Thursday, July 16, 2009

Now Breathe Into Your Right Lung

I did something really out of my comfort zone tonight. I attended a yoga class. I just did it without too much thinking because I would have chickened out if I spent time on it. I called the place and asked for the basics (What should I wear? Just what I wear to the gym.), and texted my sister right before leaving my house for last-minute details. (Do you wear shoes in yoga? No for fear of slippage.) 

I bought a series of yoga classes about ten years ago but quit after my first one because it was really terrible. The instructor was very anal and spent the hour-long class repeating my name over and over as an indicator that I wasn't doing it right. Over and over. For an hour. (I now also think it was vinyasa, which was too advanced for me.) So this time I made it a point to tell them when I registered that I was brand new, hoping that would set the stage.

I don't know what I think. I didn't really like it. It's definitely, definitely not user or newbie friendly at all, in my opinion. All the pose names and weird descriptions (Breathe into the center of your skull. Now let your forehead melt away.) I sweated my ass off - I wanted to say, COULD WE GET A LITTLE A/C IN HERE? - and my knees were killing me about half-way through. Some of the other kids in the class seemed ridiculously serious, with their aluminum water carriers and "This white t-shirt is green" shirts. I had on my "Just Do It" garb and accidentally burped at one point. The whole thing seemed a skosh elitist, I have to say. 

However, I will say that I liked the sensation of stretching so thoroughly, and I really liked the fifteen minutes at the end where we just lay in the dark. That was fun. (I thought about surfing.) I also found the instructor to be pretty authentic and compassionate. I got some very good vibes from her, which I really appreciated after my last experience. She also has a slammin' bod. Did yoga do that? Depending on how I feel in the morning, I think I'll try it a few more times and make a decision at that point.

Also of note, I went for a jog today after a two week absence. Ouch. We're going through a god-awful heat wave right now and I thought I could beat the temps by going early-ish. It didn't work - it was 80* by 10:30 and I almost melted on the pavement. (80* is my max running temp.) BUT I did make it two miles jogging/walking (I alternate), and for the very first time in my life didn't have shin splints! It's a miracle. I felt minor irritation, but nothing like the daggers I've experienced daily up until now. Sincere thanks to the brilliant Stacey and genius D for explaining calf/shin stretches over e-mail. You kids are the best! 


  1. And, no, it wasn't Bikram or hot yoga. It was just too hot for me.


  2. I went to one of Amy's yoga classes once. Kinda liked it. It kinda kicked my butt. Her instructor was super cool, encouraging people to fart and stuff. Seriously.

    But maybe that's the difference between Newberg and Portland. :-)

  3. I admit, I was glad it was just a burp.

  4. I love how you push yourself to try these things. I have to say that I recognised your feelings of being excluded by the precious world of yoga in the past - that's been my experience, too. I would have totally cracked up when you burped, so it's probably best you were there without me. It's revealing that your mind drifted back to surfing, though, don't you think? Maybe THAT'S your yoga? Admittedly, surfing isn't something you can do in your Living Room, so I can see why you might give yoga another chance.

    A heat wave in my beloved city? It's SO cold and wet here in Yorkshire. My heating went on the other day, which means the temperature had dipped below 64° and my outdoor solar lights flicked on during the afternoon one day last week. I can't believe I'm wasting another precious "Summer" in this country. I thought it was the miserable Winter I was looking to avoid but now I remember that it's really the depressing Summer.

    To quote John Cleese in 'Clockwise': "It's not the Despair. I can take the Despair. It's the Hope I can't stand."

  5. You paid money to lay in the dark for fifteen minutes? Whoa ...

  6. I don't like yoga either. I've tried it two or three times at different places (and one wasn't the bikram yoga but yeah, they made it hot!). But I really like pilates, for the stretching and the core work. If you haven't given it a try, you might like it better!

  7. You should keep going. Like for a month. Then decide if you hate it or not. Wait until they tell you to breathe thru your eyeballs and you don't think it's weird.

    Ps I've farted my way thru tons of yoga classes. Who's classy?

  8. I love how honest you are about your yoga experience. The burping. HA! Yoga is not for everyone, that's for sure. My coworker took a class here in Seattle that is specifically tailored to first time, newbie yoga people and she ended up really liking it.

    That reminds me, I need to get my ass to a yoga class.

  9. Once again, you are a trooper. I fuckin' H-A-T-E yoga, and I live in a city of mind-numbing, devout yoga followers. The last time I did a yoga pose, I ended up with a rug burn on my face. Yes, my FACE.

    Oddly enough, I do love me some Pilates. It's fat friendly, can be adapted to virtually any fitness level, and no one gets all elist & new agey about it. Ya get a great core workout, excellent stretching, and no one talks about fucking Chi.

    But if I lived in a perfect world, I'd be kayaking and hiking all day. I'll take Mama Earth over a gym any day.

  10. I signed up for Tai Chi one year at university, to try and combat stress. It sort of worked, in that as soon as I quit Tai Chi, I was considerably less stressed.

  11. I a huge yoga fan so I'm biased but I do have to say that maybe you just need a different studio. I tried several before I found one I was truly comfortable in. The place I found isn't elitist and has an amazing beginners program (which most studios don't have unfortunately). So I encourage you to give it another shot. :) It just might take some extra tries (I've been told that we're a little more lax here on the east coast when it comes to yoga -- no one has ever told me to breathe out of my eyes for example). Best of luck.