, letting the energy flow through me, now opening my eyes and —


Hi, honey. Didn't hear you come in. Earplugs.

Can you help me up?