8.10.2010

yoga poser

For most of my life I have classified yoga in the same category as changing the air filters in my house and taking vitamins: The "Probably-A-Good-Thing-To-Do-But-Pretty-Much-Not-Interested" category. This is largely due to my (fairly reasonable) assumption that in order to enjoy yoga, you must be extremely flexible and have an acute sense of balance.

I'm 0 for 2.

I played sports growing up, and every year we were given a flexibility test... you know, where you sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you, and then you attempt to lean forward and touch your toes with your fingertips. (Notice I said attempt.) Year after year, coaches and trainers would give me the bad news: According to their Very Official Flexibility Chart, I was as limber as a 76-year-old man with advanced rheumatoid arthritis. (Something every 15-year-old girl longs to hear.) Since then I've been convinced that my hamstrings aren't actually made of the muscular fiber found in humans, but rather some kind of unyielding polymer composite only found in petrified forests and X-Men, a mutating alloy that calcifies with each passing hour.

I also have equilibrium issues... to put it simply, balance is not my thing. [Right now my husband is turning to The Dingo and making smart-ass remarks about how "unbalanced" I am. Very funny, hon. And by the way, don't talk about me like that in front of the dog.] Anyway... the truth is, if a doctor poked around my inner ear and discovered a few parts missing, it wouldn't surprise me. In fact, it would explain the annoying tipping-over-for-no-apparent-reason thing that I have.

So... you can understand my hesitation to try something that I'm clearly predisposed to suck at.

But after reading some stuff and talking to a couple friends who are cuckoo for chakras, I decided to start going to the yoga classes at my gym. After five months, here are some of my suspicions confirmed:

  • I'm still as agile as a 76-year-old man.
  • My inner ear function is, for the most part, dysfunctional.
  • My favorite pose is Child's Pose... the one you go to when you're "resting" between other poses. (Big surprise.)
  • My favorite part of yoga overall: Yoga pants. Super comfy.

However, I've also made a few surprising discoveries:

  • It's ok if you're rigid and rickety, because yoga actually increases your flexibility and balance as you do it. Which means maybe five years from now I'll be as nimble as, say, a 68-year-old man.
  • Even if you can't hold a posture perfectly... or even decently... you can still reap the benefits from the pose if you hold it as correctly and as best you can.
  • Yoga is about control and stillness, and I happen to be a huge fan of both these things... so this is a good fit for me.
  • The most shocking of all: You can suck at yoga and still enjoy it.

My hamstrings remain fossilized and I'm tipsy enough to suggest that a breathalizer test might be in order... but the truth is, I've felt really good these past few months. So yoga has officially been reclassified to the "Make-Time-For-This-Because-It's-Actually-Pretty-Great" category.

In other words... I'm down, dawg.

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