Yoga. It’s primal, earthy, and peaceful. Basically it’s everything I’m not. But there’s just something exciting about stepping out of your comfort zone and into a completely new world. Well that, and the fact that everyone I know does yoga and I was beginning to feel left out which led me to have flashbacks of when I was a kid and my friends were eating Pop Rocks but my mom wouldn’t let me eat them because she said I would die. Even now when I see those crystalized particles of death (as my mother called them) I long to try them but fear stops me every time.
But fear won’t get the best of me with yoga. I decide it can’t be any more dangerous than Pop Rocks so I sign up for a class and prepare to enter the esoteric and transcendental world of yoga.
I walk into the International House of Yoga (at least I think that’s what it was called) with all the enthusiasm of a woman with a brand new yoga mat and I try to blend in. A woman so small I could fold her up and put her in my pocket smiles and tells me to grab two blocks, a bolster, and a yoga strap.
A strap? This is getting a little too Fifty Shades of Grey for me. Great, I’m out of the loop again; I never did read that book because it was clearly written for women who don’t fear Pop Rocks. If it weren’t for the $40 I spent on this new yoga mat, I’d be out the door. But I really want to take the plastic wrap off of this thing, so I forge ahead.
I take a spot in the back of the room because I don’t want to block anyone’s mojo or unbalance someone’s chakras and hopefully no one will hear any foul language that might escape my lips during this adventure way back here. I tear the plastic off my new yoga mat and attempt to spread it out, but it just keeps rolling back up. I try to look yoga-cool as I roll the mat out then throw my body on top of it, flailing my arms and legs to each corner in a desperate attempt to flatten the mat out before the class starts. I lay there for a moment hoping everyone will just think I’m meditating when a woman stops and asks if I need help.
“Oh no, I’m okay. I just like to stretch out a little before class. It’s a yoga position from the old country. My grandma taught me. It’s called ‘Awkward woman on new mat.’ It’s quite invigorating, but not for those who embarrass easily.”
“Just relax and have fun. You’re going to love yoga,” says the woman then adds, “My name is Cascade.”
“Oh, like the dishwasher detergent!” I blurt out like a mom with no life, which I am.
Cascade’s smile fades and her eyes narrow. “No, like a water fall in a pristine forest high in the mountains untouched by the ugly hands of the logging industry.”
“I don’t like logs either,” I stammer. “Cascade always leaves my glasses spot-free, just like an unlogged forest. I mean, it’s nice to meet you, Cascade.” It’s at moments like this that I wonder why I am allowed to leave my house and mingle with the public.
The instructor gets class started and I feel pretty confident until we get to downward dog. A couple bits of advice for any yoga newbies: 1) don’t lotion your hands right before yoga class. This will cause you to slip slowly, inch by inch, into a convoluted version of downward dog, resulting in an immediate loss of dignity; 2) always wear a tight shirt to do yoga as a loose-fitting shirt will end up covering your head and thereby exposing those problem areas you were trying to camouflage by wearing your husband’s old college tee shirt in the first place.
But I’m nothing if not resilient; I wiped off my hands then tucked my shirt into my yoga pants and gave it another try. Other than the four times I almost passed out trying to breath like the instructor said to breath, I felt pretty good. Yoga is actually quite relaxing and very empowering. When class is over, I feel like I could take on the world…or even a package of Pop Rocks.
Well, let’s not get crazy.