Okay, so I took my first yoga class this weekend. It's difficult to believe that I haven't done this before, being a suburban housewife in Seattle who has a history of vegetarianism and is an extreme liberal (is that stereotypical enough for you?), but I haven't.
My options were to get up and be at the gym (with my two children) at 7:15 on Saturday morning for the Power Yoga class or to make it there by 10:15 for the regular yoga class. I don't know about you, but just managing to get up, dressed, feed my kids and get them ready to leave the house by 7:00 on a Saturday would take so much energy that I wouldn't have any energy left for yoga. I figured more "power" to those who can do that, although I suspect there aren't many participants in that class with small children.
We arrived at the gym daycare with just moments to spare and I signed up to join the class. The kids were thrilled that they were the first arrivals in the playroom and instantly ran from station to station like rats in a maze trying to decide what to do first. I clutched my virgin yoga mat, a gift from my sister-in-law after she discovered a passion for it herself, and headed off.
My first worry was that I would not prove capable of turning my brain off enough to fully enjoy the meditative aspects of yoga despite the fact that putting a temporary stop to the whirling neural connections up there was the majority of the reason I signed up. I took a spot in the back of the class so as not to be terribly embarrassed in front of the seasoned pros in the class and tried to concentrate on my breathing.
Several punishing poses later I realized why people love yoga. My body slowly warmed up with stretches in the cozy room and lilting music surrounded me. The lights were turned down low and I was so busy trying to wrap my brain around how to a) get into the next pose and b) not fall over that the constant buzzing of my thoughts had been shut down.
I am pleased that yoga involves a constant building of strength and flexibility and if I find myself on a plateau, I can push a little more and accomplish something new. I was also quite fond of the last pose. The name is something I have yearned for but have not been able to achieve in years - total relaxation. As I lie on my now sweaty yoga mat, legs and arms fully extended, listening to my breath for five minutes, I vowed to return to this class soon. Maybe even Sunday. That was before I felt the soreness of my muscles the next morning. Oh well, maybe next Saturday is soon enough to find some total relaxation...