Recently, a friend talked me into taking a yoga class. I have a sister who goes to yoga every other day, and when we speak on the phone, at least once in the conversation, I get a sales pitch on how good yoga is for you. I get it-YOGA IS GOOD. So, my friend and I went. We put on our faded sweat suits and our grass stained sneakers and walked into the darkened room with soft melodic Indian music and chimes tinkling intermittently playing in the background. The walls were draped with brightly colored silk cloth and the incense that was burning on a small bamboo table at the back of the room reminded me of a smell reminiscent of college days.
“Okay, everybody, grab your mats and find a spot.”
Grab your mats. The confusion sets in. Luckily, there was a wonderfully helpful young woman who came to our rescue.
“If you don’t have a mat, they have some over in the corner for you to borrow.”
Great. We grab a couple, knowing full well that someone at sometime or other has probably sweat or drooled on said mat, and make our way to the back of the mirrored room. All the other participants are in these cute little t-back fitted tops with stretchy black yoga Capri’s. One woman is actually stretching by putting her foot behind her head.
Is this yoga or tryouts for the circus?
“You two in the back,” the instructor points in our direction. “Come up front. I like to keep my newbie’s where I can see them. It’ll help with getting the poses right.”
Poses? I’m perplexed, I’m not some model in a shoot for a magazine. I’m here to stretch and sweat.
So we move up front, not happy about the attention, and the slow rhythmic music begins to play. It’s obvious the members of this group have been at this for awhile and I can’t help but feel we are somehow holding them back as the instructor time and again makes his way over to pose us in the “correct” position.
“No, turn your foot out, like this. No, out.”
My friend, who has had knee surgery due to a skiing accident, informed the guy that her leg just doesn’t turn that way anymore. He sighs as he goes back to the front of the class.
“Okay, let’s try lying down on our backs and follow my direction.”
As I’m lying there my back starts to cramp up. I have always had back problems since I carried about a hundred extra pounds with my second child twenty-eight years ago. So, I’m lying there, on the ground and the cramp gets tighter and tighter. I roll to my side and sit up, stretching to reach the hard knot that’s forming in the lower part of my back threatening to make the journey north. I knead the knot while watching the others move through the rest of the floor exercises without hesitation. Even my friend is into this part of the workout. Finally the cool down. I can do this. Stretch, breath, stretch, breath. Yeah, finally I am one with the group. But then it’s over.
“You did really well for the first time,” the young woman that helped us out earlier with the mats says. I’m assuming she’s the plant in class to make the newbie’s feel welcome and keep them coming back.
“Thanks,” we offer. By now sweat is pouring down my strange shade of crimson face. My mascara has melted and formed a dark smudge that seems to have pooled under my eye. I notice that the other women in class appear as clean and fresh as they were before the session started, looking as if they are ready for a night on the town.
We’ve signed up for six sessions so we’ll be back. It did get easier, but it just wasn’t for me.
SO---- I decided to take a Pilates class. I loved it. It was all about core. Work your core. First, I had to find my core. The instructor also seemed to have problems finding my core. But we kept at it. I signed up for six weeks and it did make a difference. I had definition in my arms for the first time in like forever, but the cost was high. It ended up being almost sixty dollars per session and I just couldn’t get past the cost being more than I spent on groceries each week.
Aerobics. I took the class and when the twelve year old that was teaching it yelled, “Today, we’re working out to music from the eighties,” and no one in the class knew any of the songs, I moved on.
On to water aerobics. The club I belong to has water aerobics every day, nine to ten fifteen. The instructors are wonderful and I seem to be able to keep up with the over seventy crowd. Although there are two that kick my ass on the reverse run (where you run in one direction around the pool and then run back against the current, hey, it’s harder than it sounds). The instructors are wonderful, making me do twice as many reps as the older ladies so I get a little harder workout. They play songs I know and love. And, afterward, I can swim some extra laps for my core. That’s right, I found it. And you know what, its right where it’s supposed to be.