Yoga – The Stretch is Real. A Beginner's Experience of Yoga
Last week a coworker convinced me to take a 6-week yoga class with her at the local library. Yes, yes, I know I shouldn’t be going to a local library for yoga classes; I should be spending an exorbitant amount of money to go to a fancy studio where there is hot air blowing in my face and slinky, spandex women every where – but I didn’t. I chose the library.
Anyways, yoga is a weird “Sport.” If you haven’t done it, they really do start and end with the phrase "Namaste" (I thought that was an exaggeration...).
I get there with a borrowed mat dressed in my gym clothes, and I’m ready.
I set up my little spot next to my friend. Apparently, we have to take off our shoes. It’s winter, and I got a little lazy with maintaining my at-home pedicure. My first thought was, “Oh great, I now have to paint my toenails in the winter for this one class.” My advice – beginner’s, paint your toenails. It will give you confidence.
Next, I collect the required blocks and ropes from the teacher and head back to my mat. I thought about stretching, but it seemed silly to stretch before a stretch. Which was the only thing I knew about yoga - that it had some stretching.
Yoga is like stretching for a very long time. Then once you have accomplished an uncomfortable position, continue to hold it, and then exhale into a harder more complex stretch.
Now the BREATHING…you know yoga is all about being centered and breathing and some other stuff…I think it something about your mental state? But I was over there standing on one leg while my other leg is in the air and somehow I am supposed to make circles with my suspended leg and my head and maybe arm (not really sure, I got lost). Meanwhile I keep hearing the instructor say, “Now focus on your breathing, inhale while you lift your leg and exhale when you drop it.” Is she serious? Enough with the breathing! I can’t even keep my balance. I’m pretty sure I can hold my breath for 20 seconds until I can catch my balance before bashing my head against the wall.
Eventually, the poses tapered down to happy baby and downward dog. Then we breathed a bit more, closed our eyes and turned off the lights, and napped for about 5 minutes. That was my favorite part. And that was the end of the yoga class.
I will let you know how my next yoga lesson goes, but yoga virgins, this is what it is like.