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exercise adventure #1: yoga



So after spending the last couple of weeks not liking any of my angles in pictures (strangely, I don’t have a problem with the mirror), I decided to drop the excuses (no time, no friends to work out with, no money to join a gym) and get my act together.

As a prelude, I grew up without any weight issues.  I was under a size 6 until well after graduating college, but I started eating well over the last few years (as some of my restaurant posts reveal).  Going to the gym is a foreign concept and I have maybe been there a handful of times.  I don’t know why there are different machines (other than people don’t want to get bored), I don’t know what people are doing when they go around doing different exercises, and I hate seeing people run and sweat and know that I can’t run and sweat (I can barely walk without falling or having an asthma attack).  

With this history, and armed with a memory from a flier at a street fair last summer, I headed to my local “yoga sanctuary” to sign up for classes.  Yoga: stretching, limberness, weight loss without running on a treadmill, a “Simon-says” atmosphere, classes in the early mornings and late evenings, what could be better?

I have to give a disclaimer about yoga, too.  I’ve attended a million church services over the last 10 years, and I’m not sure if it was at a service at a random church, service at a church I actually attended, or something I read on the internet, but I remember hearing that yoga is anti-Christian, and had that embedded in me.  So going to yoga felt a little rebellious, despite my right brain telling me I was crazy (and when I mentioned it to my mom, she had nothing bad to say, which means that it really must not be anti-Christian, because let me tell you– my mom knows EVERYTHING that is anti-Christian, and some things that are not…).

Location, parking, convenience, and ambience all get a thumbs up.  The girl at the front desk does not.  I walked in and introduced myself as a person attending yoga for the first time.  She had me fill out a form, and told me to have a seat.  As I sat down, I picked up a brochure from a wall hanger, just to pass time.  The information inside said that I couldn’t wear my shoes inside and had a few more details.  When I asked the girl where I should leave my shoes, she pointed me to a small room on the side.  Okay, I put my shoes in there.  I came back out and a few minutes later, asked her what the name of the instructor is and if that class would be okay for a beginner.  She gave me a breezy answer and I sat back down.  A few minutes before class was to start, I asked her where the class was and when I should go in, and she said, “Oh, it’s back there.  You can go now if you want.”  Umm… okay.  when I walked in, there were four people already inside (all had arrived after me), who had set up their mats along the back wall, where there was no more space.  So I then became the one person who had to create a row in front, introduce myself to the instructor as a first-time, and then be observed the entire time.  Thanks, girl at the front desk. 

During class I had mixed reactions.  At some points I felt exhilerated that I was “getting it” and that breathing correctly made the moves feel great.  Other times, I wanted to walk out if the instructor made one more “on the inhale do this incredibly hard move, and on the exhale do this harder move.”  I found the class to be intense in strength building but, as my colleagues later confirmed, it wasn’t going to do anything for weight loss. 

And then there was the final part where we lay on our mats and “relaxed.”  We were given eye pillows and by the time I finished relaxing and this creepy Elysian Fields kind of music was playing, which truly made me feel like I was dead.  This was extremely disconcerting and scary in the beginning where I felt like I was being buried alive (yeah, I have some serious issues with “relaxing”), but toward the end, I started to believe that I was dead and that was just okay, I shouldn’t fight it. 

The anti-Christian thing didn’t come up, but there were more ohms than the eye could count, and we were invited to chant the yamahs, niyamahs and shanti with the instructor, which I refrained from, because I was already too wound up about messing up. 

Conclusion?  I paid the $20 for the class and told the front desk girl I would think about coming back, and got into my car and drove back home, where I went to bed, dreaming of dying.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. bizzyB permalink
    2009-06-10 7:29 AM

    The whole anti-Christian thing comes from the mind exercises that are many times involved in yoga, where you clear your mind but then have to concentrate on something as sometimes it is thought to be an invitation for evil spirits to enter.

    By the way, I want to know why if your colleagues say something (like most yoga won’t help you lose weight), it’s legitimate, but if it’s a family member, the comment is invalid. Curious…

    • 2009-06-10 7:33 AM

      Well, I concentrated on how inadequate and self-conscious I felt– does that count?

      Did my family member tell me about weight loss? I don’t remember. Why is that?

      (and for the LOVE of potato mezhuperati, B, can you use the SAME fake email for all your comments, so that I don’t have to keep approving it each time.)

  2. Koche permalink
    2009-06-10 10:19 PM

    hahahahaha this made me laugh out loud. while taking a study break. while alone. which makes me look awkward.

    but it was so worth it.

    • 2009-06-11 6:35 PM

      Both of my sisters commented on a blog post? This is officially my favorite post ever.

      • Koche permalink
        2009-06-12 1:42 AM

        obviously, i would comment on a post that basically equivalates to “i’m faaaaaatttttt!!! you think i’m fatttttt!!!!!”

        i’m pretty sure i’ve trademarked the phrase.

  3. Mallory permalink
    2009-06-11 10:51 PM

    The whole bit about your mom knowing everything anti-Christian…I think all malayalee moms know that. I think they go to some training academy and that’s probably their final exam topic.

    Funny post. I laughed a couple times. By myself. And like Koche…I feel very awkward.

  4. Mallory permalink
    2009-06-11 11:02 PM

    Oh yea and I’m the same way with exercise…I don’t understand it at all. But I’ve cut down a bunch on bread and rice and started eating lean cuisine’s stuff for lunch. It kinda works to regulate yourself. I’m not gung-ho about it but I try.

  5. My Meany permalink
    2009-06-15 10:48 PM

    Look I’m commenting. I was laughing through this whole post. I can not imagine you doing yoga.

    • 2009-06-18 9:44 AM

      officially my favorite post ever.

      just for the record, i didn’t think this post was that funny, nor was it intended to be, but i’m glad my closest friends find joy in my pain.

  6. bizzyB permalink
    2009-06-17 7:23 AM

    “My Meany”– I like it!
    By the way, look what I found today…

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