Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Yoga Chronicles

It's autumn, which means I am a mentally labile girl.  I jump between my pool closing induced depression (which I still have not completed but will do Sunday), my "They are back to school I have the house to myself" euphoria (limited now thanks to Travis commuting to college from home),  the "It's not so bad I can wear a sweatshirt but still flip flops" self comforting mechanisms, and the "You'll be OK now, there is still alcohol" segue from crisp white wine to full bodied reds.

Oh, and yoga.  Back to yoga.

Yoga is not a summer activity for me.  I am sure that makes the true yoga lovers, (yogis? yougos?) blanch in their Uttanasanas, but I can't stomach the idea of sweating like a pig and face planting on a slick yoga mat in the middle of July. Those yoga people are all about too hot rooms and sweaty bodies, but I am not on that bus. Unless they come up with polar bear yoga in an air conditioned studio, you'll see me in September. I am not one that will wake at dawn and perform Sun Salutations, so yoga remains a cool weather sport for me. 

With the onset of Autumn, Friend Moe and I made a pact to attend at least one yoga class per week.  In the past I have written about my classes with Jeanne the Queen Yoga Mother, who pushes me to embrace my inner goddess.  I love Jeanne but I am a smidge disappointed to tell you that I have not attended a Jeanne led class this fall.  Instead, Friend Moe pulled a bait and switch and we go to Wednesday Vinyasa Yoga with Instructor Lauri. Here is Lauri, with the butt like a perfect peach and the arms like a gunnery sergeant.  Lauri, who tricks you with the peaceful reflection at the start of class, gently moving you into the warming stretches that lubricate your creaky middle aged joints, then, rapid fire BAM BAM BAM is kicking your ass from here to Rhode Island. And beyond.

I grew up an athlete.  Baseball, volleyball, softball, swimming, water skiing, basketball, I played them all.  On the field, court or in the pool I am a hard worker that is somewhat blessed with the ability to grasp a sport and be fairly competent at it.  Until Yoga.   I suck, suck, SUCK at yoga, people.  Compare and contrast my flexibility with that of a river rock, a hippo, or a Catholic School teacher.  Translation: I have no flexibility, which makes yoga really, really difficult.

I try not to look. I try to concentrate on my breathing and be in the moment but I cannot help but gawk at the chosen ones who can twist like pretzels and headstand like statues.  I catch myself thinking that their boyfriends and husbands (and maybe girlfriends too) must be over the moon about their ability to pull their legs around their ears and balance on their coccyx.  I am green with envy, which kind of shoots the whole Namaste theory to hell.  "The spirit in me is insanely jealous of the pretzel gene in you" is a closer version of the Namaste going through my head.

Yet I press on.  I balance on my wobbly legs and try poses that make the old lady hip cry out in protest.  I look like a drunk sorority girl on a Twister mat.  I thrill with every small victory, every touch of my big toe when bending from the waist, every ten seconds that I manage to hold a pose that everyone else is locked into for thirty.  I don't give up.  My hands dodge the sweat droplets that fall on my mat in the fear of slipping and landing on my face in front of the Goddesses. I really try. I work so hard I turn beet red.

Every now and then I catch Moe's eye and we smile.  I am grateful that after all these years she cares enough to push me to try things that I normally would count out because I am still working this weight battle.  Fat girls at yoga? Ridiculous. Or maybe not so much. Who would have thought yoga could change your body?  

Me. Who wakes up feeling like a Mack truck mowed her down, that's who.  The girl in the t-shirt who is not comfortable rocking the tight tank tops, but who usually has the cutest feet in the class. (I really do have adorable toes).  The girl that decided that every class she takes is a step closer to a stronger mind and  healthier body.  The girl that felt happy inside when Awesome Arms Lauri told her "I'm proud of how hard you work in my class".  The girl that is slowly, surely, finding a new sport to add to the "you have no choice you must move your body" list.

Namaste, ya'll.

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