I have dabbled in yoga in the past, but really only the P90x version. (“Do your best! Forget the rest!” Yeah, Tony Horton. You da man.) The one other yoga experience I had was at the local YMCA, and it must have been more like a stretch class, because I didn’t get much out of it. Except I managed to jam my toe and pull off half my toenail in a transition from Downward Facing Dog to Warrior I.
Because I don’t start my new job until Friday and today was technically a recovery day…I got to be one of those leisurely women who drop the kids at school wearing yoga pants… and then go to yoga.
I felt strangely embarrassed as I dropped the kids off. “Oh, I’m off work today,” I’m explaining to all the people at school. Like they care. Like it matters.
So I walked into yoga, and unrolled my very uncool, very old, very smell yoga mat. I realized quickly that this was HOT vinyasa yoga. Boy.
And I was wearing some old stretch pants that smell perfectly fine… until they become extremely sweaty—-and then they start to stink. I was too scared to wear my Lululemons because I feared the see-through possibility, and they had not been Downward Dog tested yet.
But hot yoga and these pants. Boy.
One of the cool things about this yoga class… I almost immediately unwound the tight ball of knotty yarn in the pit of my stomach. I was able to be present in the class and listen to myself. To stretch the sore training muscles.
The next cool thing is that my sense of balance (or un-balance) has improved greatly as shown from transition from Airplane Pose to Tree.
Finally, the instructor had us pair up with another person at the end of class. (Oh the horror! Me… who doesn’t play well with others. Please don’t pair us up!)
I glanced over shyly at my partner. A very beautiful, slim woman about twenty-eight years old.
She. Without a drop of sweat anywhere. Me. A sweltering, sweaty beast of a person in the throes of Ironman emotions.
Beauty and the Sweaty Yoga Beast. Literally. (Beast being the one wearing ripe, stinky pants.)
She was perfectly nice. But I cringed everytime she had to grab my wrist, because I was so, so sweaty. And by the time we were in a position to wrap arms around each other to support Tree Pose, she was touching my back with only a finger, and I was doing the same—-trying to pretend that I wasn’t grossing her out. Poor Beauty. Just trying to go to yoga and got hooked up with me.
The final stretch was sitting back to back. Meaning my sweaty back against her dry, nice Lululemon tank. Then we were to link arms and one of us would lean forward and pull the other back.
Well, I went first and she leaned me back.
OWIE! MY TAILBONE! Leaning on that hardwood floor at that angle. Sharp, shooting pain in the ass. My rear, which for the most part, hurts only on the bike… apparently hurts in the Butterfly Partner stretch with Beauty. Badly.
So I’m crying out. Sweating. Beauty is looking at me and she’s sweet, but I feel like a freak. Like a stupid, fat, klutz.
So during the last stretch… you know, the best part of yoga, when you lay on the floor for five minutes and take a nap… I really concentrated on some self-love. And some affirming words. Because honestly, my beautiful yoga partner was actually really nice… and probably didn’t care at all about my sweat. I mean, we were in hot yoga. Sweat is likely expected.
I emailed one of my friends from my old law firm who is a big fan of the hot yoga. She replied to my email, “I bet hot yoga showed you how strong you are.”
I hadn’t thought about it that way. Yes, it had. I was able to hold all the poses and make reasonably smooth transitions—-while not as gracefully as—but as completely as all the others in the class.
Where I was sliding all over my mat from sweat, I was able to hold and breathe and appreciate. My core, my legs, and my heart felt strong and grateful. Aside from the class-ending self-doubt with Beauty, I was on target. And even by the end, I had turned it around and been grateful.
At the end of class, someone from the gym childcare had come in and spoken softly to Beauty. Something about her son in the childcare. “He’s okay, but I wanted to let you know it happened,” said the childcare specialist.
She’s a mom, too.
In that moment, I realized that whether Beauty or Ironman Beast… many of us are women and men, who are also parents, friends, employees and caregivers… with our own issues and timing and goals…
We, who are all working….just trying to find our little space of beauty.
And who knows… maybe the Beauty was there… looking for her inner Beast. 🙂