If you’ve ever seen that MAD TV skit with Michael McDonald, the one where he played the part of a yoga instructor, you have some idea of what yesterday’s diction class was like. In the episode I just referred to, McDonald’s character is telling a class full of women to imagine that they are breathing through their vaginas. (In case you missed my earlier posts, my diction instructor combines yoga with voice training.)
So here we all are, lying on our little mats, with our buttocks in the air, and he says, “Now imagine breathing through your whole body, through every opening.” And I got that mental image I just mentioned.
Immediately, I felt a convulsing spasm spiraling up from my gut. If I’d let it out, I was pretty sure I would roll into a fit of hysterical cackling. So I clamped my hands over my mouth and held tight. I will not laugh. I will not laugh. I will NOT burst out laughing, I told myself. And somehow, I managed to stifle the urge.
But THEN we were told to lie on our backs and inhale deeply, then exhale with vocalization (a sigh and then a hum). Because the class is comprised of both men and women, the noises released spanned multiple octaves. Groans escaped students at random intervals. And as I tried to concentrate on what might be my signature sound, it occurred to me that what I was hearing easily could have been mistaken for a pod of whales. (And with my caboose in the air, there may have been other resemblances, as well.) Again, I did my best to keep my composure. That is, as much composure as a gal can have while assuming what I call “the gynecological pose.”
Standing upright, I had no greater success. From my “center,” I was supposed to imagine a glowing point of light. (I thought of ET, here.) With that light, I was further instructed to, I’m not kidding, “paint the wall in front of me.” This, mind you, was the same wall with which I’d already become intimately familiar. I had previously been told to share my memorized monologue with it.
If I can just manage my giggle response, I should advance quickly in this class—because I’m already skilled at talking to walls. After all, I’ve been married for 17 years!