Backwards Bend

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Yesterday was kind of a monumental day for me:

I went to a yoga class for the very first time. 

I know most of you aren't really going to understand the significance of this yoga class, but trust me when I say that attending a regular yoga class has been years in the making. To be fair I have done yoga in the past. I have a few home videos and I've been to Bikrams Yoga classes as well as prenatal yoga classes. BUT here's the difference: Bikrams is hot yoga so I knew the 100 degree temperature would loosen my muscles a bit (kind of like cheating) and during prenatal yoga I could blame my inability to touch my toes on my swollen belly. SO those classes don't count as real yoga classes.

Yesterdays class was the real deal. I had to sit in a low-lit room with more than a dozen complete strangers and admit that my twenty-seven year old body is less flexible than most eighty year olds.

I have never in my life been able to touch my toes without bending. And I've always hated my inability to stretch. I remember my parents applauding my little sister when we were just kids because she could split sideways, front ways, any which way she wanted to twist and turn. And then I would attempt to do the same and the room would erupt in giggles - I was lucky if my long legs got further than shoulder width apart. In elementary school I dreaded those Presidential Fitness tests (remember those?!) because I knew one of them was the toe touch. And in high school, during a routine physical, my doctor told me I had some of the tightest hamstrings he had seen on a 17 year old. Of course, being 17 I just shrugged him off and continued running without a proper stretching routine. Fast-foward 10 years and I'm finding myself bending down to pick things up off the floor rather than bending over - because I can't.

I've known I needed yoga for awhile now. Hence the videos and the Bikrams classes. But videos aren't all that motivating, plus I just know I am doing Warrior pose completely wrong and need some assistance. And Bikrams is damn uncomfortable, and long (90 min), and expensive, and really really really hot. However, my pride just wouldn't let me go to a regular class. For years I've belonged to gyms that had yoga classes and I would circle the classes on the fitness calendar and then never show up. I couldn't face the fact that I was going to undoubtedly be the worst in the class.

I am so prideful, and so self-concious, I was sure that the entire room was going to be snickering inside as they watched me attempt to produce a decent Downward Dog and fall on my face. Ridiculous right. Absolutely ridiculous. But I just couldn't get past it.

Until yesterday. And all thanks to my dear Dad.

My Dad has always been as inflexible as I am. We were in it together! Except six months ago he started going to yoga. My 60 year old father took is non-limber self to yoga class AND he was able to laugh when the instructor admired his "modifications" on usual poses. I was inspired. Taking a deep breath I told myself, "Anna, are you going to wait until your sixty and you have arthritis in all your joints before you start taking care of yourself, or are you gong to get over your ridiculous pride, accept the fact you are going to suck and look like a fool and just go."

And I went. And it was fun! I'm sore all over but I feel great. And although there was a moment when a few classmates had to show me how to twist myself up into a pretzel because I couldn't quite get it, and my face turned bright red, I'm pretty sure no one CARED AT ALL how I looked. Plus, the girl next to me had super long legs and she couldn't touch her toes either!


Tracy said...

Good Job Anna! I'm sure you'll be touching your toes in no time!

Jess Roy said...

Love it! I go to one at the YMCA here, and I was right there with you - I was afraid that everyone was going to stare in disbelief at my non-yoga situation...but it was awesome! Believe me, I completely understand the "years in the making" thing. Congrats! :)

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