It was one of those surreal moments in a cowboy’s life that you’ll recall in vivid technicolor years later when you’re living in the senior center trying to balance your checkbook on the TV remote. Like the time you roped with Fred Whitfield, or got into vet school, or wrote your first alimony check!
I was sitting at the Stockmen’s Casino counter in Elko breaking fast with Rodney discussing our lumps and bumps, when he asked if I had ever tried the Breath of Fire Kundalini. I responded that I didn’t care for Italian food but I do like jalapenos, speaking of “breath of fire.” He asked me if he seemed taller since the last time I’d seen him. I pointed out that he was sitting down, so how could I tell!
“It’s yoga,” he said. “The Fountain of Youth Kundalini Yoga Pranayama. Everybody’s doing it back home.” Since Rodney was from North Dakota it sounded more like a Scandinavian trying to say the Hawaiian alphabet. “It’s made me spry again. Watch this!”
He picked up the quarter tip off the next table and flipped it into the air. “My thumb’s broke!” he explained, “I couldn’t do this till I signed up for the Fountain of Youth Yoga! I can sing again, dance the Glen Ullin polka, touch my toes and see more clearly!” He stared at me till I went out of focus.
“So this is an exercise program?” I asked.
“No, no! Much more! You just need to spend 15 minutes a day doing the special positions and breathing fire. Can you touch your toes to your nose?” he asked me.
“Truth is,” I said, “I don’t know if I’d want to, even if I could! My dog can reach a lot of places on himself that I can assure you, I wouldn’t want to see up closer! There’s a good reason God invented boot jacks, back scratchers and Handy Wipes!”
“Let me show you the easiest position, the Corpse Pose,” he offered. Rodney lay down on the floor on his back with both his head and his feet perpendicular to his body. “Try and hold this position for eleven minutes.”
“Looks to me,” I said, “If you could hold it for eternity you’d be cheaper to bury. You’d fit in a shorter casket.”
“One more! It’ll change your life!” Rodney stood and bent over; legs straight, arms outstretched, and palms flat on the floor, He looked like an upside down V. “It’s the Kundalini Archer Pose. Three minutes with long deep breathing.”
“What’s he doing?” asked the deputy sheriff.
“Breath of Fire.” I said.
“What’s he looking for?” he asked again.
“The Fountain of Youth,” then I added, “I think he’s been drinking.”
The deputy spoke into his walkie-talkie, “I’m down here at the Stockman’s. We’ve got another Norwegian bent over peering between his hind legs. I know. Just get the detox pen ready.”
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the June 19, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News