Yoga Fail

31 03 2010

This weekend, some my of my most ridiculously lovely girlfriends and I spent a few bonding days at a beach house in Bethany, Delaware.  We do this from time to time– we call them “Grand Vagina” weekends, because on the first inaugural GV weekend, my friend Meredith stood up (after a few beers) and announced, along with a grand arm gesture, that all men should learn to respect the Grand Vagina because, after all, it is the cradle of civilization.  Normally these weekends entail a lot of cocktail drinking, inappropriate stories, unhealthy snacking and a wild dance party until 4 am.  This weekend, it entailed healthy cooking, yoga, running on the beach, and outlet shopping.  WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO US??  But it was a blast nonetheless.

Saturday morning, Jenna “Den Mother” Pirog lead us in some impromptu yoga in the living room.  Jenna is fit as a fiddle and could just bend and twist her body all over the place like it was no big deal, whereas I was pretty much on my death bed by the second warm-up “sun salutation.”  Admittedly, this is not normally how I salute the sun, but I should still be able to pull it off.  So now, along with my “be a cooler person” campaign, I’ve also embarked on a major exercise kick to whip myself in shape by summer.

My regime began Monday when I put on my most Yoga-like outfit and marched over to my gym to catch the 6 o’clock complimentary Yogalates class.  Now, I’ve been to one or two yoga classes in my day (literally– one, maybe two), and usually I can just slip into the very back of the class so nobody notices that I have no idea what I’m doing.  But to my absolute horror, not one other person showed up on Monday afternoon.  It was just me and Kirsten, the Gumby-like yoga teacher who holds ballerina poses even when she’s relaxed and not trying to, and she insisted on having a one-on-one session.

“You’re familiar with the basics of Yoga right?” she asked.

“Oh yea,” I said, with a bit of an arrogant chuckle that said, Obviously I’m familiar with basic yoga, who do you think you’re talking to?

“Great,” she said, “You might want to take your sneakers off.”

Right. Sneakers off. I took them off and set up next to my mat.

“Ok, we’re gonna start with five sun salutations,” she announced, and proceeded to completely fold herself over.  “And inhale up, and stretch towards the sun, and exhale foooold your body over, and inhale arch your back and exhale pooour your body out of your hips and inhale repeat!”

Luckily, Jenna had forced us to do so many sun salutations this weekend that I actually did know what I was doing on this one, so I kept up fairly well.  This fooled her into thinking I was a double-diamond yoga master, or whatever they’re called, so she decided to crank it up a notch.  I was in the middle of trying to master my “downward dog” pose when she started twisting herself into a pretzel and talking about statues and sinews and trees.  I tried to mimic her like a monkey by cranking my head to watch her every move, and when she realized that I wasn’t even coming close to executing anything she was doing, she asked me again how many times I’d done yoga.

“Only once or twice,” I finally admitted.  “I’m a novice.”

She practically leapt out of her yoga pants she was so thrilled. “Ohhhh, that explains why you were staring at me the whole time! This changes everything!”

She dragged her mat over to mine.  “Are you a dancer?” she asked.  “You pick up choreography so well.”

I just laughed in her face.

For the next five moves she had me do, she had to manually move my body into the positions because my hips were never rotated the right way, my spine was never aligned, my feet were never pointed in the right direction, my chest was never open enough to the universe.

When I finally did get my body right, I would forget to inhale and exhale and get so dizzy my vision would black out.  I could see multiple eyeballs peering into the room from the small window on the door, probably laughing at the sight of this ballerina with both of her arms hooked around my arms and legs trying to make me look like the statue of “The Thinker.”  Literally, this pose was called “The Thinker,” and I was supposed to look like the statue, but without the stoop to sit on. I’m positive that she made this up to torture me.

“Isn’t there some kind of fetal pose that I can do now?” I begged, as my legs started shaking uncontrollably from the squat.

“Yes, child’s pose.  Let’s go into child’s pose.”

THANK GOD. It was everything I could do not to start sucking my thumb and wimpering.

Day 1 of Hardcore Exercise Regime, COMPLETE.  Only 85 more to go…



5 responses

31 03 2010

Reminds me of my first ‘power yoga’ class which happened to coincide with my first time in a yoga class. The only position I could do well was the final rest pose. Where I got to lay flat on my back. The instructor even corrected my shoulder posture. Sad.

The path to being cool never felt so difficult. I’m sharing your pain.

31 03 2010

Haha thank you for the sympathy comment, rockymtnhigh. I was starting to think nobody cared about my yoga trials and tribulations.

1 04 2010

I think your story evoked shame in all of us. I can barely sit on the floor with my legs crossed, let alone do a decent looking down dog. My hamstrings are so tight, I’m crouching like a runner before a race b/c I can’t get my legs to be straight and have my butt in the air at the same time.
One time the class was doing headstands, which I can totally do. Then she makes up all these rules about how you’re supposed to do them, which involve planting your head on the ground and then wrapping your arms around your head and walking towards your own head until you lift legs at final moment. I can’t do that. She yells at me to stop my own technique which I learned by break dancing in fourth grade, so I just sit there. After class, I talk to her and tried to tell me that I wouldn’t be able to stand on my head her way until my body had some kind of spiritual awakening, but really I think she just meant i needed to stretch more and also release or retrieve some intangible energy.
Oh, and I also showed up at the old lady class once. I don’t know what it was called, but there was a lot of eyes closed and trying to breathe out of only one nostril at a time. And a lot of old ladies.
The place I normally go to has five types of people:
1) quiet, shy girls who are there every time
2) couples (I’m usually with Lisa); these seem to the be meat and potatoes of the normal people
3) army guys from Ft Myer who are either younger karate nerds, or older, don’t give a shit what other RAMFs think, and just want a workout
4) noisy party girls who show up randomly and shriek when they realize they know someone there

1 04 2010

Laura, you were one of the best beginners I ever saw. I bet ballerina girl would agree with me.

5 04 2010

Oh yes, keep these posts coming. I am on my own journey to physical fitness, and the gym can definitely be one weird world.

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