Yoga Flow, That is the Tempo

Yoga Flow, That is the Tempo

This week I tried a yoga class for the first time. Having been unimpressed with Pilates (well, with the class I tried, anyway), I didn’t have high expectations for yoga but nevertheless felt like I should at least give it a try, seeing as how I’ve met my share of buff women who swear by it.

I entered the dimly lit yoga room about a minute after the class started. It was full of men and women who were sitting cross-legged on yoga mats. I panicked when I thought it was BYOM (Bring Your Own Mat) but then saw a stack of extras in the corner of the room. After grabbing a mat, I picked an open spot on the floor and sat down…then I stood back up and kicked off my socks and shoes when I realized that everyone else was barefoot. (Seriously, what is with yoga and Pilates being barefoot requisite? The only exercise I’m used to doing sans shoes is swimming.)

The yoga instructor was giving us pleasant-sounding instructions amid the New Age music and the white Christmas lights. She kept flicking her eyes over to me, having noticed the Outsider vibes I was giving off. I don’t blame her for staring — I was the only person in the room wearing a tank top and exercise shorts, so I must have looked downright nutty compared to the fashionable yogaphiles in leg warmers, almost pants, and off-the shoulder sweaters. I felt like I was in a room full of Flashdance extras.

We started the class off with a few minutes of meditation. The instructor told us to close our eyes and just “relax and let the day’s events melt away.” I found that it was difficult to close my eyes and relax while loud trash talking permeated the room from the adjacent basketball court. It’s not easy to ignore repeated shouts of “AGHHHHH!” and “Not in MY house!” Somehow, everyone else in the room managed to close their eyes and appeared to go to their happy places while I looked around and gawked at them. (I do the same thing at dinners whenever the family insists on saying grace before we eat.)

From there we did a lot of stretchy stuff and pretended to be various animals. In the course of an hour I was a dog, an alligator, a snake, an eagle, a “happy baby,” and other creatures. It’s like we were starring in our own version of Michael Jackson’s Black or White video. (Speaking of the “dog” moves, whenever the instructor told us to “get in the up dog position,” I resisted the urge to cheekily say “What’s up dog?” in hopes that she’d respond with “Not much, what’s up with you?” I’m such a dork.) I kept up with the moves while stifling chicken quesadilla burps and silently cursing myself for eating Mexican for lunch.

At the end of the workout the instructor had us lay flat on the ground and close our eyes while she went around the room and “adjusted” people. I laid there and found out that “getting adjusted” consisted of her walking over to me and holding my legs up in the air for a few seconds, then gently placing them back on the floor. I’m not sure what the purpose of these adjustments are other than to realign my chi or something. Maybe my aura looked crooked.

Overall, yoga wasn’t too shabby. I felt it was mostly easy, with only a couple of poses that were difficult. I can see the benefit of doing yoga once a week or so for stretching purposes. The class was palatable — the hippie factor was at a minimum (minus the trendy outfits and New Age music) and the instructor’s annoyance level pinged low. The only eye-rolling thing I remember was when she told us to “picture all those toxins escaping from your organs.” I imagine this is why people think it’s acceptable to rip farts during class…

3 Responses to “ “Yoga Flow, That is the Tempo”

  1. Teresa says:

    You are hilarious! I love the pilates descriptions…I wonder if thats what people think of me when I teach, then again, I don’t use the ball!

  2. Man I hate yoga but great that you tried it out.

    As for the barefoot training, many coaches believe that training barefoot increases your overall performance. The supporting muscles of the foot become stronger and give you a better base. It’s a technique that was originally used in Russia and is now adopted by many US Olympic coaches. It’s also why Nike invented their Nike Free shoe. You can read more about it all on wired.

    Keep up the great writing! 🙂

  3. Rebecca says:

    Ooh, thanks for the lesson on barefoot training. Guess I’ll go out for a barefoot 6 mile run now! 😛

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