Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Saturday, 24 September 2011

The Group Interview

Yesterday-Interview Day- began in an elevated fashion.  I awoke at five, caffeinated, and biked to the Ashtanga Yoga Shala.  In honour of the sun who is planning to progressively disappear over the next three months, we did 108 sun salutations.  I concluded the practice with some backbends, a forward bend, a shoulderstand, a headstand, and a short, tripped out savasana.  Then I rushed into the shower and began my ten-minutes-to-hotness routine.  

When I am a Lululemon educator, I will know the difference between the tata and muffin-top tucking features of my hand-me-down Lulu getups.  But for now, I can only describe my clothing choices as very short black shorts and a black tank top in which it is very difficult to breathe in, even for people with very small tits.  (If I were in charge of the tank top names, I would call it the CITTA:   the Chaturanga Inflicted Ta Ta Answer .)  I wore my bright blue, five-finger vibram shoes.  Besides being chronically infused with foot odour and athlete’s foot bacteria, these shoes make me look like a bright blue, stretched out ape.  I wore them anyways because they are an excellent conversation starter. 
The Outfit and the Shoes
Yoga Pose = Chaturanga with Grimace
Conveniently, Lululemon is located right underneath the Ashtanga Yoga Shala so once I completed my extensive grooming routine, I didn’t have far to travel.  There were ten other candidates at the interview, all girls, all wearing a unique combination of thigh-loving, muffin-smashing, tata-constricting goodness.  We sat on yoga mats, arranged in a hexagon, underneath the men’s rain gear.  (You never know when a torrential downpour might burst onto your Downward Dog.)  The two store managers welcomed us and explained that this hexagon represented a safe place to share and be open. Within the yoga mats, we need not be afraid of speaking with intention, and expressing our emotions.  They went on to introduce us to the grassroots and values and culture of Lululemon.  Turns out that Lulu is all about culture and not so much about pants.  This is a relief, since as we’ve already established, I know nothing about pants.
For our first interview question we were asked to describe our background, our passions and what we hoped to gain in working for Lululemon.  I listened with as much intent and compassion as I could, beginning in lotus position and switching to modified cow-faced legs when my vibramed feet went numb.  Since the yoga-mat hexagon was a safe and confidential setting, I cannot tell you about the candidate who began to cry whilst speaking of her crushed Olympic dreams.  When it came to my turn, I did my best to be brief and speak with intention.  A friend of mine who had already undergone the interview process (and been rejected) had advised me to refrain from saying anything dark and sarcastic.  These guidelines left me pretty quiet and inhibited. Unfortunately, a few unfiltered one-liners may still have escaped...
Cow-Faced Legs.  I always wondered what part was the cow's face.
I became mildly uncomfortable about an hour into the interview when the managers brought up the topic of goal-setting.  With joy and enthusiasm and hope, everyone else described their dreams of becoming doctors and losing weight and climbing Mount Kilmanjaro.  My lotus legs got increasingly achy.  Goals stress me out.  Typically, my goals have been vague and unachieved.  I rarely write them down.  If I don’t get hired at Lululemon, this will be why.  I feel like I don’t possess the insight and wisdom to accurately envision what will make me happy.  I explained my situation to the store manager.
“You know in twelve-step programs, when they say, ‘life won’t give you what you want, but what you need?’”  Realizing my mistake in mentioning a twelve-step program, I quickly added, “I mean, not that I go to twelve-step programs.  I just find them interesting.  They’re my passion?”
I switched my legs from lotus to cow-face and looked to the ground.   Maybe I should have been honest and told her about the time I went to a twelve-step program and quit puking in my mouth.  Maybe not. 
The last interview question dealt with our “opportunities for elevation.”  Lululemon culture celebrates strength, but it also rejoices at the prospect of reducing mediocrity in its employees.  The process is apparently intensely satisfying. 
Likely the best opportunity-for-elevation goes something along the lines of: 

“I’m entirely committed to achieving the highest level of greatness that I can and often my friends feel inferior to me.”
“I’m so giving and selfless that I never take time for myself.”

Unfortunately, by the time my turn came along, these excellent answers were already used up.  Digging deep into my vast supply of elevation opportunities, I came up with:  
“Um, yah, I never ask for what I want because I don’t think I deserve it and then I cover up my dissatisfaction with chronic self-deprecation and sarcasm.” 

The blonde store manager wore a bright fushia shawl that announced the Lululemon Manifesto in bold, white handwritten letters.  “Mediocre is as close to the bottom as it is to the top, and will give you a lousy life,” the Manifesto proclaimed.  The blonde store manager asked me why I didn’t believe I deserved what I wanted.  There was a long silence during which my usual sarcastic brilliance eluded me.

“Uh, I don’t know,” I said.  I felt like something exceedingly awkward and embarrassing was about to happen.

“Maybe there was a situation from your childhood when you asked for what you wanted and didn’t get it?”  No, this wasn’t true.  I’ve discussed this very same matter in twelve-step meetings.  My childhood was shamefully un-traumatic.  The awkward and embarrassing moment was now nearly inevitable.  Shifting out of cow-faced legs and into lotus, I articulately shrugged my shoulders. 

“It must be really difficult for you to develop close relationships if you’re sarcastic and cold all the time,” said the blonde manager.  She was right.  It was intensely difficult.  Nobody liked me.  I was far too obnoxious to have any friends. 

I looked at the blonde sales manager with desperately wide eyes.  The awkward and embarrassing thing had taken place.  I was crying and there was no traumatic childhood or shattered Olympic dream to justify it. 

The sales manager congratulated me for finally making eye-contact after an hour and a half of standoffish one-liners. She consoled me by confessing to crying last night while watching Grey’s Anatomy.  Without regaining any composure, I nodded, released my legs and sat on my knees like a normal person.

Tomorrow, I’ll receive an email stating whether or not I’ll be called into a one-on-one interview where we’ll further discuss my elevation potential.  Before we left, the managers reminded us that rather than taking it as a rejection, those who fail to make the cut should view the outcome as, “not now.”  We were encouraged to apply again and again, using each attempt as an opportunity to elevate ourselves further and further away from mediocrity.  I’ll be sure to keep this in mind.  

The End.

From Luon to Watermelon Shirts.
The Group Interview on Recovering Yogi

Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go, self-help book by Erica J. Schmidt

How I will elevate Lululemon
Why I am like Jane Fonda
Be Your Own Best Friend

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

How I Will Elevate Lululemon

For those who are not up-to-date on my compelling and exciting life, I have recently relocated to Halifax to live with a boy I met on a boat.  I have no regrets, however, I am finding the job search to be a little discouraging.  Thus far, my most consistent gig has been teaching outdoor yoga on the harbour every evening that it doesn’t rain.  So about once a week.  The experience has been joyful and picturesque, but certainly the job security is pretty terrible.  Because I would like to contribute more to my household than cheap toilet paper, I decided to offer my services selling expensive pants that make everyone’s butt look awesome, especially in Padangusthasana.  So I filled out an application to work at the local Lululemon store.  I have absolutely no retail experience, but I’m banking on my charm and good looks.  In addition, I’m pretty sure that my responses to “The Top Eleven Things that Lululemon Wants to know About Me” are Irresistible.  Let me know what you think! 

Question One, Lululemon:  A goal you've achieved that you're proud of (Personal, Professional or Health)?   
Answer, Me:  I wrote an epistolary novel with my ex-boyfriend, the one I didn’t meet on a boat. We wrote a version our novel in both French and English.  The French version is called, Le petit sauvage et l’ermite.    This means The Little Savage and the Hermit.  I am the little savage because I used to get a lot of cold sores and in French cold sores are “Les Feux Sauvages.”  The Savage Fires.  I am a little savage (fire).  We left out fire for the sake of catchiness.  My ex-boyfriend is the hermit because he doesn’t really like people except to have sex with them.  

While we were revising our novel, I took up watching the TV series “Breaking Bad.”  Perhaps you aren’t familiar with this show because you are too busy meditating and merging with God.  That’s unfortunate, since in that case, you probably haven’t learned that part of a broken plate is a valid weapon with which to kill someone and/or injure him severely.  These days, I haven’t been meditating or merging with God so I’ve learned from “Breaking Bad” that a broken plate holds that sort of potential.  And yet, I remain spiritually evolved enough to be aware of the fact the Lululemon would never hire anyone who murdered and/or severely injured someone with a broken plate.  Hence, during my many liquid-lunch-revision sessions with my ex-boyfriend-the-hermit, I never once considered throwing a plate across the room.  Not once.  I am immensely proud of this.  No one needs to mention that gin-and-tonics aren’t served on plates.

Question Two, Lululemon:  How have you elevated someone from mediocrity to greatness?

Answer, Me: Before I met this recent love-of-my-life on a boat, most of my boyfriends were fairly mediocre.  I elevated their existences with blowjobs. 

Question Three, Lululemon:   How will you elevate Lululemon?
Answer, Me:  My ass is truly excellent.  I’ll look AMAZING in your pants.  Unfortunately, I’ll have to pay for these pants in installments.  Never have I ever received compensation for my great ass. 

Great Ass in Hand-Me-Down Lululemon Shorts, with Hedgeclippers
Question Four, Lululemon: How would you spend an ideal day off with no financial limits?

Answer, Me:  The Happy Lululemon People Manifest that “Friends are More Important than Money.”  Although they’re probably right, I wouldn’t know because I just moved and I only have two and a half Halifax friends. These friends are probably tired of buying me coffees.  On my day with no financial limits, I will buy coffees for my two and a half Halifax friends.  They can have two coffees, if they want.  They can also have lattes and pastries and muffins.  I will buy my friends various vitamins to ingest with their muffins because we never know what small mineral will eliminate the bottleneck to a long life. After coffee and vitamins and muffins are done, I will breathe deeply and try and live in the moment.  I probably should have done that before I bought the muffins.  Once I am successfully living in the moment, I will hook myself up with two old-age pensions since Happy Lululemon People Manifest  that I mustn’t trust that an old-age pension will be sufficient.

And finally, I would pay for a lifetime supply of laser hair removal, so I can wear super short shorts like Kino MacGregor without having my pubes stick out.
friends are more important than money.
Question Five, Lululemon:  If you could high five anyone, who would it be and why?

Answer, Me:  Margaret Atwood, to congratulate her for her productive alternatives to rolling up her duvet and humping it.
And Kino MacGregor, for her great thighs and backbends and super short shorts.

Question Six, Lululemon:  Tell me a quote you live by:

Answer, Me:  “Children are the orgasm of life.  Make the appropriate exits.”

Question Seven, Me:  What are you most passionate about?
Answer, Me:  I am very passionate about my boyfriend who I met on a boat and left Montreal for. I also love his big black German Shepherd named Eliot who cherishes racoons with his teeth.  In addition, I am wholeheartedly committed to devising productive alternatives to rolling up my duvet and humping it. 

Me and the Big Black Dog, elevating our souls, with me in Luon
Question Eight, Lululemon:  What do you want to be remembered for?
Answer, Me:  My ass, my short shorts and my old age pension. 

Question, Nine, Lululemon:  What gets you up in the morning?
Answer, Me:  Yesterday it was because my diva cup leaked.  Today I awoke suddenly while dreaming about my eventual demise.  I like to mix things up.  . 

Question Ten, Lululemon:   What is the theme song of your life?
Answer, Me:  “Puff the Magic Dragon.”  It could be about weed and that’s very interesting.  Or it could have some political symbolism that I don’t understand.  I like the part about frolicking in the autumn mist.   I am pretty sure that Honalee is near the ocean. 

Question Eleven, Lululemon:  What is your favorite way to sweat?
Answer, Me:  By elevating someone else from mediocrity to greatness. 

My interview is Friday morning.  Once I’m hired, I’ll spread the word and we can figure out a good time for you to come and buy some pants!  Until then, you know the deal:  Dance, Sing, Floss and Travel!  May all of your sweat regenerate your skin, E. Xo.
The End.
 How I Will Elevate Lululemon, published on

Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook.
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go, a self-help book by Erica J. Schmidt

Part Two: The Group Interview
Why I am different from Margaret Atwood and what I don't gain from humping duvets
Why I am like Oprah



Tuesday, 20 September 2011

I Do Not Want Jesus's Love Today

This morning found me void of my usual defences.  My wonderful coastal boyfriend had taken our big black dog to the vet.  I hadn’t done my usual two hours of Ashtanga yoga, since I am shedding the internal lining of my uterus and I don’t want to subject myself to a nose bleed by inverting my pelvis.  And finally, I had spent more than five strenuous moments sifting through my sparse closet in attempts to determine which hand-me-down outfit was more likely to get me hired.  When the doorbell rang, I had decided on a mini-skirt, but had not yet gotten around to putting on underwear.  Thus, I arrived at the door with no big black dog, no yoga, no internal lining of my uterus, and no underwear.  I was ill-equipped. 

The visitors were two balding middle-aged men wearing ill-fitting casual dress-pants, button-up shirts, and light fall jackets.  It’s almost certain that there was underwear beneath their unflattering pants. The heavyset man in the front looked like the younger of the two.   The hair around his bald spot was just starting to go grey and his face was full and jolly.  The man in the back was paler, and thinner and more stooped over.

“Good morning,” said the man closest to the door. 

“Good morning,” I replied.  They must be looking for Rob, I thought.  He is important in these parts, whereas pretty much nobody around here knows about me.  Then again, they might be starting a new business.  Do they need business partners?  I have nothing to invest, but I do own one short skirt.  I could go door-to-door.

“We’re just walking around, visiting.  Talking to folks,” explained the older man in the back.   

“Oh, I see,” I said.  Then the two men pulled out their books.  Leather bibles that zipped and unzipped to reveal slick, flimsy pages with columns of writing.  “Oh, I see,” I said again.  Our exchange was not going to be lucrative. 

“We know people are very busy these days,” said the younger man in front.  Too busy for Jesus.  The man in the back stepped closer.

“I’m not busy,” I said flatly.  “I don’t work.” 

Both men flipped to the book of Revelation.  The younger man continued his spiel:  “Do you know the Bible at all?” he asked.

“I’ve read the Bible,” I answered.

These men didn’t know, but in the past I have made exceedingly thorough attempts to become a Christian.  At sixteen, I used to go on long bike rides, sacrificing a healthy body weight just to find Jesus.  At nineteen, I was baptized in the United Church.  I began a major in New Testament Studies.  Then I quit school and moved to a Catholic community for people with intellectual disabilities, in the hopes that Jesus would reveal himself as I cleaned toilets and changed diapers.  While I was living in the community, I attended Catholic mass twice a week for two years.  All this time I kept listening for “Jesus whispers,” the soft voice inside my heart, proclaiming “Erica, you are my beloved daughter.  With you, I am well pleased."  Inside my heart, there has never been any sound but the slow, steady swishing of blood.  It turns out that Jesus isn’t that pleased with me.  It turns out that Jesus loves me much less than he loves everyone else.  Jesus should have whispered this fact to the men at my doorstep.  They are wasting their time.  Today is a very bad day for a Revelation. 

“So you know about the apocalypse then?” asked the white-haired men at the back.

Swish, swish, went the blood inside my heart.  Drip, drip, went the blood from my uterine wall into the menstrual cup between my legs.  A cool breeze flew up my skirt.  I knew all about the apocalypse. I could not wait for the apocalypse.  I began to cry. 

“I don’t want to hear this right now,” I said.  And just like that, I became one of those repugnant human beings who close the door on the Jesus people. 

The End.
Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go by Erica J. Schmidt

Menstrual Blood, Peanut Butter
How I Will Elevate Lululemon
The Earth Will Shake Us Off Like Fleas

Thursday, 1 September 2011

"How I feel about Kino Macgregor" or "Cosmic Love to Kino MacGregor's Thighs"

There has been a recent uproar of criticism of Kino MacGregor.  It seems as though Ashtangi Bloggers are maxing out on their one-percent theory.  Remember folks, ninety-nine percent practice, ONE percent theory.  One Percent.  I’m pretty sure Guruji didn’t mean for this theory to include your analysis on someone else’s short shorts.  But if we must talk about short shorts, I have a few things to say about this.  Kino has at least three reasons to wear the hot little shorts that she wears.  So here we go:  Un, deux, trois; Ekam Dwi, Trini; Insert your favourite language, (knowing that Sanskrit is definitely the superior choice):

1. Miami is hot.
2. Kino’s legs are hot
3. It is much harder to perform arm balances when you’re wearing shorts and your legs are all sweaty. 
“Cosmic Love to Kino MacGregor’s thighs.”
Kino in Bakasana
As everyone knows, your practice is an offering to the Supreme Divine Brahman.  If you require the traction of long Lululemon pants to get into Bakasana, well, everyone knows what that says about your Supreme Divine Offering.  If you’re lucky, no obnoxious blogger will say anything about it.  I say, “Cosmic Love to Kino MacGregor’s thighs.”

The Blogosphere has been particularly critical of the trailer to the TV show, “The Yoga Girls of Miami.”  The show was supposed to delve into the inner workings of the yoga studio, “Miami Life Center,” run by “yoga master” Kino MacGregor and a team of attractive and charismatic ladies.  The Highly Evolved Ashtangis of the Blogosphere have accused this video of being vain, flakey, self-inflating and excessively commercial.  Certainly, the tone of the trailer isn’t as down-to-earth as Kino’s wonderful articles and the audio podcasts of her excellent workshops.  But let us remember that this sort of thing is often scripted.  That is to say, Kino is probably not a self-proclaimed “yoga master.”  And even if she is, we all know that yoga is about Loving the Self.  As my grandmother, an extremely advanced yoga practitioner, regularly repeats, “If you don’t toot your own horn, no one else will.”  So toot away, Kino.  Toot away.  In any case, I feel like Kino’s underlying intention was to attract a more diverse audience, including tweens and entirely un-spiritual people who pollute their higher selves with corrupt indulgences such as reality television.  In all honesty, I’m pretty sure that if the show hadn’t been cancelled due to the malicious online feedback, I would have watched it religiously.  I’m okay with this fact, since honesty is one of the sought-after ethical precepts of the Ashtanga Yoga system.  I’ve got it in the bag.  Thanks be to God.  And to Kino.
Harsh judgment is also being passed about Kino’s Youtube channel. Here, Kino futures enlightening videos on how to access elusive asanas such as Marychasana D, Kapotasana, Scorpion Handstand, and my personal nemesis, Karandavasana.  If Kino were truly the egomaniac that bloggers are calling her, she would demonstrate these postures on her own, inserting cocky comments about your, the viewer’s, inability to honour the supreme divine Brahman by grabbing your ankles or maintaining your uddhiyana bandha.  As it is, Kino features models of all shapes and sizes, and remains extremely light-hearted and empathetic in her explanations of each posture presented in the videos.  I’m both a yoga teacher and Ashtanga practitioner, and to be honest once again, I find the videos to be rather useful.  Some of us don’t have the cash to fly around and follow Senior Ashtanga teachers on their international tours.  One day I hope to become an un-kept woman and meet Kino MacGregor in person.  But for now, I heart Youtube. 

My one-percent theory of the day is probably up, so I won’t go on for much longer.  However, I believe that as yogis who strive towards peace and compassion, we should be as generous in our thoughts and words, as Kino MacGregor is in her sharing of Ashtanga Yoga.
The End. 

Big Smile, Big Pose, Delightful Photo by
This edition of Kinogate was published on
Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go, self-help book by Erica J. Schmidt

The Benefits of an Ashtanga Yoga Practice, Part Two 
You Cling To Things Until They Die
Not Separate From All That Is