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.
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.
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.
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