Thursday, February 9, 2012

Adventures in Yoga

My gym started a new yoga class and I tried it out last night.  I'm trepidatiuos about yoga because it seems like such a pretentious form of exercise, like Pilates.  In both cases, the people doing the exercises seem to barely be moving.  But they're all in way better shape than I am, so who am I to say it doesn't work?

Hugh Laurie, not the guy from yoga.
There was only one guy in the class and his mat was set up next to mine. He looked like a younger Hugh Laurie, but with slightly less 5 o'clock shadow. We had a pleasant chat before class but sadly, he did not share Hugh's beautiful British accent. He wore tan socks, black shorts, and a shirt that exposed his hairy belly when he reached in the air. Also, he swore a lot under his breath while trying to balance in particularly odd positions. I can't say that I didn't feel the same way.

Although I'm not completely sold on yoga, I can see the appeal.  The lights were dimmed, there was quite music playing with chirping birds in the background, and it was just slightly too warm in the room.  Perfect conditions for what a friend of mine in college referred to as "Nappy Time," which was usually a ten-minute nap followed by making out to Counting Crows.

We stood barefoot on our mats (I kept my socks on because I didn't realize we'd be barefoot and my nail polish is chipped) and contorted ourselves into positions like "The Monkey Pose," which my monkey-loving daughter said reminded her nothing of a monkey and came up with a different pose to better suit the name.

Next, we laid down on our backs, put our right ankle on our left knee and lifted our left leg straight up in the air pulling it towards our chest. I don't know what this move is called, but I've named it "Burning Calves and Broken Winds."  As we did this my friend and Zumba instructor, who was next to me, whispered, "This is good for us.  Zumba shortens our muscles."  I have no idea what that means, but I assume it's Fitness-speak for, "Pain is weakness leaving the body, even if that pain is caused by contorting yourself into unnatural positions."  She said something about having wine after class, so I smiled, nodded, and tried not to cry as the weakness left my body.  I'm assuming gas is also weakness leaving the body.

After our contortions we stretched our bodies straight out on the floor, pointing our toes and reaching our arms above our heads.  The instructor told us to stretch as if there was someone pulling our arms and legs.  This immediately brought to mind a movie I saw a long time ago where a person was drawn and quartered, which is a polite way of saying they tied his arms and legs to four horses and had them run in opposite directions.  This was not a peaceful thought, and I instantly tensed every muscle in my body at the idea of being torn to pieces, which counter acted the 45 minutes of stretching I had just done.

This kind of thing frequently happens to me when trying to relax.  I'm not a relaxed person by nature.  I've been accused of being high-strung and wound tighter than a top.  I'm comfortable with this.  In fact, I am completely comfortable with being uncomfortable.  I enjoy being in a cat-like state of readiness at all times.  Being too relaxed sometimes sends me into a total panic.

When I got home I realized that I was not at all relaxed as I expected to be, but completely wound up.  I was talking really fast and couldn't stop pacing for about ten minutes.  My sleep was restless and I had repetitive dreams about falling from various places; off bridges, buildings, scaffolding, and airplanes without a parachute. 

This morning, my whole body ached (probably from all the falling).  While waiting for my kid's bus I paced the full length of the porch windows like a caged tiger at the zoo wondering, "Is the bus late?  Is it coming at all?  Did we already miss it?"  Day 1 of yoga has not seemed to make me any less high strung.  I'll keep going for at least a while because I already bought the yoga mat, but I look forward to Zumba tonight where the music is loud, the movements are fast, and the instructor tells you if you put your leg down you're a loser. 

Also, only one person farts in Zumba and it's not me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This man was a Yoga teacher