April 30, 2008
In which Lauren’s fingers connect with her toes…
Today marks another foray into stretching myself to the point of pain and really kind of enjoying it. The craziest thing happened in yoga today. (I just have to warn you. You will not think this is crazy.) Basically, it is this: I bent at the waist, feet straight in front of me, and I curled my hands around my toes. That’s right. I touched my toes. I more than touched my toes. I held my feet.
Honestly, two weeks ago, I would not have been able to do that. Heck, I could have been walking around with this power for days now and not even realized it! Phenomenal what the human body can do!
In which Lauren decides how much of a Puritan she is…
I normally come to yoga all dressed in my workout pants, sports bra, and schmancy green tank top that I love. But many of the other students don’t. They’ll come from work or studies (as one would expect) dressed as normal people who didn’t just wake up and take a shower within the last half hour (and it’s noon). So these people strip out of their work dress and into their yoga kicks in a very small area behind the counter of the studio. What I mean to say is, men and women strip to their underwear mere inches away from one another in order to change clothes.
When I was in high school on the swim team, it took me years (yes, I mean that) to become comfortable enough to flash some nudity in front of my teammates. Now I’m not so uptight. All of my friends who go shopping with me are thinking, “But it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if you were just a little more uptight about getting undressed in front of people, Lauren.” Fair enough.
But today I tutored before I went to yoga, and I opted to wear street clothes. (I did however wear my sports bra all morning.) So when I got to the yoga studio, it was time for the show! I bared my very pale thighs in front of men and women (none of whom, I’m quite sure, were looking) and survived! I didn’t even blush, so maybe I’m not such a Puritan after all.
Of course, later in the lesson when Vanessa, the instructor, was having us visualize every part of our bodies during meditation, I did get a kick out of her asking us to visualize: the left breast…, the right breast…, the space between the breasts…
In which buzzsaws interrupt meditation…
There’s not much more to that one. We’re all breathing softly, envisioning every part of our body and what all, and all of a sudden BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ! Some kind of electric saw starts shrilling away in the building next door. Calming. Very.
April 24, 2008
After strep and a bit of recovery time, I finally got to go to yoga again today, two weeks after my last class. To tell you the truth, I was scared because I now consider yoga quite hardcore, and I’m pretty sure Alexandre knows I’m not hardcore. I wondered if he’d ask me why I hadn’t bothered to come to class for two weeks.
But it’s not like that, right? It’s only in our minds that the judging goes on. Once the class began, I remembered I was there to better myself and so was everyone else. No one was being petty about my attendance – they don’t know me! And my fears about Alexandre’s class kicking my butt… Okay, well those didn’t exactly go away. But I’m becoming a masochist.
This week, I felt like I was better able to measure my breathing, keep my abdomen in use, and concentrate on the movement of my body. If I felt myself shaking or faltering, I slowed and steadied myself, willing my muscles to stretch or balance to come.
I felt more in control, even during the push ups. I haven’t done push ups since I was 16, when I had surgery on my wrist for a cyst that was pinching a nerve. The doctors accidentally cut my tendons during the surgery, and I’ve never properly regained flexibility. To be honest, I didn’t try hard enough at the time. So my wrist is sore now, but my whole yoga adventure is part of a quest for flexibility and strength, and I suppose that includes my wrist.
I sweated a lot today. In every posture, I thought I could push no further, but then pushed, and found I could do more. At one point the teacher pulled me into some position I was certain I couldn’t have achieved on my own, but I could hold it.
At the end, during the meditation, I listened to Alexandre prompting us to feel the pressure where our bodies touched the ground and feel the ground reciprocating that pressure and supporting us. I felt deeply relaxed. I thought, “I’m glad I came.” The thought came on through the haze of purposefully not thinking of anything, so it reverberated in my head like a little revelation. I think I may go on Saturday too.