Curious Alice Goes to Yoga Class

Last week I learned that there was a yoga studio in my home town.  I was surprised, as generally the height of culture here in my small Texas town is going to a gun show.  It had an interesting name, though.  They called it “Christian Yoga”.

Alice was curious.

It cost ten bucks, so I figured at the very least I’d get an amusing anecdote for my blog out of it.  I admit a bit of trepidation.  I mean, why “Christian” Yoga?  As opposed to what?  Islamic Yoga?  Jewish Yoga?  Scientologist Yoga?  I mean, I’m fairly certain Yoga is not relegated to any one religion.  My best guess is that they were trying to assure Christians that they wouldn’t be converted to some weird foreign and possibly Satanic religion while contorting into various positions.  That’s just silly.  I mean, why would you think Yoga would do something bizarre like that?

Oh.  Right. Okay, so I went in expecting just about anything.  Would there be creepy dead Jesus crosses on the wall?  Because regular crosses are not so bad, but when he’s hanging off them like that, it kind of weirds me out. There were no crosses.  No big posters with sappy biblical sayings.  Okay.  I relax a little.  There’s a nice lady teacher, and she’s cool with me being a little late despite speeding all the way there with my hands clenched on the steering wheel.  Yeah, I know the irony there.

There were only four other students, and most of them looked older than I did.  Score.  I figure I can do as well as they can.  Or better.  I have at least tried out a few videos.  There’s a wall of mirrors on the opposite wall, like in a dance class.  It’s convenient in that we can see ourselves as we pose.  It’s also horrific.  I make sure to move into the center of one mirror, as otherwise I look twice as big as I am.  That’s not relaxing.

We start out lying on our mats.  I brought my extra cushy one.  It’s way cushier than the mats of the other students.  Poor saps.  While we’re lying there with our eyes closed, the teacher reads a one sentence verse from the Bible.  “Thou must not poke thy neighbor’s eye out” or something like that.  But that’s it.  Then we’re ready to begin with sun salutations.  She adds a few different words to it, like when we open our arms we are opening “to grace”.  Just in case we thought we were worshipping the sun.  We’re just saluting it, so it’s cool.

As it turns out, cushy mat might not have been the best idea.  While it helps my knees on the lunges, my feet keep sinking into it and slipping around.  I am a drunk Warrior One and Two.  But I don’t fall down.  I wobble. Like a Weeble.  A Weeble doing Yoga.  Tree pose is even worse.  In Tree pose, you stand on one leg with the other leg bent with your foot on your thigh.  I think it’s a lot more like a Flamingo than a tree, but maybe there weren’t very many Flamingos in ancient India.  After my tree nearly falls over, I decide to move off the mat and near the wall.  Much better.

Just like in school plays, I fail at being a tree.

Just like in school plays, I fail at being a tree.

There’s a lot of movement here.  This pose, then this pose, and then this pose, and back to this pose.  She has to move my leg around a few times.  I have forgotten left from right and where my knees are.  But she moves a few other people too, so it’s not just me.  I can probably still get my A out of this.  Wait.  No grades.  Stop it, Alice.  A competition, Yoga is not.  Says Yoga.  Yoda.  Crap.  She’s moving again, keep up!

Yoga is just full of these awkward poses.  One is Downward Dog.  If you think like a ten-year-old, as I do, that name probably makes you snort.  Until you try it.  Basically you get on all fours and stick your butt way in the air.  Very dignified like.  I’m not sure if I’m doing it right or not.  Is there a proper way to point your butt?  Are the others pointing their butts properly?  In my position, I can’t see if I’m still the best.

Does my butt look big in this pose?

Does my butt look big in this pose?

Not that this is a competition.  After a while, I start sweating.  And we’re not even doing hot Yoga.  People think Yoga is wimpy exercise.  These people have not tried it.  Just try doing the “Triangle” for instance.  Your legs are wide apart and you are leaning over with one arm up in the air. Holding these poses is tough.  I just hope to God there isn’t a pose called the Hexagon coming up.

But so far, I’m doing pretty well.  At least I think I am, until I look over and realize the teacher and the rest of the class are doing the pose exactly opposite of the way I’m doing the pose.  Suddenly I’m that one little ballerina that’s off doing her own thing while the other ballerinas are all lined up like tiny dolls.  I guess it could be worse.  At least I didn’t lift my skirt over my head like my Thing One did at her first dance recital.  She did have the excuse of being four-years-old, though.

I Yoga by the beat of my own drummer.  Or something.

I Yoga by the beat of my own drummer. Or something.

At long last, we’re allowed to go back to our mats, vertebrae by vertebrae.  As in, don’t flop your butt down on the mat.  I’m not sure if I hit each vertebrae in my spine.  Is that points off?  There are no points, Alice.  The teacher walks around and hands us blankets and bolsters.  This is the easy part here.  Corpse pose.  That’s a really spooky name for a pose.  Like we’re dead.  I prefer to call it collapsing from exhaustion pose.

Yet this easy pose is really not all that easy.  My back hurts.  She offers me a chair to prop my legs in.  Better, except I don’t think I’d fit in a coffin very well that way.  I try to relax, but like in Kindergarten when they told us to nap and we didn’t want to nap (why???), I find myself having a difficult time relaxing.  Breathe in, breathe out.  It is nice lying there in the dark, eyes closed.  You can even get a bean bag to put over your eyes to block out the light.  No word on whether we get to do bean bag tosses later.

Too soon, nap time’s over and we have to get up.  We sit together and have tea. Yes, Alice has a tea party after Yoga.  Naturally. Will I go back?  I think so.  I like Yoga, even with the wobbling and the wtf poses.  And the STUFF.  I mentioned stuff before, right?  I’ll tell you more about Yoga merchandizing next time.

Check out these other cool Yoga posts from my peeps in da bloggerhood:

Miss Four Eyes – The People You Meet at Yoga

Rarasaur – Blogging is Like Yoga

Carrie Rubin – Yoga Yoda Helps Me Find My Ergonomic Zen

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27 responses

  1. Willie on “Duck Dynasty” called one yoga pose “The Spine Snapper”. 🙂

    1. Link, please! I can totally believe that. I’ve looked at some of the more advanced poses and . . . holy crap how do you practice those without killing yourself?

  2. After watching that video clip, I wonder if I’m really doing yoga at all. I never pant like a dog, and I don’t wear a near bikini while bending my body in unflattering positions…

    But you’re right–yoga can be challenging. That’s what’s kind of nice about it–you can make it as challenging or relaxing as you want for any particular day.

    Wonderful post. Gave me some great laughs. And thanks so much for the mention!

    1. Yoga always involves panting and whiplash. Gawd, Carrie. Seriously, I am enjoying learning (obsessing?) more about it. I can do tree pose much better now. That felt really good to be able to hold the position without a TIMBER.

      1. If Alice falls in the empty woods doing tree pose, would she still make a sound?…

  3. Your doodles are the best! You are so right about yoga not being a wimpy exercise. Where did that come from anyway? It’s really hard! And doing yoga to relax doesn’t help either. I’ve never been more stressed than I am in yoga class! Most of time I’m worrying about falling over (and accidentally farting). I like nap time though 🙂

    1. Drawing on Paint is a challenge in itself. NO DON’T COLOR THE WHOLE PAGE! CRAP! But thank you.

      Stressed in yoga class – only the two of us could do that. I’m always checking out the other people like – better than her, and her, and her . . . bitch. The nap time is the best. I’m getting a pretty new bolster and an eye pillow (the weighted darkness is nice. I’d like to wear it around all the time.)

  4. I love your stories. Tell another! Tell another!

    1. Um . . . I have gotten absolutely nothing done all day so far! That’s not really a story. Crap.

      1. Well, now I feel bad because I did get some things done today. Sorry!

  5. I agree with you and MissFourEyes, yoga ain’t wimpy. I haven’t yet met someone who said that who has actually been to a class.
    I particularly enjoy when our teacher (cosy-granny-in-her-60s looking lady) demonstrates the dolphin pose (a sort of hideous downward dog crossed with dynamic press-ups thingy) whilst saying calmly ‘this is quite hard, so don’t strain, just do a few’ and there are new fit people in the class with ‘how hard can that be’ written all over the face…then they do a couple and you can see awe dawning, as they realise cuddly-granny-teacher actually has abs and biceps of steel.
    I’d guess ‘Christian Yoga’ as opposed to ‘Hindu Yoga’ since way back when, yoga was a school in that massive philosophical tradition. But, you know, I don’t recall ever going to a yoga class and coming out feeling like worshipping Ganesh.

    1. Haha, yes, it is amazing what people can do with Yoga. I got this video for elderly people doing yoga thinking that would be more my speed. Holy crap those guys were in way better shape than I was. Like WTF.

      I live in the Bible Belt, so I’m used to having Christian tagged onto just about everything. But like you, I’ve never felt like worshiping Ganesh afterward. I mean Zeus, sure, but not Ganesh.

      1. I’ve noticed how even WordPress is more Christian than I’m accustomed to. Made me realise just how secular Britain is these days, even in my Presbyterian north west corner.
        If you’re on a yoga merchandise spree, I did an inventory of my consumption – called ‘How to be brilliant at yoga and meditation’ only there was so much, I had to split it into 2 parts *hangs head in shame* Not that you’ll be wanting to buy anything from the UK, as doubtless you get it for half the price in the US.
        I’ve still not got those hotpants, though.

        1. How funny! Heading right over there to check it out.

  6. 😀 I posted it to MissFourEyes, too, but there was a neat article in early March about what your Yoga strengths say about you: http://bluegrassnotes.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/learning-yourself-through-yoga/

    I love the “stuff” part of Yoga, which is probably the least zen thing you can say, but it’s true. 😀 I also love, love the doodles in this! You did it on Paint? Impressive!!

    1. Thanks! I love these little quiz thingys you find – so cool. I still haven’t put up that other one, what was it? The type of blogger you were? And mine was something like cupcakes? I forget. Going to check it out.

  7. Yoga is the best. I am a fan of the corpse pose. I usually do actually pretend I am dead because I usually feel like I could die, and then I take a nap. It’s kinda embarrassing – most of the time I wake myself up by snoring.

    1. I about put myself to sleep – it was a variation of the corpse pose, I think laying down lotus or something with a bolster under my knees and the eye pillow over my eyes. Totally awesome.

  8. I’m glad you liked the class!!it sounded really cool!!

    1. Yeah, it’s fun until somebody breaks their neck. Wait. I mean, yeah it was fun.

  9. If you enjoyed it then it’s worth going back. It does sound rather fun, in an odd sort of way! Although I suspect you spent half the time going “this is going to make a brilliant blog post”…

    1. You know me so well. 😀

  10. Oh was reading your wonderful post today and noticed the video of Ana Brett — have you done the Kundalini Yoga work? There was a time I was addicted to her Beginners DVD – still have it… and now may have to revisit. It’s different than your traditional Hatha yoga — super energizing with tons of working breath. Pretty interesting stuff! Be careful and have fun! ~ Robyn

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  13. I don’t know much about Christian yoga (ok, apparently Dr. Seuss isn’t the only gaping hole in my education), but they probably should make up some Christian-specific poses, like Ascension or Turning the Other Cheek.

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