Monday, September 5, 2016

Toeing the (nipple) line

The other day in yoga class, the teacher gave an instruction with a reference point that I’ve heard before and that always flummoxes me for a moment: the “nipple line,” as in “Place your hands [or whatever] at the ‘nipple line.’” 

Where did my nipples used to be? I ask myself. It’s been over 10 years since they were removed, along with the rest of my breast tissue, so the memory of their precise location has grown a bit vague.

The first time I heard this reference, I thought of it as peculiarly female-oriented, until I reminded myself that men have nipples, they just don’t have breasts. And then, on further reflection, I realized that it was actually more male-oriented than female-oriented since a woman’s nipple line changes with time. Indeed, my nipple line had certainly been traveling toward my waist before it disappeared entirely.

I’m thinking of writing a note to the Iyengars, who believe in stringent precision, asking them to possibly modify this kind of instruction, so that fools like me can stop getting lost in the weeds en route to their downward dogs.

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