Have you been to Yoga? What do you think of it?
This will be the first installment of a hoped-for, several-part series (where I keep you apprised of my progress..)These accounts will detail my introduction to the wonderful world of Yoga…
It’s my fault: I’d threatened it for years: I told everyone I was going to enroll in Yoga classes.
I’ve always regarded Yoga Folk (Are there such?) as having a certain inner peace I want. They’re the ones I see along green places, in nature, communing, as they contort their bodies in pretzel-like fashion. They never care about anyone watching…
The need to perform physically-fluid movement should have been a giveaway, as to why Yoga might not work for me.
To think I could fashion my body in modes that only work for children, Cirque de Soleil gymnasts, or those who’ve been following the lifestyle for years was my undoing.
This past Christmas, one daughter gave me a 30-day pass to a Yoga spa in Asheville. And because she wanted me to be prepared for the occasion, she got me the floor mat to go along with that pass.
All I needed to do was show up. Yesterday, I went to my first-ever class.
I was directed to put my things (jacket, purse) in a cubby, along the wall. Having done that, I proceeded to the big room where some 30 people were already convened, their mats strategically spread out… water bottles nearby.
As I walked across the floor, a woman closest to the door (self-appointed monitor, perhaps?) shouted out, “Woah…Your shoes!” I thought she meant I had toilet paper stuck to one (I’d gone to the ladies’ room) and glanced down.
Seeing nothing wrong, I said “Please?”
She answered: “No shoes in this room.” Just that. A short…swift, non-welcome to one who’d broken a cardinal rule of Yoga…I wondered, inside: “I thought these were gentle folk…What gives with the attitude?”
From that point on, it was “Pure awful.”
The instructor seemed nice enough. Told how much he admired the person for whom he Yoga-substituted that day…how we students had to build a stable base before we added to the heights of Yoga we’d achieve…His voice was soothingly hypnotic.
I took my place in the last row. When we did warm-up moves, our guru directed us to finger the wall (to unlock our shoulders), and since I was at the only unoccupied area in a crowded room, I had little wall space….
I’d only learn my “stuck status” when he called out the directive to turn, and repeat the movement in the other direction.
I couldn’t…my bit of wall space ended and a glass door presented.
In Lucille Ball fashion, I stood clueless, hoping no one noticed.
Actually, no one did, for my neighbors were all in some kind of Zen state.
Then we got into positions….On command, all around me, men and women got down on the mats and stretched out, holding positions akin to push-up’s without movement. They held themselves up, defying gravity, with their hands and feet planted firmly on the floor. I marveled at their athleticism.
But I wondered: “Why the Hell did the girl at the desk suggest this class to me?”
I knew, too: “If this is Beginners’ Yoga, I’m no candidate!”
For most of thirty minutes, I just stood. I’d given up all pretense of trying to follow his directive, as he called out, “Maintain your downward facing dog position.”
Whenever they hit the mats (often,) I became the one solitary vertical in the room, besides him.
At one point, he quietly sidled up to me and asked: “Are you all right?” (probably trying to find out if I were having one of those silent heart attacks we hear about.)
I said, “Oh, yes, I’m just a beginner.”
What I wanted to say was: “No…I’m not OK…I’ve got MS, and I can’t even begin to do these poses. In fact, I question whether any body should.”
Instead, after another few minutes, I simply rolled up my mat and tip-toed out…stopping by the desk to ask: “Is this really beginners’ Yoga?”
The girl at the desk appeared stunned. She apologized for whoever suggested this class might work for me. She’s now telling me about “Gentle Yoga,” (as opposed to “Tough Yoga.”)
So I ask you readers…What Yoga do you recommend for a 67-year-old, moderately-in-shape woman who happens to have minimal MS? I want to achieve that Zen state…but now, I just don’t know.
Yes, it’s April 1st., 2013, and the joke’s apparently on me….Got your own Funny Yoga Stories…Please feel free to “Share the Pain….and the Humor, too.”