Downdog Diaper Rash

Who knew that diaper rash was an occupational hazard to being a hot-yoga instructor?  After teaching three classes in the hot room, plus going for a jog, plus taking a class in the same sweaty yoga pants, I left the studio and headed my weary body home.

As I sat down to put my shoes on, I noticed an unpleasant sensation in the region of my, um….derrière.  As I walked out the studio door, the fire ignited and YEOWCH!!!!

HOLY SWEET BABY JESUS!!!

It was as if the white dove of Peace–om, shanti, shanti–had built a nest out of nettles in my crack of all cracks.  Fire and brimstone, Icy Hot, pins and needles, and multiple sheets of sandpaper had all simultaneously decided to take up residence between my gluteus maximus.  My walk soon became a waddle, and I tried to somewhat, but not-so-discreetly, back my truck up into some bushes so that I could wedge my pants in between the cheeks to prevent further aggravation.

Continuing home in this manner:  waddle, tuck, waddle, tuck, I finally reached my apartment and beelined for the bathroom.  And there she was, in all her rosy glory:  diaper rash.

So naturally it got me thinking about irritation.  Those things in our lives that raise the color of your skin to flushing, blushing hues of crimson and scarlet.  Like a cartoon, where the thermometer of rage rises up from the feet and blows train-horns of steam out your ears.

For me, I get bike rage.  When I am on my bike, battling traffic, risking life and limb in an environmentally conscientious way,  trying to get somewhere without the comfort and cushiness of a vehicle and then some gas-guzzling SUV honks their horn at me because I happen to be trying to avoid another gas-guzzling delivery truck double-parked in the lane in front of me.

“Oh, dear me.  I’m terribly sorry Mister SUV for getting in your way.  Your life must be very important, and certainly more important than mine, otherwise you wouldn’t be so anxious to pass me, scare me with your horn and potentially run me off the road into this truck so clearly parked in front of me….you stupid, dumb$#*&, God&@%^, MOTHER*$@#!*!!!!!!!!”

I clench my teeth, shake my fists and obviously start swearing like shipyard stevedore straight off the docks of a New York pier.

And then I crumble into a pile of tears and embarrassment.  For I am not a rage-full person.  I am not even an angry person.  Which is probably the problem.  I don’t deal well with anger.  I can’t stand it if people are mad at me, and I rarely express to others when I’m angry.  For me, anger is an emotion that seems to only spread negativity, so what good can it do to be angry?  Can’t we just sit down and talk?

The problem with my peaceful approach is that the anger sits inside.  It festers.  Hardens.  Spreads like a Kindergarten outbreak of the Chicken Pox.  And consequently turns me into an impatient and sarcastic trash-talker with an occasional case of Tourette’s.

And I’ve come to the realization that it’s okay to be angry sometimes.  It is okay to say, “I am angry with you.”  What is not okay is to let a stream of swear words sluice from my lips in a steady deluge of embarrassing adjectives.  That just makes me look like an idiot.

So for me the talcum powder cure to all of this is the breath.  The silky, soothing, powdery goodness of the breath grounds me down into a sense of calm and centeredness that allows me to recognize when I’m angry.  It allows me to notice that anger and then channel it, express it, move it to areas where I can actually make it work for me.  Sometimes, just by breathing and noticing the feelings of anger or frustration, they lose their power and dissipate altogether.  Which is why you might catch me breathing deep, ujjayi breaths in the grocery store when I get stuck behind the woman who refuses to put down her UsWeekly in the check-out line and get a move on.

An ancient yoga text says, “The breath is the key to ultimate emancipation.”  Your breath is your barometer, your guide that will always tell you when you are scared, upset, relaxed or excited.  It provides a rhythm not only for your yoga practice but for your life.  And for the rash-raising, steam-blowing, sailor-swearing moments in our lives, the breath is just the barrier cream we need to keep our tempers baby-bottom smooth.

Although, just between you and me, I might occasionally still give Mr. SUV a mental middle finger.

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