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Tall Drink of Nerd: Quieting the Mullygrubs

Last night, I was really, super mean. My mind spewed so much nasty venom, spite and vitriol, that it’s embarrassing. No use trying to shine it up, I was a downright bitch. The victim of this bile was me. Fairly quickly I realized that I was beating myself up for no logical reason or lesson to learn.

I did what I usually do when the mental record starts to skip on “Amy Sucks,” I cranked up the smoky sweet maple, vocal styling’s of Sarah Vaughn, cracked a beer and started to cook something yummy for dinner. Singing with Sarah and cooking can usually chase my mullygrubs away, but last night, they had grown gargantuan, stomping around, slinging mud. They were very persistent. I knew it was time to yoga.

When I first moved to Los Angeles over a decade ago, I tried my first yoga class at the 24-Hour fitness in WeHo. It didn’t deliver the Zen mellowness I was expecting. In a class of 20 people, I turned competitive, trying to show off how stretchy and flexible I was. My mind was not on my own mat.  I kinda missed the point and didn’t go back. The PMSy evil voices stayed secure in their snippy lair.

My second attempt at yoga was about 3 years later. I picked up a VHS of the Buns of Steel Yoga workout. My life consisted of a full time day job, trying to be an actress and producing a play in Hollywood. I also lived in a house with my boyfriend of 8 years, 3 of the members of his band (all male) and the drummer’s girlfriend. My stress level was rapidly scooching upwards, the mullygrubs were nipping at my heels. This time, without the distraction of trying to impress other yogis in a gym environment, I relaxed inward into the poses. It was such a treat for me, it finally clicked. I made a point of doing that routine at least 3 times a week before heading to bed. Practicing yoga was like giving Ambien to my naggy brain. The chatter went into hibernation.

Then I got distracted, moved, changed jobs, left acting, lost the yoga VHS (and that routine hasn’t been converted to DVD format yet) yada yada yada and forgot how much I liked yoga.

Skip forward 4 years, my friend Marinda invited me to a yoga class. I was hesitant, remembering my tendency to pose for others in a class, but I went because Marinda was raving about how wonderful her yoga teacher, Chutney, was. Being judgmental, I rolled my eyes at how L.A. the name “Chutney” was for a yoga instructor. Still, I met Marinda in front of Chutney’s house in the valley, bright and early for a Saturday morning, 8:00 am yoga class. It was held in an attached garage that had been converted into a studio with enough room for 8 students. This place was exactly how I pictured ‘Yoga’. The floor was carpeted and cozy, one wall was a huge mirror, the single window into the yard had a prism and a stained glass artwork of a woman doing triangle pose. Dim natural morning light both warmed and illuminated the space. On a few occasions, Chutney’s dog would join us. Chutney is a phenomenal teacher/leader. She pays close attention to every student, making adjustments and suggestions, letting you move at your comfort and reminding you to breathe and keep your mind on your own practice. She is also not too serious, keeping the mood open and real, cracking up if something funny happens. Somewhere between Warrior 1 and King Pigeon, the nag in my brain turned mute.

Where the Zen is.


I started going as often as I could afford it, which was about once a week. After each class, the tension in my neck softened, my shoulders climbed out of my earlobes and my patience with traffic and humanity in general, seemed to grow as wide as the Indian Ocean. I began to refer to Chutney as my Soul Chiropractor because she gave me my weekly attitude adjustment.

In 2009, I moved out of the Valley and found myself unable to drive. I now live in a town populated with about 4gazillion yoga studios; none of which I’ve visited yet because, well, I guess I really don’t have a valid reason. Maybe I think anyone after Chutney will be a let down. Perhaps it’s because stress and anxiety has kept me from doing any type of real living for the past 2 years. All I know is, it’s time. The mullygrubs told me so.

If you live in the San Fernando Valley, I highly recommend visiting Chutney’s site here.

featured image credit: kaibara87