Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Yoga, Yo

I tried a yoga class for the first time last night.  I must admit I have been curious about yoga for most of my adult life.  I've often been tempted to purchase a yoga mat and try it at home but then I remember: "The dogs will step on my head."  At our service auction at church last week, I (apparently caught up in the festive spirit of the 60s-themed event) signed up for a "yoga party" to be held in January. A few days later, I decided to check out the yoga studio's website to see what I'd gotten myself into.  The first introductory class is free - well, that's an offer I can't refuse.  The site did a good job of making me feel like beginners would be not be shunned, so I decided to give it a try.

I have a few reasons why I've wanted to try yoga.  For starters, the mind-body connection continues to elude me.  I seem to suffer from what the Buddhists call "monkey mind."  My brain is full of distracting worries and I do not know how to quiet them. Inner peace is a foreign concept to me. But, I truly, truly want to get there. Plus, yoga provides numerous physical benefits and since I'm expecting to need this body for at least a couple more decades* I should probably try to take care of it.  I do belong to a gym and actually show up there fairly regularly, but I feel like maybe I need both - the calorie-burning workout at my gym and the strength and flexibility-building of the yoga session. Maybe yoga will also help me to be more self-aware, to be able to stop myself in those moments when I find myself standing in my kitchen with a handful of cookies (usually some variety that I don't even like all that much).  I eat too much, I probably drink too much . . . yes, I have been relegated to the status of a walking Dave Matthews song.

I showed up at the studio about ten minutes before class, not really sure what to expect.  The lights were low and I caught the vague scent of . . . I guess I'm not sure what. It was akin to the aromatherapy scents you find at a spa when you get a massage (and since I've had three massages in my adult life, I think you'll agree that I'm an expert on this). There was a sign on the desk that read "bare feet only after this point."  I peeked around the corner and found the instructor, who helped me get set up with a mat and other equipment (a strap that is used for certain poses, a blanket, and a cork block that looked like an over-sized brick). I was relieved to see that it was a small class.  I knew I'd feel self-conscious regardless, but if I have to look like a dork, I'd rather have as small an audience as possible.

As soft music played, I did my best to keep up through the series of yoga poses.  The instructor called it "your practice" as in, "you may want to add inversions to your practice."  I inherited bad hips from my mom (thanks again, mamacita!) and struggled with a bit of discomfort on a few of the poses, but mostly I did manage to get my chubby limbs into something vaguely close to what was expected.  I noticed that I was the only one in the room who broke a sweat, but also knew that the other students had been coming for quite a while. Oh, and get this - it turns out that "downward dog" is a legit pose and not just some made-up thing you say when making fun of yoga. At the end, we laid on our mats and the instructor handed each of us a cooled eye pillow (filled with flax seeds, I believe?) There is a multi-syllable term for this meditative period, but I forget what it is.  I really enjoyed it.  I did feel, for just a second there, like I was truly at rest - physically and mentally.

After class, the instructor told me that I'd done well (and didn't even add "for your first time").  I definitely plan to go back.  I also need one of those eye pillows, I think. The things I won't be able to see! Naked Barbies on the floor of my home, glitter from art projects all over the couch, a sliding glass door perpetually smeared with with dog slime. I may just strap that tiny pillow to my head full-time.


*My daughter apparently does not expect me to be around that much longer because she keeps starting sentences with, "Mama, when you're dead . . ."  A few weeks ago it was, "Mama, when you're dead can I have your marrying dress?"

3 comments:

radioactivegan said...

Just hope that she's not got the ESP ;)

Mary said...

Yoga or no Yoga I'm getting me one of those eye pillows!! I have to say also that I had a 45 minute with needles sticking in me today and it was actually relaxing. When the acupunturist came in to take them out it seemed like 15-20 minutes at most. Can't wait to get me some more....;)Thanks for the yoga info. though, I almost went to a class but one of my surgeries was about a third of the way through so just didn't go. Hope to sometime!

Steph K said...

Wait-did you just quote Dave Matthews???