Yogi Bear

In an attempt to outsmart my body from falling into the no-energy-or-motivation-to-do-anything-that-involves-strenuous-activities-or-spandex-give-me-my-sex-and-the-city-reruns-and-frumpy-sweaters winter work out slump, I started doing yoga instead of attempting to pull on my Underarmor and run outside. I’ve always been one drawn to the trendy spiritual world of incenses and kabala. Who wouldn’t want to close their eyes and picture themselves next to a babbling brook or spending their days raking lines through sand, sipping herbal teas next to a waterfall? It all seems so fantastic and calm and deep. So unlike the everyday life of an American Dreamer. But I had never been able to become an active participant; afraid of being dismissed as a bandwagon spiritual explorer. For some reason though, as has happened multiple times since I moved (exactly 3 months ago!), one day I woke up and said “Today is the day, yoga. You and me, we’re going to see what we’ve got goin on together. I won’t be scared of your judgment and dedicated gurus if you don’t make fun of my stretch pants and the fact that I can’t touch my toes.”

So I started going to the beginner’s yoga class offered after work at the fitness center (With the fabulously-cheese name ‘Yoga Flow’). I really do enjoy it. I am surprisingly more flexible than I previously believed (My flexibility ended when I tossed my leotard and quit the YMCA gymnastics classes in 1st grade.) The first couple classes were dedicated to me trying not to giggle every time my instructor said to go into ‘downward-facing dog’ position or rolling my eyes at the gibberish Hindu names of other position that I was convinced she was making up as she went. Officially, the first few weeks were supposed to be for me to understand the general positions and find my body’s limits, which I did in between glances over at Elaine as she tried to fold herself into a pretzel.

But after those first few weeks trying to grasp the edge of this complex and exhausting Indian ritual (and after Elaine had given up on spiritual growth altogther), it started to flow (rightfully named for the class) a little better. I was already inches away from touching my toes again for the first time since before puberty, was learning position names, and could make the transitions without distracting the whole class as I waved my arms around or wiggle my butt trying to move my legs into a knot. My instructor is fabulous. She said I’m doing very well for a beginner and gently helps me correct my moves and gives me advice on breathing and hand placement. I understand now the need to focus on your breathing, how much easier each move comes if you are more aware internally of what you are doing, than what shadow puppet you seem to be making in the mirrored walls of the exercise room.

This is my intro into this little adventure that is yoga to me. There is lots more material where this came from. Until next time.

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