I went to my first yoga class recently. My husband gave me a gift certificate. I think it’s his way of getting me out of the house and away from the Home Shopping Network.
My friend, Danielle, and I showed up for the first “flow” class at 8:15am Saturday, a significant achievement for me since usually I’m still seeing the inside of my eyelids at that time of the morning. Julie, our instructor, as thin as a rubber band and equally stretchy, introduces herself and asks about our yoga experience. If you count the stretching and maneuvering I have done trying to find matching lids to Tupperware containers while hunched in a cabinet below the stove, I’m good.
Julie starts the class by asking for requests. I have a fleeting thought about shouting out ’Brick House’ by the Commodores but stifle it. We start in a cross-legged position, breathing deeply through our noses, trying to create a sound somewhat like an asthmatic cat clearing a particularly stubborn hairball.
After a few “ommmmms” Julie starts transitioning us to different positions with names like “Warrior”, “Downward Dog” and “Cobra.” I begin to think they should have names like, say, those extreme rides at amusement parks; The “Zipper”, “Terminator”, “The Rack” and “Death Stretch” come to mind.
At this point I’m way beyond the ‘Hokey Pokey’ and have entered someone’s version of “Twister” Hell. I no longer have any idea where my limbs are. “Be in the present,” Julie tells us, in one of those voices reserved for Mary Poppins and kindergarten teachers. I know I’m quite ‘present’ because I swear I hear my muscles screaming. Every now and then, Julie comes over and helpfully repositions me so that the muscle pain is even more exquisite.
My friend, Danielle, the human pretzel, gives me one of those ‘you’re doing great’ looks and I want to reach over and pull her mat out from under her. Instead, I consider the possibility of mastering these positions thereby becoming the bedroom gymnast my husband has always wanted.
I’m sweating profusely now.