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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Yoga Shenanigans


~By Alex~
My mom and I recently thought it would be a good idea to begin a mother daughter yoga class. This decision came about partially because I am the type of person that makes an effort to avoid every kind of sport (sports, coincidentally, also seem to make an effort to avoid me. I have tried everything from rowing to soccer but I have been almost painfully bad at everything. We figured that yoga would be the method of exercise in which I would be least likely to hurt myself and/or others) and partially because we are cute and cheesy and essentially do whatever the show Gilmore Girls tells us to. From this class, I have so far learned two things (neither of which entirely related to yoga):
1.     I am about as flexible as a #2 pencil
2.     I would be incredibly easily persuaded to join a cult.
Let me provide you with some context.
My mom and I prepared to proudly march into our yoga class with the gait and swag appropriate of the two out of shape beginners that we are.
So, we strutted proudly into the door and examined our fellow classmates. An old lady and a woman that had clearly just had a baby.
Hah! We thought, We shall impress them with our abilities! Our limberness and grace, unhindered by old age or convalescence, will be unmatched! We shall be the champions of Yoga!
This is where things started to go wrong.
We took out our new yoga mats, which had been so recently taken out of the plastic wrapping (I had been desperately trying to find scissors to open them in the car so we wouldn’t look like total amateurs) that they kept curling back up on themselves, and would only stay down if we spread our body eagle style on top of them. Coincidentally, there is no way to do this while looking graceful.
Then, I realized that the old lady next to me may be potentially the most frightening person I have ever met in my whole life. She clearly considered herself to be a yoga master, and she was determined to prove it to the teacher, my mother and I, and the lady who had probably been giving birth not even a month prior. She was a bona fide yoga professional and gosh darn if she wasn’t going to show every single member of that four-member suburban yoga class.
As soon as my mother and I entered the room, she started glaring at us, as though sizing us up for lunch. And as soon as we laid our embarrassingly new yoga mats down, she smirked like she knew she had gained the metaphorical upper hand, and started doing some very painful looking stretches. I’m pretty sure she was also breathing fire.
And this was all before class had even begun.
At this point, our yoga instructor came in. She was everything you would expect a yoga instructor to be; small, lithe, was probably a hippie in the 60s, and could contort her body in ways that aren’t physiologically possible, from a strictly scientific standpoint.
The class began fairly benignly. We did some simple stretches like crossing our legs, touching our toes (I actually couldn’t accomplish this), and rotating our shoulders.
I was on a roll. I was a leg crossing, almost toe touching, shoulder rotating FIEND. I was doing yoga and I simply was not afraid to show it. I raised my chin a little higher and raised my eyebrows at the petulant old lady next to me. Yeah. That’s what’s up. I ROLLED that shoulder.
Little did I know, I was being lulled into a false sense of security. Suddenly, the instructor stopped rolling and stretching and crossing and began slightly more complex things. Slightly meaning head standing and this horrible thing where you put your ankles over your shoulders and balance on your hands.
I fell over more than a little, and every time, the evil lady’s smirk became just that much more contemptuous.
My mom and I had accidentally signed up for the advanced class.
To make things worse, our instructor kept distracting me the entire time by saying things like ‘breathe in to your third eye!’ and ‘open up your seventh chakra!’. It sounded like she wanted us to join a cult. Either that, or she stole it from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Regardless, it was incredibly irritating, and I would have almost rather that she had not said anything at all.
But, as I said, I am incredibly weak-willed (cult joining, etc.). As the lesson progressed and my judgment became more and more blurred (due to the extreme heat in the room, the overwhelming incense, and my ever-increasing exhaustion from months of physical inactivity),  so my reaction to her hippie mantras progressed from mild irritation to dismissing it as an endearing quirk to acceptance: ‘yes, I will breathe into my chakras. My third eye and I have had a great time. Namaste, or whatever’.
By the time the lesson was over, my mom and I were completely worn out. As we were on our way out, the scary lady suggested with a thinly veiled snide tone that perhaps we should take the Wednesday class, as it’s much less crowded and it would really be more appropriate for our level.
We didn’t dignify that with a response.

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