I didn't do anything! Really! That's not powdered sugar on my nose... It's not! Ernie did it!
On Wednesday night I met my friend (and athlete) Linda at Prana Power Yoga in Newton. I had no idea what to expect. I hadn't asked what kind of yoga we were doing, or whether we were having class in a hot stuido. I only knew that I needed a mat, a towel, and a water bottle, and that I should leave time to park.
When I entered the studio the blast of hot, moist air totally shocked my system. I couldn't even BE in this room, let alone do funny, hard to manage poses in this room! But now was not the time to bow out. I was here. I was doing this.
The lights were dim. Linda got me a yoga block (not that I knew what to do with it) and we set up our mats. Jacqui, the instructor, began by telling us that yoga was not about perfect poses. Yoga is about connection, she said.
Easy for you to say, I thought. You already know the poses! But I was quiet.
She began the class. Child pose.... she said. (I think.... Maybe it's called baby pose? I don't remember.)
Anyway, I had no idea what she was talking about. So, I just copied Linda.
My hip flexors. Holy shit. My hip flexors.
Wait? How long are we going to stay here in this pose? Freaking OUCH!
And I was already dripping sweat. Oh Godddd......
I looked at the guy in front of me. He was sweating way worse than me. Plus he looked like there was no way he could be flexible...too big and beefy. If he could do this, I could do this.
We moved into Downward Facing Dog, High Push-up, then something something something.
People were breathing audbily. Then we did three Ohmmmmmmmsssssssssss.
It sounded very cool.
I have always, always been turned off by classes like this. My mind reels, and I wonder what everyone else is thinking. I want out. I could be running, biking... moving my body fast. But this time...
I don't know. Maybe it's because I have aged quite a bit since the last time I attended a yoga class. Maybe it's because this week I have had a lot on my mind, and I have been having trouble sorting it out and putting each thought into its appropriate, contained box. Maybe it's because my mind needed so much to slow down... and my body too.
But -- it was different this time.
I sweated. I ohmmmmmmmed. I sweated. I breathed. I stopped concentrating on everyone else. I tried to quiet my brain.
And it was such a relief.
As I go through life I write in my head.
You may not know what I mean by that...
What I mean is that as I am living something, I am writing it. My mind is always writing things as I experience them. I didn't realize the extent to which I do this until Wednesday night. The very hardest part of the class was to stop writing... to stop describing what was happening--to stop making jokes for my readers' benefit.
But when I was finally able to stop writing I nearly lost myself--and I don't even know quite where I went!
I was literally upset when the class was over. I did not want to leave. I wanted to stay there, sweaty and hot, with my mind only focused on my breath and my body.
But then the lights came on and I started writing in my head again.
I think I'm going back. I want more.
My friend Steve has been doing a ton of trail running, and has encouraged me to try it. I did today. I took the dogs out to the woods. I didn't wear my Garmin. I didn't wear a watch. We just ran.
Hazel was psyched. She stayed right on my heel and only stopped when we met other dogs and she needed/wanted a sniff. Ernie was less agreeable. Several times he just stopped, and sat. I have no idea why... I think he was tired and was like, NOPE! I'm resting. I'm not moving an inch until I am good and ready. But aside from those Ernie moments, we had a great run...
and you know.
It happened again. I stopped writing. I just breathed, I think. I'm not even sure! I think we were going very slowly--maybe not even 10:00 minute miles. But it was peaceful and easy. And it is a gorgeous day. And I felt -- calm. Understand, it is not usual for me to feel calm, or to stop writing my life as I live it.
So maybe the gift in all this is that I have found two things which can help me STOP my brain... my brain which is in constant motion-which won't stop churning-which won't stop writing.
So ... Vinyasa yoga. Trail running slowly with my dogs.
It might be good. It really might be good.