Thursday, December 22, 2005

I bet I could kick his ass at Pilates

Last night I put on my fave yoga pants, a yoga shirt that was one exercise session away from needing to be washed (at least I thought it was. oops.), sparkle-topped blue thick-soled flip-flops, and my prized "Maid in Manhattan" hoodie and headed off to Rodeo Drive to do some Christmas shopping. Not really. (But add a pair of diamond earrings and a chihuahua and I would have blended right in strolling past the pricey boutiques!) Nope, I wore my yoga pants to yoga. It was a level 2/3 class and, though I am firmly in the 1/2 camp, I went anyway. I'd been to this teacher's class before and it was mostly insane stretching and not a lot of pose-holding. Since I am practically made of rubber, it was perfect. Plus, the teacher's all meditation-focused, so when my pal and I left the class that first time, we were all spaced-out and float-y. Like one should be post-yoga. With all of this in mind, I go last night with a pretty good idea about what I am going to get: stretchy and blissed-out. Now I'll put my arms around the universe and say namaste to that!

I enter the studio (early, might I add) only to find out that there's a different teacher tonight. Blasted holidays and different schedules! I don't think about how hard it might be since I am too busy sitting on the floor, going through the sale bin. Last time I did that I got the best t-shirt ever. I don't think life gets any sweeter than a reasonably priced t-shirt that makes your boobs look that good. And it was. And they did. Sigh.

[Sidebar: Is it wrong to sigh about your own breasts?]

The door to the Sun Room opens, yogis file out. We file in. It is hot in there (like the sun, ha ha). And humid (like DC, ugh). Now if it were a Bikram class where heat's part of the deal, that's one thing. But this is apparently Chi-gong style Yoga where I--knowing nothing about it naturally assume it will be a comfortable temperature--was thus disappointed when it was so grody. Oh well, sweat's good, right? Yes. So long as you're not slipping off of your mat.

We did lots of warrior 2's which is one of my favorite poses. We also did tree pose, wherein one leg is bent and the sole of that leg's foot rests against the inner thigh of the other leg, arms stretched up past your ears. It feels sooooo good. We also did lots of bending down and sweeping our arms up and around our bodies. This doesn't sound hard and it isn't. We were also asked to stand with our feet very grounded, our shoulders square and down, tailbone tucked under, and hold our arms in front of us as if hugging another one of ourselves (whoa). We were to hold this pose for five minutes. This doesn't sound hard and it is. It hurts. Like a motherfucker. As does sitting down and holding your arms outstretched to either side with your middle and index fingers held out to while the other digits are tucked in. At first that seemed kinda bizarre that those two fingers got special treatment until some very angry tendon that I can now feel runs the length of my entire arm begins to burn intensely, cursing me, and threatening to secede from the rest of me, taking my shoulder muscles with it. I had to keep dropping my arms down for little breaks just to keep'em as part of the Starpower Team.

By this point, the teacher had already recognized me as, um, honoring my own pace. He'd already come over a few times and corrected my body position and now had begun to say "Levels 1 and 2, do _____ this way. Level 3's do _____ this other way." Then he'd follow up with "Yoga is not about success or failure. No excitement for doing it the right way and no upset about doing it the wrong way. There is no right and wrong. No reaction, just the doing." All of which I agree with--except when I am trying to do a pose without falling down. Then he insisted on helping me do a proper handstand. Once I kicked my legs up, he held them up high for a longer time than I can say was actually viable. I am not saying this because I awoke with the worst yoga hangover (a "yangover") ever this morning. I mean, I have the whole session to thank for that. But based on the weird clicking sound that now comes from somewhere in my lower back every time I walk, I can officially say that the handstand thing was too much.


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