Six Sweats, or How I Found The Yoga Beast Within
One recent morning, an email arrived informing me that an eight-pack of dance/yoga passes I purchased last summer (then promptly forgot) was set to expire in exactly one week. Eight classes in seven days is some very sweaty math, but determined to be retroactively fiscally responsible, I readied my arsenal of sports bras and prepared for the challenge.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Let’s begin with a rousing round of abject failure. I did not sweat today, except for one brief period during the afternoon when it got really stuffy in the office. I did, however, complete a routine from a really bland yoga DVD, which I balanced out with an entire bag of Lundberg Sesame & Seaweed Rice Chips and an absurd amount of cheese-slathered Mexican food. After all of this excitement, I crawled into bed to read a book. Can you feel the burn? I can’t.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
7:30am Community Morning Yoga Flow. There were three of us in the class, which was both awesome (there weren’t a lot of eyes on my ridiculously poor form) and terrible (there weren’t a lot of places to hide). We began by cat-cowing for an eternity, which rendered me unable to hold my first down dog for more than thirty pitiful, shoulder-wrenching seconds. However, besides not being able to achieve any pose that required my hips to flex, I completed just about every other asana to some half-assed degree, worked up a small bit of perspiration, and felt quite zennish upon heading home. Floating on my yoga bubble, I made a beeline for Trader Joe’s and bought all of the fruits and vegetables, which I used to make a lumpy smoothie. Despite the non-smoothness of said creation, I felt very satisfied with myself. Om.
Friday, July 11, 2014
I was emotionally ready to tackle the 7:00am Community Sunrise Ashtanga Yoga class – strangely excited, even – but upon rising from my slumber, realized that the muscley part that connects my neck and shoulders felt like it was going to make a clean break if I attempted one more down dog, so I stayed home and made sad eyes at my yoga mat instead.
6:30pm Yoga Booty Ballet. I stopped at ROSS Dress For Less after work and bought a cheap pair of cozy below-the-knee-length workout pants. I made the game-day decision to wear them to class and upon ripping off the tag, noticed that it said in very giant, very bold, very capital letters: MATERNITY. I bought maternity knickers. I reluctantly pulled them on and stared at myself in the mirror for a while. More specifically, I stared at my belly. I pooched it out. I sucked it in. I judged from the front, back, and both sides. I guess there was a bit of extra material around there…okay, enough extra material that I could jack these things up to my armpits with fabric to spare. However, I was going to be late to class if I continued to stare at the maternal pouchiness of my pantaloons, so I rolled the waistband down four or fifty times and off I went.
As I walked in, I noticed a sign on the door that read “Yoga Belly Ballet” instead of “Yoga Booty Ballet,” but thought nothing of it…until I saw the instructor, who was eight months pregnant. I then looked around and saw another pregnant lady, and another pregnant lady. It suddenly seemed very prescient of me to be wearing maternity knickers. I was one of the tribe.
Turns out this was just a regular class with an absurdly high percentage of preggos in attendance. Still, I stared at the pouch in my pants throughout the entire class, wondering if the other people were wondering if I was pregnant, too. Other than feeling vaguely like a kangaroo, I had a pretty good time.
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Given my schedule, these were my options today: Bollywood Dance, Samba Body, Salsa Fitness, and something called U-Jam Fitness. The horror. Believe me when I say that I wanted to immediately abandon this experiment, and half-hoped my friend MaryEllen would cancel our morning tennis session, just so I could just take the early yoga class and skip all of the scary dance classes.
However, MaryEllen, ever a woman of her word, did not cancel, leaving me to face my two-left-footed fears. Out of the array of frightening options, I chose Samba Body, conducted by a woman named Fransini who is the star of a DVD featuring her signature workout. I was tangibly frightened of taking a class from a woman with both a fancy DVD and six visually-confirmed individual abs, but it turns out that Samba Body was actually pretty fun, though a bit calf-threatening. If there was one part of me that felt completely at home here, it was my Cuban butt; Fransini seemed pleased at the many ways I was able to shake it, and I left feeling mildly booty-proud.
Sunday, July 13, 2014
I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. My feet were raw, blistered, beat-up, and I just couldn’t today. And On The Fourth Day, She Rested.
Monday, July 14, 2014
7:00am Community Sunrise Ashtanga Yoga. When I walked in, the sort of smarmy guy at the desk asked in a very concerned voice, “Have you done Ashtanga before? Do you know what it’s about?” and in my head I was thinking, “Stretching and poses and whatever,” and what I said was, “Yeah, I think so. I mean – it’s been a while, probably.” He offered me a look that was half-pity, half-worry, and I ignored both of those things.
The instructor was fifteen minutes late and offered some sort of lame excuse about getting lost when his phone died, but it was far too early for me to feign any workable levels of indignancy, so I just sat there complacently digesting a cashew-flavored Larabar. Once class started, however, I understood the front desk dude’s concern – our instructor moved like a man with a blazing fire at his ass and I was sweating profusely within five minutes trying to keep up. We chaturanga’d incessantly, over and over and over like prisoners enduring some sort of yogic punishment, and I estimate that I spent at least half of the class slithering back and forth across my mat, my biceps progressively weakening. Near the end, while everyone else was dislocating their joints all willy-nilly to get into their impossible poses, I just sort of oscillated between sitting cross-legged and kind of laying on my belly, prompting the instructor to pretty much completely ignore me.
I should mention that there were only three people in the class, which made it even more brilliant when I attempted one of this guy’s stupid moves and let out a really ripping crack of a fart, which in the echo chamber of the studio sounded like a small bomb. Someone in the class might have stifled a laugh.
(Disclosure: that “someone” was me.)
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
I planned on attending Community Flow Yoga at 7:00am, but unfortunately most of my body was going OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH from the Ashtanga hurtin’ and I was forced to eat a bottle of ibuprofen instead.
I went to the 9:30pm Community Flow Yoga session while still digesting a belly full of expensive birthday sushi (thank you, boss-man). As I sluggishly moved through the poses, I realized that while most of my muscles were violently sore, I also felt stronger than I did a week ago…maybe emotionally as well as physically. What is happening to me? Do I actually like this???
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
The only thing I sweated over today, my birthday, was whether or not I could handle another tequila shot.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Despite my package supposedly expiring yesterday, the front desk lady let me use one last pass, so I took a frightening class called Muev8, which was so fast and furious that it made Samba Body seem like mall walking. I feel like I have no problem dancing with some semblance of coordination and fluidity when there’s not a giant mirror and sixteen well-toned women in front of me, but I lose all sense of style and grace in that kind of setting. I did, however, sweat off at least 5% of my body weight, dripping all the way to the grocery store afterwards to get a juice, even though what I really wanted was an industrial-sized wedge of milk chocolate and a wheelchair.
I’m kinda proud of myself. I’ve never spent a week so gung-ho about putting myself to the physical test and I think that ultimately, this forced fitness blitz was fantastic food for my mind, body, and soul – “nourishing,” if you wanna get all Gwyneth about it (which you probably don’t). I can never remember that maxim about how long it takes for you to establish a routine with something, but I suddenly find myself looking forward to breaking a sweat, working on creating peace of mind, and slowly building a partner for my solitary ab.
Now if you’ll pardon me, I have a yoga mat to unroll.