Shoulders down, heart open to the sky

Not gonna lie: I haven’t been to yoga in almost exactly a month.

That is, I haven’t made it to an actual class, but yoga’s been on my mind every Monday, Wednesday and Sunday since the first time I tried it. What to eat before, what to eat after, class sizees, warming up, water-or-no-water? Is it normal to get so sweaty? Lots to think about. In fact, up until a half hour before class tonight, I was still working on my hairdo. Then, I fretted about what to wear. I actually called my husband at work to ask if I had to wear a bra at yoga. Yes, I did that. Over-thinking everything will be the end of me.

(His answer was, basically, no. Just make sure nobody can scope out the goods, “when you’re in the downward doggy style pose, or whatever.” I also Googled it. No bra, tonight or any other night. Wee!)

I came home from work tired, my upper back aching with stress, and all I wanted to do was sit down and fall asleep. But I’ve been coming home, sitting down and going to sleep every day for almost a month now and I still feel like crap. Instead, I grabbed an orange and went to class.  Good move on my part.

This class was more intense, with a lot more fluid movements and far too many high lunges for my shaky, inexperienced thighs. I almost fell over twice, sweated my ass off, stubbed my toe and accidentally crammed my face into my discarded sandles while executing a rather impressive [the pose where you start in plank, lower down with your arms and push your chest up?] with my eyes closed – but I did every single pose, from start to stop, and only modified once! (Fuck you, side plank!!)

This evening, I learned to love the Tiger:

YOGA CATS!

Good gravy, do I love the Tiger pose. Shoulders down, heart open to the sky.

After a wonderfully calm  savasana, I stood up and felt … high. I’m talking bong rip high. It was intense. Good, but different than last time. Then, I felt a rush of joy and energy, but today was more altering, and way outside my normal range of feeling. It was so intense that I felt no fear or shame in walking up to the instructor and asking for some clarification. Highly unusual for me, especially when I’m sweaty, frizzy and smelling of communal yoga mat.

We walked out together, chatting and laughing – it felt so wild and freeing to be there with her, giggling, body so wobbly I could barely navigate a straight line. I can’t explain it, but I want it again. I swear, I could feel my body sing.

Yoga is good

We signed me up for the gym a few days ago, and I swore to myself I’d do the yoga group class on Sunday. I have been tentatively looking forward to it, sort of in the way you look forward to going to the dentist and fixing your toothache. I didn’t buy any new outfits or do anything special, but I was trying something new. I haven’t stepped outside my comfort zone  in a long time. I was so determined to do it right, I filled the water pitcher and the hot water pot before bed. I even started this post Saturday night, knowing I’d be unable to face the shame of deleting the draft if I chickened out. Preparedness is key.

My husband extols the virtues of working out in the mornings. His reasoning is, if you do it first thing, you won’t feel bad about spending the rest of the day in your underwear, playing video games. I see the wisdom in that, and underwear + video games was my afternoon plan until yoga was actually finished. I felt – and still feel – so good, ready and raring to go. I’d only been home an hour, and I’d already done the dishes, cleaned the bathroom and made myself lunch.

Then, I headed to the neighbors for a few glasses of champagne. Yesterday was definitely worth celebrating. Namaste, folks.

PS: I did the Eagle Pose for the first time and didn’t fall on my face:

From Yoga Cats calendar

It was very affirming.

All in

I’ve been reading a memoir called Half-Assed between appointments over the last few days. It was written by a weight loss blogger I’ve never heard of but she seems very nice. The story itself is light and quick, so it isn’t one you’ll need a quiet room and a fireplace for, but I’m liking it so far.

I got mine for free on Kindle but it doesn’t look like they’re doing that anymore.

I love memoirs. There are so many people I will never meet who live interesting lives and have insightful things to say about themselves. I’m not so crazy about biographies, however  – if I want to read what someone else thinks of another person, I’ll read a tabloid. Other people’s opinions tend to be shaded with unfair bias. Yes, people will see themselves a different way than they truly are (a point the book brings up again and again) but that attitude colors how they interact with others and how they live their lives, and becomes part of the larger story.

Which brings me to my point: I fell in love with this book on page 130, when I read and re-read the following passage…

I convinced myself to tie up my running shoes after I repeated an old saying: You wouldn’t care about what other people think of you if you knew how infrequently they do. In other words, “Everyone else is a self-centered bastard too.”

I never wanted to exercise as a kid because my childhood asthma didn’t let me move the way I wanted to, and being out of breath made me feel self conscious. Rather than run, I read. Rather than join a team, I played alone. Not much has changed over the years, and as I face down 30 I know this sedentary habit needs breaking. My husband, Zeus love ‘im, is so supportive about getting me to work out with him, but he always frames it as, “No one is looking at you, no one cares what you’re wearing/doing/look like”. I know he means well, but that statement is just not true.

I have ears. I hear what gets whispered and giggled over out in public, whether its at the zoo or in a waterpark. I have always been very aware of myself when I am with other people, even those I love and trust. This quality most likely is a result of all the people-watching I’ve done in my life. On the plus side, I never (okay, almost never?) get very drunk in public, but I can also never really relax. Getting sweaty in a huge room full of other sweaty people, in my ugly ass running shoes and ratty ass yoga pants, all of us jiggling away on various machines, is not appealing. I don’t care if hitting the gym five days a week will make me look like a movie star and help me live to 163 years old, I don’t want to. I don’t want to because it makes me uncomfortable, and I don’t like being judged.

People will look, and they do judge, but there’s not much I can do about it. I have within my reach the power to make myself healthier and fitter, and I’ve let what some person might possibly think at some point hold me back for five fucking years! The worst part is, I’ve never thought of it that way until I read that line. It makes so much sense.

“Everyone else is a self-centered bastard too” is my new mantra, and after reading it I picked up my cell phone and told my husband I wanted to join his gym.

We’re going tonight to sign me up. I’ve heard it’s a pretty nice place, and they even have yoga!