Okay, I enjoy yoga. Yes, yoga studios can smell like feet, the idea of using someone else’s yoga mat totally grosses me out, and sometimes you get an instructor who sounds like they just left the commune circa 1968 but get past that and it’s not bad.
I thought yoga was great because it teaches you to do things like stand up, lay down, and breath. When I started I thought, “damn, a physical activity I’ll be awesome at!” To some extent that’s true, but in a lot of ways it makes you more aware of what you’re doing and it does indeed help you to relax. For example, at the end of every yoga class you do shavasana where you basically lay down on the floor (sometimes in the dark depending on the instructor). No that’s it, I didn’t forget anything. In theory, you close your eyes and totally relax. But in my first class I couldn’t close my eyes. I couldn’t relax. I just started laughing. out loud. In front of a lot of people who were dead serious about lying on the floor doing nothing.
In my defense, the teacher started talking about really schlocky stuff. Your atoms and the universe’s atoms (this was in Princeton, NJ where everything comes back to science)… and I just lost it. I snorted, I tried to hold it in but yoga people can be an interesting and quirky group to put it nicely and if you’re not used to it… See Example Here. Over time, though, I’ve learned to enjoy just laying on the floor. In fact, I almost fell asleep the last time I was in a class. When I run, I think to myself, “breath in…2..3…4.. breath out…2.3..4.. upward dog shoulders…” And you know what? I don’t hunch over as much. My shoulders actually relax and go back down.
Just yesterday, my heels went all the way down in down dog. In the true spirit of yoga, I quietly contemplated this achievement. Then celebrated with thin mint cookies and a dinner of bacon and pancakes.