Yoga! Yoga! Yoga!
“Doctor, I need to lose a few pounds…”
“Have you tried yoga?
“… and I’m depressed…”
“I’ve heard yoga is good for that!”
“.. and anxiety-“
“So, yeah, yoga.”
“- and I think I lost the keys to my car-“
Perhaps I’m paraphrasing a bit but it is hard to recall an exact conversation when one is fighting to keep a shred of dignity as well as their jubblies covered while wearing a thin blue gown made of 1-ply.
However, I decided to take my doctor’s advice and since these were the days before the Covid I looked into this fad that’s been sweeping the nation for hundreds of years now. Scrolling through the websites of local studios I was, in a word, flummoxed. There was “Barre Yoga,” “Power Flow,” “Yin Yoga,” “Restorative” and “Hot Yoga.” The last of which seemed more apt to be on a menu than on a roster, but I quickly signed up for a beginners class and then added my friend Emily’s name because, let’s face it – if I’m going to be humiliated for being as flexible as a piece of petrified wood – I was going to need a witness.
Emily and I showed up 20 minutes early, clad in our outdated Yoga Pants from Target and clutching our oversized geek-inspired water bottles so that we could place our still-brand-new-smelling mats in a pristine spot: the very back of the class. Soon, the impossibly tiny blonde woman who commanded the front of the room read from her very spiritual five star notebook and bestowed upon her new peers the love of yoga, the power of positive affirmations, and a few personal anecdotes of how she came to follow the light to the end of the tunnel.
Still fuzzy on that last part as I stopped paying attention about halfway through her beautiful speech to study my classmates. Many were like me with quiet desperation to find tranquility oozing from their pores and radiating from them with more force than a hurricane pounding the Carolinas. Some were staring blankly, probably happy with some kid-free aloneish time. A few were of the soccer-mom-turned-empty-nester-variety who were quietly and expertly doing advanced stretches as Blondie up front started instructing. We were a motley crew of women, all ready for something to make us – more. And we were all in this together. At least for the next 45 minutes.
The yogi began explaining our poses, stances and feet placement and most of us struggled to comprehend how to make our bodies bend to the will of our minds as we had put our masses on auto-pilot right before Y2K didn’t happen and now struggled to regain control. “You! Spread your stance wider! Wider!” the woman encouraged. “You can go down further in that one! Down more! Down!” I looked over to see Emily, the target of this “encouragement” red-faced and muttering “I am NOT bendy. I am TRYING. I an NOT bendy!” which made me crack up and turned my Warrior Pose into less intimidating and more like a modified crab walk as I tried to stay upright.
Although the class was fine and – to the credit of all attending – not a soul glared at me when I accidentally drop-kicked my foam yoga brick across four others’ mats, we decided not to go back.
“Maybe ‘Hot Yoga’ will be better,” I thought as I clicked “confirm” on the screen and smiled at my commitment.
It was not.
Twenty minutes into the class I was sweaty to the point of embarrassment, my glasses were fogged up and kept slipping, and my cute, low braid I had painstakingly crafted before leaving the house that day had tried to choke me out during “Downward Facing Dog.” Twice.
“I quit,” I said to no one while sitting in the parking lot and airing out my accessible parts over the A/C vents. “Yoga wasn’t relaxing, it isn’t fun, and it isn’t for me.”
“This is sooo for me!” I cooed to Emily as she laid next to me on her own mat and we listened to the gentle music surrounding us.
“I know!” she whispered.
A few weeks after “Quitting yoga FOREVER!” we had found the mecca known as “Sloth Yoga” which encouraged slow movements, cool rooms, and no wrong answers when it came to answering the call of ancient poses.
Can’t stay in “Tree Pose?” Put one finger on a nearby wall.
Can’t roll down into “Table”? No problem – stay mostly upright like a recliner.
Can’t put your forehead to the mat in “Child’s Pose”? That’s cool. Just don’t.
The best part was when we spent the last 15 minutes of the class swaddled in blankets with expertly placed yoga bricks stacked under our aching knees.
“I LOVE yoga!” I whispered to the universe as I finally found the peace my doctor had prescribed all those months ago.
But I still never found those car keys…