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Russell’s Sunday Sermon: Happy Baby


Russell’s Sunday Sermon: Happy Baby

“I’ll never be able to do Happy Baby without thinking about sex.”

These words were not mine.

If you guessed Trish, that would be a correct answer. Two points.

Google, “Happy Baby Yoga Pose”, or “Ananda Balasana”.

Now you get it. If you don’t, consider this your homework assignment.

(And I agree that, while the Kama Sutra and yoga may inherently share a couple poses, some of the names could be a little… Different? Better?)

We’ll go with Ananda Balasana, so I don’t have to feel quite so dirty.

The Beartooth Crossfit Yoga Club is losing its ringleader. This is substantial, yes, as the day the yoga died, but also because we’ll all miss the hell out of the little pixie-girl who taught it. Steele is leaving in search of thinner air and time near her father, in Colorado.

Can I come? Can we all?

Yoga can be a difficult sell to Crossfitters, particularly to those who are still learning. Once you dig in and begin repetitiously injuring yourself or start discovering all of the little, hard-to-train, supporting and auxiliary muscles not worked by the larger, more dynamic and explosive gym moves – that is when you realize that yoga has a well-defined place in your athletic life. MobilityWOD draws heavily from yoga, doesn’t it? There are products that promise what we had for free as part of our BTCF membership. Half the Crossfit boxes I’ve been an official member of have had regular weekly yoga. Crossfit Eminence was the largest gym, and they had the best attendance in their yoga sessions. Perhaps the urban Denver crowd were a little trendier – they were “early adopters”?

There have been days at the BTCF YC when it was just Steele and myself, practicing one-on-one, personalized yoga. She didn’t miss a beat and we soldiered on. We’ve been blessed as a gym. If you’re looking for the captain of the S.S. Repetitive Motion Syndrome, or HMS Overuse Injury, I’d be the guy wearing that hat, on either side of the Atlantic. The addition and inclusion of yoga has been of immense benefit to this very high mileage carcass.

They’ve not been highway miles.

I’ve been doing my best to sell it to the crowd. If the muscle-bound, middle-age(ish) white kid can do yoga twice weekly, then you can, too. It’s good for you, trust me. I might look like a lunk, but I’m probably more flexible than you are. Minus my shoulders. Yeah, those things are hard fucked.

In Steele we’ve had a friend who would ask us what we needed of her, provide it, and smile from ear-to-ear when what we needed was to drink a couple beers during our Sunday afternoon practice – or Dayne discovering a pause in his busy week and quietly sleeping on his mat 3 minutes into the session. This may be contributing to the difficulties in finding someone to take over her twice weekly sessions. (I cannot say “replace”. Many people are, but some are too unique. Steele is pretty fucking unique.) We present an unconventional crowd for many yoga instructors. We might be challenging. We might be like herding cats. It takes a pretty open mind.


You tell me to do it gently
Whispered in my ear
Cooed to the room
Slow, rhythmic music pulsing

Do it gently

You tell me to do it gently
Because you say I always do it hard
Don’t. Do. It. Hard.
Be gentle, be slow.

Do it gently

It’s going to hurt if you do it hard
And you know we people
You know we like it when it hurts
Pain means it’s working

Do it gently

You repeat, you plead, you implore
Be easy. Be slow. Be soft. Be gentle.
Take it easy, lean into it
Feel it. Can you? How is that?

Do it gently

Be gentle you tell me
A wry grin on your lips
Your eyes lit up with a soft smile
Do it softly, gently – it doesn’t have to hurt

Do it gently

Sweat rolling, muscles tight
Time is relative here
Like water eroding a stone over millennia
Even gentle becomes a struggle

Do it gently

Slow down. Feel your body.
Can I help? How is that?
How? Does? It? Feel?
How does it feel when you do it gently?

Do it gently

Feel your body
Love yourself
This. Is. For. You.
This is your time.


Do it gently

Several of us have, out of desperation and necessity, begun talks of turning the BTCF YC into a television session. We’ll still get together, unroll our mats and tune into one of the many yoga videos on Amazon Prime. It won’t be the same, but it will have to suffice for a time. It will be rote rehearsal, but we’ll get to see each other and the practice, even if it sucks, will be better than nothing. Some of us are too beaten up to quit.

We could do MobilityWOD? We’ll figure something out. There is a void, an emptiness that we must address.

There remains an indelible imprint a short yogi will have left in my marriage, long after she’s gone and long after she’s forgotten who the Herrings and Beartooth Crossfit were. In decades, she’ll be sitting with her grandchildren and have no idea who Russ, Trish, Dayne, Krystie – who any of us were. But the Herrings will still giggle every once in a while, when bedroom and active stretching collide.

Good luck Steele, we hope you find what you’re looking for.

But let’s call it Ananda Balasana.

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