Previously published May 15, 2014
A few weeks ago, my parents were in town for a visit. We Finkels are a pretty fun bunch (if I do say so myself), as anyone who knows us or who followed our exploits on Instagram under the hashtag #finkelfest is aware.
On their last night in Chicago, I suggested we go have a happy hour at Three Dots and a Dash, a scene-y tiki bar in River North. (I can’t help it. I love rum and kitsch!) My parents gamely agreed, and my mother, born and bred in Kailua, HI, seemed to feel it was her civic duty to assess the accuracy of this urban incarnation of a tiki bar, and thus attended with a discerning eye.
Three Dots and a Dash has a special, large-format drink called Treasure Chest No. 2. It contains rum, a variety of who-cares fruit juices, and an entire bottle of Dom Perignon. It costs $385 (that’s $3,850 in yoga teacher money), is served in a giant treasure chest, and is meant to serve 6-8 people. We ordered it, and the four of us at our table sucked it down post-haste.
After we dispatched our cocktail, we stumbled around the corner for dinner at Topolobampo, offering fine-dining Mexican cuisine as interpreted by celebrity chef Rick Bayless. I have heard that Topolobampo is a fabulous restaurant. Too bad I don’t remember much about the experience to report on it.
You don’t get to develop the hashtag #rollinglikeaFinkel without learning a few hard lessons about fun times coming at a price. What happened next should come as a surprise to nobody (least of all me.)
I woke up the next morning feeling . . . you know, feeling. Lots of sensations. Let’s not ascribe labels or negative connotations to them. They were just there, and I felt them. A lot. With great intensity.
But then, a funny thing happened. We focused on the breath, set our intentions, (“Don’t die. Don’t throw up. Just make it through the next 90 minutes.”), and started to flow. By the end of class, I had a realization: I had not once thought about anything but the flow. I wasn’t looking at other yogis on their mats, assessing how open their hips were, wondering if they were secretly judging me for being hungover. I wasn’t thinking about the tasks that lay ahead of me; all the catch-up there would be from the abandonment of my emails, texts, and responsibilities in order to maximize time with my parents. I was far too focused on my own intentions: Don’t die. Don’t throw up. Just make it through. My drishti had never felt clearer; if I broke focus for half a second, my wobbly ass was gonna hit the floor.
And all the twisting, bending, balancing, and inverting didn’t stir up emetic reactions, as I had feared. The truth is, it felt fucking GREAT.
This was a rather startling realization. I preach all the time about keeping your ego in check and your eyes on your own mat. I catch myself breaking from these commands all the time, and I quietly chastise myself for doing so and remind myself that all of this--not just the asana, but the ability to tune out distractions--is a PRACTICE. Perfection isn’t expected, only effort.
The unexpected lesson in all of this (speaking of releasing one’s self from expectations) is that it turns out that practicing yoga with a hangover is the key to sticking to your intentions. Who knew??
So cheers, my yogi friends! Indulge this weekend, drink your booze served in oversized, ironic vessels. Stumble home safely and fall asleep with your shoes on. Just make sure you get on your mat in the morning.
And please don’t tell the yoga police I said so.
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