Excerpts From Suburbia : Yoga Class

[dropcap]I [/dropcap]like to eat, and I like to lift weights.  Consequently, I have a body that looks like I like to eat, and I like to lift weights.

While I’m trying to step up my cardio and step down my carb intake (damn you, bread; damn you for your bland yet seductive goodness), I’m also looking to increase my flexibility (ladies) and start to explore meditation.

So, I signed up for my first ever yoga class.

I walked into the studio matless and clueless, only to find no soul behind the front desk to receive me, adding to the awkwardness of the experience.  After walking aimlessly down an adjacent hallway, a friendly middle-aged lady in apropos yoga pants greeted me and walked me back to the desk.

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I rented a mat for two dollars, taking the leap of faith that it was sanitized in some form between its previous user and myself.  “Do I take my shoes off?  Socks?” I asked, to no one in particular.

“Yes, and yes,” the friendly instructor answered before identifying herself.  “First time here?” she inquired.

“First time anywhere,” I answered, making eye contact with a frightened alacrity that signaled “please don’t hurt me today.”

With that, I entered the room where I would lose my yoga virginity.  The walls were empty, save the half-dozen uncovered light bulbs spaced evenly at eye level.  The bulbs gave off only a faint glow as I surveyed the scene on the floor—seven other students, of various shapes and sizes, all on their backs with their legs crawling up the wall.  They looked so…confident.

Only the attractive lady immediately to my right appeared to exist in the same realm of discomfort as I did.  You are now my friend, attractive lady.  We’re in this together.

The session started pleasantly enough; a stretch here, a lunge there.  About twenty minutes in, though, things started to get a little dicey.

I quickly learned that the muscles I trained to hoist heavy things over my head would be of no use to me today.  Positions that didn’t appear difficult to maintain, much less assume, left me a quivering, sweaty mess of wobbles.  Speaking of, for fuck’s sake, who’s controlling the thermostat in this place?  Is the instructor an iguana?  Can we get some air circulation in this mother?

On and on it went, for the next half hour.  Dripping sweat, failed poses, and a display of fitness that more closely resembled physical therapy than anything recreational.  Each time I raised my head to compare my performance to the others in the room, I was reminded—with no room for uncertainty—that I am, clearly, very bad at yoga.  Only the giggle I couldn’t keep to myself when the instructor informed me that the pose I was currently holding (surprisingly well, for the record) was called the “Happy Baby” broke the chain of frustrations.

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Even Attractive Lady was following along with much less effort than I needed to exert.  Great, now I’m alone.  All the bicep curls in the world couldn’t help me now, a large man trembling on one leg like a newborn fawn.

In the small talk that followed the class, I would come to learn that Attractive Lady was from Panama, and 46 years old.  In that moment I realized two things: I was even worse at this than I thought, and Panamanian women look considerably younger than their chronological age.

So, to the ladies of the world well-versed in yoga, a tip of my cap.  You are stronger than I in more ways than my fragile ego would like to admit.  I’m off to hydrate and max out my bench press in a futile attempt to regain my dignity.