Friday, September 21, 2007

yoga: the musical

This sign should probably be posted on the front door to our home.
Maybe I should just staple it to my forehead so that anyone approaching me would know to run for the hills. Holy crap, I am a twisted discombobulated resemblance of my former self.
"Why am I feeling discombobulated?" You ask.
Well, since you asked, I will tell you. My brain won't slow down. And the stuff it comes up with is pure drivel. And it's all out of joint - like a "mom conversation:" Yes sweetie, you can have the.. well, K., I don't know if I would, (pause) just a minute. What is it sweetie? No, You can't have another cookie. Because you've had seven. K., I think that color is really - Seven is enough young lady! No, that color is really good in that room, I wouldn't change it. Fine. Have 8. I don't care. No, K., I really do care about the color of the towels... Sit down!
"Why do you suppose your lovely brain is behaving like that?" You ask. (You are so thoughtful.)
I am not completely certain, but I have a pretty good idea.

I started yoga classes a couple of weeks ago.

Normally, one does not associate yoga with chaos, but I think that it was the shock my body felt when it was thrust out of complete inertia to random, gentle movement - notice I didn't call it exercise. Who knows what THAT might do. I think that shock has caused a sort of overload on the grid, so to speak. (OK, you who are electrically or computer savvy might say that. Normally, I would not say that. But I did. Just this once.)
Now, I am not a complete yoga novice, but I am certainly not an expert. I don't even know if I have the right kind of mat. Can you have the wrong kind of mat? I might have the wrong kind of mat. I should probably get a new mat just in case. Do I have to go to the yoga store to get one? Can't I just get one at Target? They might not carry the right kind of mats at
Target. And Target is no longer the cheapest option, in my opinion. And I don't really like the Target on Midway. It's a new store - that's why it's not so cheap - but it draws a dicey crowd. I'd better go to the yoga store. What if I walk in and they know that I don't have a clue about yoga? I know, I'll just breath deeply and speak calmly and walk slowly and they will think that I am a yoga pro. Hell, that kind of acting got me through most of school.


I had hopes that yoga would help me find my calm, peaceful center. Instead, I think that I have created an internal mass of swirling chaos.
I never got a new mat to start this class with. I waited until the night of the first class to even look for my yoga mat. Actually, my daughter's yoga mat - she's 8. She got it from her groovy aunt in LA. The mat is much too small for me. I couldn't find it. I brought a crappy beach towel. Everyone in the class knew that I didn't have the first clue about yoga. But I am there. Sitting on a bleached out, sand worn beach towel. I am sitting with lots of sweaty, nervous women in this lovely peaceful darkened room on the evening of my yoga class. I am listening to the pan flute recording buzz and rattle out of the portable stereo system and I am covertly assessing the other gentle movers, thinking - "cool, I am not the fattest one here."
At that moment, I knew that The Zen had a hold of my soul and I was ready to rock this yoga class.
But it didn't rock, as I had hoped. As I tried to breathe deeply and audibly through my allergy plugged nose I kept thinking. And thinking. And thinking. If you know anything about yoga - and haven't I already demonstrated the sheer depth of my yoga knowledge - you know that you are not supposed to think.
You are supposed to breathe.
And be present in the moment.
Just Be and Breathe.

and when I kept trying to tell myself to stop thinking, I simple could not stop thinking. I apparently could only focus on one topic.
The entire score -music and lyrics - to INTO THE WOODS, by Stephen Sondheim. Apparently, I know all of them.

Imagine, the room is dark - thank God! Filled with middle-agish sweaty, nervous yoga virgins and the leader (I know that there is a fancy name for yoga leaders, but I don't think you can call them by that fancy name when they are teaching yoga in the church basement of a Lutheran Church in St.Paul, Minnesota!), the leader has a slightly nasal-y, high pitched, retired cheerleader voice that is working really fucking hard on demonstrating the importance of being grounded and calm and breathing audibly and deeply through one's nose...

We will begin in Gentle Resting Pose...
..."even now and then a sad one."
Let's all put our hands on the floor in front of us, and breathe. deeply.... ..."Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor:
Now we will gently step our feet out behind us, release our hips and press our heels into the floor. We are now in "Downward Dog."...
... "so it's your fault then? No. It isn't mine at all."
And breeeeeethe....
..."this is ridiculous. What am I doing here? I'm in the wrong story."

90 minutes of this... a stinky room in church basement full of sweating repressed Lutheran women who are trying desperately to "snap our belly buttons to our spines" (Only skinny women would think of THAT one!) and a ratty, old beach towel that has zero traction and the unending Sondheim lyrics and I am trying to breath the "right way" and stretch to the sun and hold it. hold it. hold that stretch. and breathe. and breathing and thinking thinking thinking all the time.

So. Now you know.

I am not calm.
I am not centered.
And I am apparently taking it out on everyone who crosses my path.

I'm going back to yoga.
Mostly, because I am curious to see what musical I will sing in my head this time.
I'll let you all know.


by Johanna Brandvik said...

Still laughing...not at you, but hopefully with you! Thank you for finding the wry humor in the yoga and sharing it! My monkey mind usually dances in circles through classes too! Once in a while I catch myself in a mili-second of nothingness and wonder if I'm okay. Love, love, love you!

Nonna said...

Oh my God, AB! Now I know why I DON'T go to yoga! Thanks for a great read and laugh this morning!!! JG

Bethany said...

You win the 'Funniest Lady of the Day' award! Congratulations!

I am dying of laughter and commiserating pain and vow to never, ever accept an invitation from you to visit the church basement tagging along a bathtowel. Or Target mat. Or fancy yoga mat. Or anything of the sort.


Rose said...

I tried yoga a couple of times but the same thing happened to me. When I finally could stop thinking, I fell asleep! My husband and I are talking about trying it together; I'll let you know how it goes. Also, thanks so much for the comments about my classroom photo taking; I'm thinking about getting National Board Certification and this is sort of the sticking my toe into the water stage. At the very least, it's a way for me to reflect on my teaching in a positive and concrete way.

Sew Succulent said...

so funny - that has always been my *exact* experience in yoga. I don't know what it would take for my brain to slow down, but I'm guessing it's not movement. heavy pharmaceuticals, maybe....

Shandy said...

:) You are so funny! Ya, slowing down my mind is a bit difficult too...although the lack of sleep is actually working pretty well!

emilyruth said...

oh my
you are too funny!
this is the exact reason that i am considering not getting massages any more
not that i get more than one a year anyway
but when i'm in there
just me & someone else that i don't know
& that soft music
& i am relaxed
& i should be thinking about nothing
um, no
i am thinking about everything
& then i am getting mad at myself for not just relaxing
'try to think about nothing
try to think about nothing'
note to everyone: not relaxing!
oh well...
i have found that my perfect combo is:
barnes & noble
sugary treat of some sort
a stack of magazines
some trashy
some not
a super comfy chair
no time limit...
i am relaxing already...