I had my first yoga class last night, not having gone since I was pregnant. of course, I had high hopes, because the yoga studio I went to before was really nice and very professional. just so you know where this post is going, that was what we call "foreshadowing."

these classes were being offered through the local high school adult studies whatever thingies, and were being held in the basement of a church that is within walking distance from me. and the cost is $10 a class. sounds pretty good so far.

so I get there, and as I had been told by a baseball mother who was the one to clue me into the whole thing, the instructor is a very new agey lady. what she didn't mention is that she is about 4 thousand years old. I got there 3 mins early, which apparently is late. the room was as full as a bingo hall at 5pm on a tuesday. I took a spot in the front row all the way to the side. it was BYOM (bring your own mat) and I didn't know that, so I improvised with a thick blanket we use for soccer and baseball games. I carry that and a folding chair at all times in my car.

so the deal is that she puts on music and we all sit on our mats and she turns off the lights and you do all the moves with your eyes closed. okay, right there, I should have realized that this might not be the yoga I am used to. no having her show you how to do the moves? she doesn't come and correct your form?

so the music is less ethereal and more...how you say...muzak-y. in fact, I think it's a slow version of tin man by america, done on the vibraphone. she's telling us to get on our backs and relax. relax your toes. relax the top knuckle of your toes. relax the top of your toes. relax the joint that attaches your toes to your foot. relax the ball of your foot. relax the spot where you always get a callous on your foot. relax your callous. relax your bunions. and so on.

we finally get to the head/face (relax your cheeks. relax your lower cheeks. relax your top lip. relax your tongue.) and then we do some stretching. which consists of holding your arms up in the air and slowly raising them above your head, all while seated.

this goes on for another 20 minutes. then we do one cat pose...just the one...and then finally we are on our feet.

she does tell us we can open our eyes just to make sure we get the next pose right. and if you can't handle any of these poses (like lying prone on the floor) just imagine yourself doing them! so we go into warrior pose. really, really slowly. I open my eyes to look around...warrior pose has you with your legs a good distance apart, your back foot planted perpendicular to you while your front foot faces forward, and you raise your arms to shoulder level and lean forward so you kind of look like you're surfing on your yoga mat. or blanket, as the case may be. anyways, I look around, and I am the only person doing that. everyone else has their arms up meekly, feet shoulder width apart, feet akimbo, looking like they cannot wait until we are done with this stupid pose and are back to raising one leg in the air, and then putting it back down, and switching.

and that concludes the standing poses. for real. immediately after that, we touch our toes, and then sit back down. then lay down. and for another 15-20 mins, we float on a cloud.

not that there's anything wrong with meditating. I probably could use it. but my back gets so sore lying on the floor like that. my tailbone aches. (who is the old fogey now??) so I couldn't wait to get up.

the end was a little difficult for me. the yoga teacher told us to look inside ourselves at the light we have within us. to know that we are perfect in every way, despite any of our flaws or troubles. that we can keep the light within us shining no matter what. and that we are all good people with good things to share. that is the antithesis of what I've been feeling lately and having someone tell me that I could possibly be good inside, when all I feel is like I am a horrible person, was too much. luckily, the rest of the old ladies still had their eyes closed and I'm sure none of them can see in dim light anyways.

8 validations:

OldMotherHubbardSharesAll said...

Good for you - stepping out to Yoga!

Bad for you - that yoga became noga.

Hoping you find an actual yoga class SOON and close by!

Missuz J said...

Sounds down right painful to me. There's new age--and then there's crazy lady and co.

Send my sis a line for advice on finding a good class. She has yoga connections like, nation wide these days.

NME said...

Ugh. First let me say that I have cried several times in yoga. Something taps into a emotional nerve and water works. And it's SO embarassing. Possibly worse than farting in class. Maybe not.

Sorry the class wasn't good for you. That sucks. When you make a decision to do something good for yourself and it doesn't work out - it really, really stinks.

Stine said...

Dude, no way? Did they have any bolsters, props etc.?

Floating on clouds does not a yoga class make.

Mandy, Mandy? Where are you? Patrice needs your advice.

All that aside, good for you for going though. Now we just have to get you to a class that is like, effective or something.

amandak said...

Oh boy. It sometimes amazes me what people call 'yoga'. I mean, I think it's great that there's a lot of different styles and different teachers for different people, but it does make it hard to hunt down what is going to be right for you.

When I moved here, I made a plan to go to at least one different yoga class a week for as long as it took to find 'my' class. I totally knew it when I found it, and it didn't take too long.

Emotions can and do come up in yoga. Something about slowing down enough to actually be with yourself and your body in the moment. That, and opening your body can open other things too. The first multiday workshop I went to, we did 3 hours of hip openers the first night, and I literally cried for like a week after that. Luckily I was with a group of people I felt safe with, cause there was no stopping it once it started. I'm not saying everyone will have experiences like that, but it happens. I like to think of it as releasing stuck energy (or processing old psychological stuff, how ever you want to think of it) that had been stuck somewhere. I'd rather it come out than stay in there and fester.

OK, getting off the soapbox, sorry if that was too much advice.

Keep looking! The right class is out there somewhere, I'm sure.

~A~ said...

hunh? I think I would have ran away yelling, "YOU ALL ARE A BUNCH OF FRUITS!" Good for you for having better selfcontrol than I.

I hope you find a class not so, ummmmmm, yeah.


TD said...

I don't know much about studios in your area, but Tamar or her teacher might. I'll ask around and get back to you.

In the meantime, if you feel like taking a class with me in Philly one evening/weekend, I'd love the company. Sorry your first time back was a bust.

And yeah, crying happens. Hip openers get me (almost) every time.

Kat said...

I have cried and laughed during yoga. It's such a wonderful way to reconnect with yourself and to get a good workout. It should be a balance of both.

The first yoga class I ever took spoiled me for all other classes. It was taught by a "real woman - curvy" and she had a thick south american accent. She always told you the poses, helped you with your form, but made sure that if your body wasn't feeling it, to do what your body told you it wanted to do.