I have a love-hate relationship with yoga. I love to hate it. Nothing about my body that has ever been considered delicate, graceful flexible. Even when I was a kid reach my toes I’ve tried several times to do yoga each his wound up looking like a National Geographic video of an elephant seal the Flop around on the beach.
I tried to do yoga one time in a class. I kept falling over. I don’t mean I just fell over. I mean full on face plant, smashed my glasses, bruised my nose, had black eyes for days fell over. I have so many friends that embrace what their bodies can do through the grace of yoga. I have friends who have their own Studios and they teach other people how to glorify the human form in these odd positions. I fall down standing up. I find it a miracle I can walk in a straight line some days. I marvel at my friends doing these wonderful moves: crouching pigeon, warrior, mountain, and downward-facing dog. Can we talk about downward-facing dog for a minute? Downward-facing dog looks nothing like a dog in any position. When my dog would have her bottom up in the air her little tail would be wagging back and forth and her face would be looking at me. I thinl we should rename downward-facing dog to something more like butt up in the air. It looks more like my cat when she has a case of elevator butt. Maybe that’s whatnot should be called. Maybe we need to come up with new names for these positions.
I get the allure of yoga. Much in the same way meditation helps you get back to right, yoga is a spiritual practice. It helps you get back in touch with your true center, with your true being. I want to be one of those people that can do it. But i just can’t get my brain to shut up. It’s bad enough my body doesn’t want to cooperate. Factor in that my brain fights against me and I wind up having misaligned chakras and vertebra.
Most of the time that I’ve ever tried to do yoga I wind up thinking, Am I doing this right? Do I look stupid? Is my arm straight? Am I about to fart? I’m about to fart. If I relax like she’s telling me to, I’m going to fart. I don’t want to fart. Did someone else just fart? Oh my God, they just farted. Am I allowed to laugh? Should I laugh? I shouldn’t laugh because if I laugh I’m going to fart.”
This is literally what goes through my head during these yoga classes. I look at these little twenty year old girls who haven’t had any kids yet and they’re pulling their legs up over their head They turn themselves into a lowercase letter L. Literally just one straight line. I couldn’t be more proud of them and hate them so much at the same time. On the flip side of that, I have friends who are a little fluffier than those twenty year old girls. They revel in what their bodies can do even though they are not going to be featured on the cover of any fitness magazines anytime soon. And I love that they’re so confident in what their bodies can do. I love that they’ve train their bodies to be comfortable in these positions in front of people. What’s even more amazing is that they’ve trained their minds to be that comfortable.
I’m pretty convinced ninety eight percent of my problem with yoga is not what my body refuses to do but what my brain refuses to allow my body to do. I just wish I could get past the insecurities of wanting to be perfect right out the gate. I’ve found myself in those classes surrounded by people who have been there for weeks already. They know the routines. They know everything: how to stand and how to place their feet. For me, it’s a virtual nightmare. It feels like those nightmares when you have when you show up to class and you’re naked without your homework. I walk into those studios feeling like I didn’t do my homework. Then I have to bend over in front of everyone, naked. It’s not a pleasant idea for me.
And I know, you’re not actually naked in the classes. Some of those outfits do not leave a whole lot to the imagination. It seems to me, the better you are at yoga the less clothing you wear. And yes, there is naked yoga. That is not a class I need to joining any time soon.
I think the thing I love best about yoga is yoga pants. Can we talk about the wonder and glory that is yoga pants. I love yoga pants. They are fun and functional. They are comfy and stretchy. They are soft and flexible. Yoga pants are everything I want in clothing. It’s like wearing pajamas but they can still be worn to Wal-Mart with out being judged. It is socially acceptable to wear yoga pants outside. I can even wear them to work if I wear a sweater that covers my butt. Could it get any better?
I’ve tried doing yoga at home to eliminate the shame and embarrassment of body image and processes. I’ve bought a couple DVDs. I’ve watched a few YouTube videos. This is not something you should attempt at home. At some point, a member of your family is going to wake up, walk out into the living room, and see you with your butt sticking up into the air and they are going to think you have lost your mind. They may be right.
I tried to do one position one time from one of the videos I bought. You know the one with that guy. He does the thing. Yeah, that one. You know what I’m talking about. This position involved twisting your legs around each other and wrapping your arms around each other. Then you’re supposed to be standing straight up. I attempted this and fell down. And by fell, I mean I crashed to the ground. I fell into my coffee table and turned into a pile of sharp, stabby splinters. There is nothing more embarrassing than having to call emergency services because you thought you were capable of yoga. I was inching across the floor to reach my phone to call an ambulance because I had fallen and hurt my leg and head. Even more so, I was stuck. There’s nothing more embarrassing having random strangers enter your home to see you lying on the floor like someone hunted you or hit you on the side of the road. Once I was untangled, a paramedic recommended to me that I speak with a physician before starting an exercise program. Thanks. That makes me feel so much better about myself.
I get why people do yoga. I do. It’s not like aerobics or running. It’s not spin class with booming bass or weight machines you need a degree to be able to use. Yoga is calming, quiet, and soothing. You usually have Yanni or Enya playing in the background. Aromatherapy helps to set the mood. And, my favorite part, it’s a dark room and at the end you get to take a nap. There’s actually a pose – it’s called the Dead Man’s pose – and you get to just lie there. That is a position I can get behind. You just lie there and bask in the warmth of your yoga experience. Nine times out of ten, everyone surrounding you is falling asleep. More snoring people are farting. They call that a relaxing experience. It’s supposed to be calming, grounding, and centering. And all I can think of is, “Oh my God. Thank God we have the incense going with all these people farting.”
In some classes your instructor will tell you you to focus on your head and focus on your neck. Bring your focus on your arms. You work your way down. As soon as I get to my stomach I’m focusing on the fact that I’m hungry and I want something to eat. The more I think about being hungry, the more my stomach starts grumbling. Then we have a disquieting sound occurring in what’s supposed to be a calming, meditative state. And all I can focus on is my stomach and how I’m about to chow down on some pizza after my yoga session.
Yoga makes you hungry. I’m pretty sure pizzas are not part of the yoga lifestyle. I’m sure you’re supposed to drink some kale shake with protein powder and guava juice. That’s another thing about getting into shape and being healthy. I’m sorry, but I’m going to go back to what I said earlier. All those people who sat nothing tastes as good as skinny feels and I’m over here like, “But have you tried tacos?” Those are amazing.
Could you imagine life without tacos? I can totally imagine life without yoga. I can’t imagine life without tacos I think they’re pretty much the most perfect food on the planet. Other than pizza. Got to love pizza.
But, I can understand. I can understand wanting to take better care of yourself. This is part of the whole self care thing. If you’ve got the time, space, and desire to bend yourself like a crazy Bavarian pretzel, that’s awesome. If it makes you happy. Then do you.
I know there’s kids yoga. I ised to teach it to the kids in the daycares I worked at. But I’d like to be able to do something without my kids around once in a while. I love my kids but every now and then Mommy needs a time-out too.
I just think it would be nice to not have to worry about my body doing things. I know I focus on that a lot. And maybe starting a practice of gentle yoga wouldn’t be a bad choice. I’m getting older. I sit a lot. It wouldn’t be a bad choice to move my body in a way that challenges it. Although I will say sometimes challenging my body is literally just getting up off the couch and walking to the bathroom. I find it very strange when I was a kid fall down all the time. Now when I’m hurt people ask me how I got hurt and I say I slept wrong. How do you sleep wrong? I can add sleep to the things I can’t do right some days.
So maybe on top of adding a daily meditation, I can start doing some yoga in the morning. Something small, something that doesn’t require me bending my back into an s-shaped position with my legs in a figure eight behind my neck.
It’d be interesting to see what I could do if I stuck with it. That may be a little bit of my problem, too. I start lots of projects and I don’t finish them. But maybe, if it meant enough to me, I could actually do this. Maybe I could actually challenge my body and stretch it. It could be possible that by the time I’m fifty I could reach my toes standing up.
It probably wouldn’t be a bad thing to have my family do this with me. It would be nice to do something together. Because we all need to take care of our bodies. They haven’t figured out how to replace bodies yet. You have got to take care of the one you have.
So I will research. I will look into doing yoga. It may not be much at first. Five to ten minutes at a time. Just to get into it. But I’ll try it again. I’ll see if I’m able to do it and maybe try harder than one time. I will make an effort to be to be kinder and gentler with my body. I will be more respectful and reverant of my body.
Today, I will do yoga.