January is a bit of a contradiction. It’s about rest from holiday hustle and exercise due to holiday, um, gluttony.
About a week prior to our three-day heatwave (anything above 45° in January is a heatwave), I’d had enough. Enough sitting around. Enough teeth chattering. Enough of burrowing under blankets.
“Walk, run—move!” my body begged.
In my hour of distress, I stumbled upon an opening in a yoga class for that very evening. Only a desperate me would ever sign up for a yoga-anything.
Yoga requires that a person bend. I do not bend—at least not the way yoga enthusiasts bend. This is not because I don’t wish to bend. It’s not because I don’t try to bend.
My body refuses to bend.
No one would ever compare me to a rubber-band. Hmmm…maybe a good thing.
Asking me to stretch and flex is kind of like asking a child whose voice is naturally loud and booming to use his “inside” voice.
“I am using my inside voice,” he shouts.
When the leader of an exercise class says, “Keep your legs straight and touch your toes,” I’m lucky to reach my hands beyond my knees.
“I said, ‘Touch your toes,’” repeats the instructor.
“I am touching my toes,” I gasp.
I signed up for yoga class.
I could hardly wait to move my arms and legs. I felt like a 6-year-old on the eve of her 7th birthday party.
I didn’t even experience the “they’re going to laugh at me” butterflies I sometimes do when my square-self attempts to step into a round peg.
The class was made up of maybe 13 or 14 yoga experts and me. I was greeted by a long time friend of mine who started giggling the minute she saw me.
I thought it best to warn the instructor from the get-go.
“I’m not experienced at yoga,” I said. “I’m not kidding.”
“Then this is the perfect class for you! We’re doing restorative yoga tonight. It’s lazy yoga,” she said.
Lazy yoga? My arms and legs screamed for exercise and I’d signed up to lazy yoga?
Once we settled on our mats, our teacher said, “The poses we’ll do tonight will calm and reset your entire body and mind. You may even fall asleep.”
I nearly laughed out loud. Me? Fall asleep? Among strangers during an unfamiliar yoga class?
Ha. Ha. Ha, ha, ha.
The instructor had not led me wrong. I had nothing to fear. I may not have executed each pose to perfection, but I got by with only a couple of muffled chuckles from my friend.
I can’t remember the names of each move, but we were instructed to spend several minutes in child’s poses and relaxation poses and twists and turns and turtles and rabbits.
We transitioned to a legs-up-the-wall pose (which I could not have done without the wall). Then, we relaxed back on a bolster (vertical pillow), brought the soles of our feet together, and placed soft blocks under our knees for support.
Instrumental music played softly in the darkened room as our instructor offered intermittent encouragement in hushed tones
I relaxed back in the quiet. Then, I heard a low buzzing. Someone was snoring.
I was snoring.
I jerked awake. I stole glances from one side of the room to the other and wished myself invisible.
Had anyone seen me? Worse, had anyone heard me?
Dozing off in yoga was worse than slipping and falling in public. OK. Maybe not.
Maybe the sound of my snoring was an indication that the instructor had succeeded in taking her class to the heights of relaxation. At least that’s what I’m choosing to believe.
Restorative yoga is my kind of yoga.