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Pondicherry Yoga: Is it Safe?

Mrs. Larry Temple

Mrs. Larry Temple


Pondicherry Yoga. It’s the latest fitness-spirituality craze for busy Lankvillians who don’t have time for separate fitness and spirituality crazes. But, what is it? And, more importantly, is it safe?

The popular yoga, which takes place in a rickety room of wildly fluctuating temperatures, has led some to question its healthfulness –in part because it teaches that a session isn’t over until the practitioner injures himself.

“It’s true,” claims middle-aged, middle class “Yogi” Gideon, “they don’t let you out until you hurt yourself. And no good faking –they know,” he paused before continuing proudly, “I’ve snapped every tendon in my body.”

Who exactly “they” may be is another subject up for debate. Pondicherry Yoga instructors are notoriously difficult to see for any length of time in suitable light. They spend a minimum amount of time in the practice room, perhaps, some suppose, because they can’t endure the temperatures, which swing between 150 and -50 degrees.

“Theys crank up the heat,” complains former Pondicherry yogi Sam Crumb, “so yous burn and you burn and you can twist into some kind of prtezel-like –and then vrwroop! they’s turn it freezing so yous just stick there. The sweat on all your body turns to little icee flakes. And you hair, it cracks off in pieces-like, and you eyes – they stick open, or closed, with the ice lids. And you body you think you stuck forever, and yous start crying-like, yous blubbering and you know is dying, and you dying, and sometimes yous die, and most the time you do dies.”

The rickety room (scale model).

The rickety room (scale model).

But is it safe? I asked Sam Crumb. “And they’s make you eat. The heat so yous think you gonna die, and they make yous eat the whole pie,” he claimed gasping and whimpering, “I ate the whole pie. I had to. But it too hot to eat the pie, but you eat. Big key lime pie. And they make you drink the whole two-liter. The cherry cola. The no-brand cherry cola. With the pie. And then the inverted series.”

But the question remains: is it safe? I asked Sam Crumb about another of Pondicherry Yoga’s more controversial aspects: the much-ballyhooed “rickety room.” Sam struggled for breath as he spoke to me between sobs. “The floor, it slanted fun-house like. And the screws are sticking up, and they goes inside your feets, and you hands, and they goes inside your stomach when yous lying down –and then you moves and the boards give way, and you falls in the hole. I always fall in the hole. And yous cant get out, and then yous out, and the room it so hot, or so cold, and you can’t sees, and yous fall in again, and yous can’t see again, and yous can’t see even more, and you gets out, and yous fall in again. And again. With the screws in you, the cold and the hot, and the screwsm in all you body.”

The interview ended prematurely as Sam had to go off to his next class. And so for now the questions will remain: Pondicherry Yoga — is it safe? In the meantime, let us turn to another question in part two of our two-part series when we ask Lankville’s own John Knewstub: Pondicherry Yoga –is it spiritual?

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