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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Are you doing Ananda Balasana, or are you just happy to see me?

Body Pump. Zumba. HIIT Treadmill workouts. Kickboxing. This is how I roll in the gym. I am entirely too wound up for anything that requires a clear mind, deep breathing, and Enya, and I don't feel like I've actually worked out unless my thighs are shaking on the drive home and I have sweated off all of my self tanner.

That being said, I needed a change. I basically only use a handful of machines, the Bosu ball, free weights, and resistance bands if I'm feeling nastay, so my gym visits have gotten old real quick. All of the cool fitness classes--like Total Body Conditioning and Belly Dancing--take place while people that aren't stay-at-home moms are at work (those bitches get to have all the fun), so my choices were limited to basically...yoga.

Okay!
Yoga it is!
I can do yoga!

...I cannot do yoga. My yoga experience is isolated to a single afternoon where I attempted the hour-long P90X Yoga X DVD and quit after 20 minutes because I was bored it was too hard. Like, my dog was laying on the floor watching me and left because he was embarrased by my attempt at Warrior 3. I'm one of those people that will forego an activity altogether unless I know I'm the best at it, so this one instance entirely turned me off from yoga. However, given a newfound interest in self-growth and my lack of class options, I decided to follow the eternal words of Aaliyah and dust myself off and try again.


First, I needed a yoga mat. I knew that if I was left to use the dingy ones provided by the gym the threat of ringworm would convince me to never, ever attend a class. Plus, those mats are all ugly and I wanted a pretty one, so I dropped $25 on a beautiful purple number with a swirly paisley print. I put it in the front seat of my car to remind/shame me into taking it with me the following Monday night, which I technically did...

I just didn't attend class. For two weeks straight, I proudly carried that mat into the gym, proudly locked it in my locker, and proudly carried it back out to my car without so much as unrolling it. I meant to go to class, I really did, but OH NO my 5-mile bike ride overlapped the beginning of the class by 30 seconds and I couldn't very well walk in late, now could I? OH NO my hand was cramped up from lifting weights and I heard wrist pain is a serious problem for yoga newbies. OH NO what if my pants are see through?! Damnit Lululemon, get out of my head.

I woke up yesterday disappointed in myself. "Just fucking go, you little shit, you're so annoying," my abusive inner voice said, and unfortunately, that girl ain't neva lie. Go. Go go go. Go! I got ready for work repeating this mantra, threw my gym bag together, and prepared to let this cloud of Ohm hang over me all day until I pulled into the gym parking lot that night.

In the locker room I pep-talked myself in the mirror, not worried about the old Asian lady getting naked in the corner hearing me because God knows she couldn't give less of a shit. I was here early, mat in hand, pure yoga focus. Yogus. Foga. Fyogas? Froyo sounds so good right now. GET IT TOGETHER, SKYLAR.

I got ready to change clothes and was met with an entirely new challenge. Do not laugh at me because this seriously almost changed the entire course of the evening and I really did consider cutting my losses and going home:

I wear really bright workout tops because they make me feel important, so that morning when I spotted a heap of pink on my floor aka my second closet, I had assumed it was the top that makes my boobs look good and immediately threw it in my bag. When I pulled out the hot pink workout leggings that I impulse bought a month ago, I actually almost threw up. We're not talking socially-acceptable pink, or even colorful-but-not-obnoxious pink. These are blinding. I already had enough anxiety going into this night, and now I had to do it in Malibu Barbie's clothes? Good, great, grand, wonderful.

Luckily, I did not go home. I put on the leggings. I grabbed my mat. I washed my hands (?). I walked out of the locker room and ignored everyone who couldn't avoid staring at me because HELLO it looked like I had been wading in highlighter fluid. I filed into the room with the rest of the yogis and unrolled my mat (hooray!) next to a small, seemingly non-threatening man who was possibly a jockey.


Right off the bat, some girl in the front row pops up into a forearm stand and I let out an exasperated, "Fucking really?" Kentucky Derby to my left definitely heard me but I just looked at him and shrugged because whatever we were all totally thinking it. I sat in a butterfly stretch nervously glancing at my other opponents and realized that I was definitely too competitive to be here, but it was too late because the tall, blonde waif of a teacher had just walked in. Heeeere we go!

Cynthia introduced herself, letting us know that this was a beginner yoga class and that we should all be very aware of our breath and our presence in this space while clearing our minds. So think about being here but don't think at all, got it C-Dawg. I wanted to ask her if she saw the circus freak in the front row balancing on her pinkies and if she considered that to be "beginner" because if so, I was out, but I kept my mouth shut as she turned off the lights and turned on the sound of crashing ocean waves.

We opened our hips, stretched deep into our shoulder blades, engaged our cores, rounded our backs. "Now feeeeel your spine elongate into a stronnng column." I can't, Cynthia, I have scoliosis. I really did try to focus on my breath and just chill, but it was like every memory and random thought that I've ever pushed to the back of my mind came stampeding to the forefront. Credit card payments, grocery lists, who last borrowed my red dress, ex-boyfriends' birth dates, Leibniz's notation (HA just kidding)--everything was clamoring for some action.


While the actual "centering" of myself was hard, the moves were not. Apparently that 20 minutes of P90X was all I needed to master the basics, because Gumby up front and I were going toe-to-toe in terms of who would be named Team Captain (they did that in yoga class, right?). I even managed a decent shoulder stand! My once-rubberband-like hip flexors were still struggling, but regardless, as the ocean waves provided their final soothing crash and we all namaste'd, I felt like I had done pretty well.

The official name of this class was Gentle Yoga, so I think my next venture will be Hatha Yoga or maybe even Power Yoga to prove that I'm a bawss. One day I hope to sweat my demons out in a Hot Yoga class, but given the fact that a heart attack over my outfit almost derailed my initial effort, I'll give that one some time. Will I give up my cardio seshes? No, because they regulate my cookie intake. But anything that will break Adam Levine and his model fiance up and finally show him how perfect for each other we are is enough to keep me going.




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