An L.A. Yoga Experience

The following happened to me in a yoga studio in Los Angeles the other day – I won’t tell you which one, but their name rhymes with SchmogaJerks

“What’s your last name?” The Front Desk Trade person asks me as the door closes behind me.

No, ‘hello’.

“I’ve never been here before.”

She sighs. Hands me a form to fill out, sign, and give back.

“What’s your last name?” She asks again fingertips poised over the keyboard.

“I just wrote it on the form?” I nod to indicate the form sitting on the desk beside her.

“Yeah, it’s just easier for me if you say it out loud…”

“Gotcha…Kaliszewski.” I say but don’t offer to spell.

Her face screws up like a bulldog eating peanut butter.

“Did you bring a mat?”

“I did.” I pat the several pound matt I’ve carted 2.3 miles through Koreatown.

“We have packages for this studio and for others around town…depending on how many classes you want to take a month…”

The amount and type of information felt a bit premature – like I was being asked to get married at the start of a first date. Like she’d be asking me to lease an auger with her next…

on a first date meme to illustrate moving too quickly in a relationship

“I think I’ll just do class today if that’s ok?


“Ok…did you bring a mat?”

Can’t make this sh!t up.

“Sure did.” I repeated and once again pat the matt stowed in the small of my back.

“Well, would you like to try one of ours?”

“No thanks, I think I’ll just use mine…”

I schlepped it over all this way after all.

“It’s just that ours might be better…like, for muscle activation…”

She try’s to hand me a Jade to replace my Manduka – I’ll let Jade and Manduka duke that one out.

At this point the Assistant Manager steps in.

“He actually has a pretty good mat.”

I nod. I do. I also have one of those Jades back at home too.

“So how would you like to pay for class?” Front Desk Trade asks me.

“Didn’t you just say I get a free week?”

“Yeah,” Assistant Manager chimes in, “but you have to sign up for that online. If you want to step over there and create an account online using your phone you can get a free week…”

Interesting…” I manage.

“Are you sure you don’t just want to buy two weeks for $25?” Assistant Manager insists. “That’s what most people do.”

(Never mind that at 220 pounds and a hundred+ hours of tattoo work, I don’t typically show up as “most people”…well, at least not to most people.)

“No, thanks. Today’s class will be fine…”

At this point I was honestly starting to wonder if I even wanted that one?

As I’m filling out the same identical form for the third time – online this time – the teacher for the class I’m applying in triplicate to get into wafts in the front door like fresh sage blown by the wind.

It’s three minutes before class is scheduled to start.

The computer screen pings.

“Ok, you’re all set,” Assistant Manager approves, “have a good class…”

“Thanks, is there a locker room or something? I’ve never been here…”

“Yeah, and our lockers are free…”

Wow, great selling point there! I think to myself. Are they not elsewhere?

“Ok…” I glance around, “…can you tell me where they are, please?

Now the pair are really put out.

“It’s down the hallway, and to the left…”

Class begins five minutes late after three people inside the studio have finished with their phones, and one student has gotten up to turn the heat on the thermostat down.

Seriously, can’t make this shit up…

Class and the teacher are perfectly lovely…especially if you can get past the irony of putting out a bowl of white-poker “don’t touch me” chips on the front counter, when the teacher’s not going be giving any hands on adjustments to anyone in the first place because she’s too busy practicing in the front of the room…

I didn’t even mind when a coupla students made a racket in the process of skipping savasana for the intention I had chosen for my practice was “acceptance”. Nor did I judge the person in back who’s ringer finally went off right before we sat up out of savsana…

That person doesn’t need my ire – there’s already a special place in hell reserved for that individual…

The teacher thanked those few of us that remained, invited us back next Tuesday, and was gone before I had my hoodie back on.

As I walked out I noticed they sold the Manduka mat I’d persisted in practicing on in the retail area – a sign from the manufacturer next to it read “the only mat you’ll ever need”.

I laughed. Said “thanks” to the two unresponsive yogis at the front desk. And walked out into a vanilla sky…

Justin “Jud” Kaliszewski is an artist, adventurer, and the renowned creator of OUTLAW Yoga. Best-selling author of “The Outlaw Protocol – how to live as an outlaw without becoming a criminal,” and the children’s picture book “The Adventures of Babu – from there to here,” he creates connection by delivering transformational yoga-experiences across the country, and at the Outlaw Yoga Littleton studio. Take his class NOW at and find his writing and art at