My First Yoga Class
I would call myself a fairly athletic person. I’m not saying that I’m some ripped up jock. I’m not going to be the best guy on the floor playing a basketball. I’m not going to go out on a golf course and shoot par. I’m not going to run a 3:10 marathon (that time would qualify me for the Boston Marathon).
However, I’m not exactly a couch potato either. I have run three half marathon this year. All of them at a solid pace of around 8:20. I play quarterback on my beer league co-ed football team. I can do 60 or so push ups. I can bench my own body weight several times. I am training for a marathon. All in all I consider myself in “good shape”.
And then, this morning, I had a humbling experience:
My plan for the day was to do some light stretching, hit the speed bag for 5 minutes, hit the weight room to do some circuit training, more stretching. Home.
When I got into the multi-purpose room where the speed bag is located I saw that it was being set up for a class. Drats.
The instructor was in the room and asked, “Are you here for yoga?”
“Well, I am now.”
The yoga lady got me a mat, I took off my shoes and socks (rather unwillingly) and the next thing I knew I was sitting Indian style on the mat breathing in and out of my nose. For some reason there were only 5 of us in the class (good, less people to mock my inability to balance)
The instructor told us a few things:
1. People get stressed because breathing is not properly done. In through the nose, dowwwwwwwn DEEP into the diaphragm and back out through the nose.
2. If you ever want to make yourself cry take short breaths that only make it to your lungs. It will trick your brain into panic.
3. The reason old people need Depends is because they have weak muscles below the belly. (She seemed to harp on this point for longer than needed. I began to wonder if she had some form of personal experience with this via a family member. Especially seeing how all five of the people in the room were obviously under 30.)
4. This was the complimentary intro to her 8 week class that costs $189. The class will be held every Saturday. (Hmmmm….I do not like the sounds of that. I was hoping for a relaxing yoga session, not some hard sell intro class at the gym. Suddenly I am less relaxed.)
So here we go………………..
We start with the warm up:
We are raising our arms. We are putting them down. Our feet are together. Then apart. Then we are on the ground. Then we are getting up.
Within 5 minutes of this “warm up” I’m sweating through my shirt.
“Ok, now let’s get started”
All I can think is: “OH NO. This has embarrassment written all over it”
Downward Dog, stretch up, right foot up, raise up, back down, to the left, up, to the right, left foot up, back down, up, down, Downward Dog, back right foot up to the left on your right shoulder.
All I know is that I was sweating. My shirt was soaked.
I was light headed. I’m trying to breathe the way that the yoga lady said, but I was out of breath. I’m panting out of my mouth now instead of the DEEP nose breathing.
“OK, time for Warrior ONE pose”
Hmmmm. I have heard of this one before.
Nope, nope. NOPE. Within 2 minutes my left leg is shaking. My quads are on FIRE. I can barely hold myself up. It felt like mile 12 of a half marathon ONLY I WASN’T MOVING anywhere. How is this possible? HOW?
“Time for a rest”
Oh, thank you good lord.
30 seconds later………..
“Warrior TWO pose”
What? What? There is an upgrade? No…not possible.
“This one is a little tougher”
The next thing I know I’m going up one way, stretching the next. I’m dizzy. The yoga lady says right and I go left. As the yoga lady says “Can you feel yourself opening up?” I cringe…..
And then we are done with “The Warrior”
“Everyone put this purple block in between your legs!”
What the fuck kind of a class is this?
Now I have a purple block in between my thighs and I’m doing abs stretches. I have no energy left and I feel like….well, I’m feeling that maybe this isn’t a good look for me….the purple block in between my legs and all.
I am forced to keep this thing in between my legs for 5 minutes, but it feels like hours. The yoga lady “Hold that block tight. Squeeze those legs.”
My legs are in the air, my “lower back” is off the ground, I’m reaching forward with my arms to my sides, and I have this block in between my thighs.
I’m wondering when the disco ball comes down from the ceiling, Marvin Gay starts playing “Let’s get it on”, and a heart shaped bed comes out of the wall.
Finally, the block can come out from the legs.
So that’s what it is like to give birth…….
Time for the cool down.
Sitting. Lying down. Closing the eyes……ok, I’m cool with all of this.
“Now on your side and get in the fetal position”
Excuse me? This is getting creepy lady.
I’m on my side in the fetal position with my eyes closed and I’m not relaxed. I’m really wanting this to end.
We get back into our Indian style pose and the yoga lady has us put our hands together and bring them to our head, our lips, our hearts, and then she says Namaste. Is that right? Is that what they say?
Either way. It was over. I was dizzy. I was a little uncomfortable. I was DRENCHED.
I took a deep breath and decided that overall…..I liked it.
Of course, it hit me that this was the “intro session” and I had to book it before I got the sales pitch to take the class for the next 8 weeks.
You have never seen me put my shoes on faster.
I thanked the instructor and quickly left the room.
I feel great afterwards. My knee hurts less. I feel limber.
I think I’ll do it again.