Some say that the in order to move on from an uncomfortable situation, the healing process begins when you have reached acceptance. Another step in this healing process is apologizing to those that you feel you have wronged over the years. So step one: I’ve accepted the fact that I’ll never be a yogini and step two: to all the yoga enthusiasts out there, “I am sorry.” What you do in yoga class is way too hard for me and I will no longer say that yoga is just for wussies.
You see, over the years I’ve mainly just lifted weights and love cardio training. I love hopping on a bike or going for a run, but yoga? Yeah right. Yoga was just for yoginis and that there was no way you could actually get a workout in yoga. I thought it was all Zen-like and “Mariska Hargitay” or was that Namaste? Well folks, I was wrong.
Several years ago I was looking at starting a yoga franchise in the Twin Cities area. I had travelled to the southern United States, met with the franchisor, tried out their unique classes, but when there was a major change in their franchise agreement, I decided not to pursue owning a yoga studio. Oh, there was also another thing called the “Financial Market Meltdown of 2008” which most likely would have bankrupt me had I actually opened the yoga studio.
However, since that time and three surgeries later, I’ve probably been in yoga studio less than the number of fingers on my right hand. First, I was embarrassed that I couldn’t do half of the chimichanga, I mean chatarunga, moves. Second, when I tried to do yoga in a toga, let’s just say that wasn’t a pretty sight in downward dog. Third, I’ve tried to greet the sun with a salutation that usually resulted in a middle finger pointed in the air, while I’m shaking my fist cursing myself within my head as I balance like a tree.
Alas this past Sunday, instead of hopping on a treadmill or indoor bicycle and playing a few games of “Words with Friends,” I joined a hot vinyasa yoga class. Before getting my inner Zen working, I did a brief 10-minute warm up on the treadmill. My interval training consisted of one minute walking and one minute running. Before you knew it, I was done and had burned almost 173 calories. Not too shabby, but I was feeling crabby.
As I walked into the Lifetime Fitness yoga studio, I already had some sweat on my brow, but the heat suddenly hit me and the room was dark. My eyes couldn’t adjust too quickly, but I found my yoga mat unfolded and waiting for me. Great, my own personal hell for the next hour. I placed my tennis shoes next to my mat and I was quickly chastised, as apparently I wasn’t supposed to bring shoes into the studio. Knowing that I had my iPhone tucked into my shoes so that my Bluetooth heart rate monitor would be able to measure my calories burned, I managed to somehow move my shoes away from the eyes that pitied me. Yep, I could sense the “Oh look at this yoga rookie. He has no idea what he’s in for.”
As I lay down on my back, I thought, “Hey, this isn’t too bad.” There was some pleasant-sounding music, the yoga instructors voice was soothing. To me it seemed like the perfect place to take a nap as I began to drift into visions of the Love Guru. I kept on internally chuckling. Once I began warming up, I said to myself, “Self, you got this.” Then I realized my self was lying to me. Each series of moves progressively became more and more difficult for me and I was becoming a bit frustrated. I mean come on, I’m strong, I have strong leg muscles, and I know how to do a push up, right? Wrong, I was quickly humbled through this experience as sweat continued to pour down my face, arms and legs.
About 10 minutes into the class, my body was attempting some type of contortionist’s move, when I suddenly vomited in my mouth and quickly swallowed. I knew I was in trouble from this moment forward. I was trying such moves as figure fours, when I realized I was no warrior two or three, but warrior none. If fact, in the one hour class I probably spent half of this laying down as the heat was getting to me and my heart was racing as I quickly went through not one, but two towels to wipe up by tears, I mean sweat.
Finally, after a few too many stinging cobras I felt like the perfect cow that I was, sitting quickly in a happy baby pose. As I grabbed my toes, the only thing I was thinking in my mind was, “Please don’t fart. Please don’t fart.” I can proudly say that nothing came out of the furnace, if you know what I mean. At one point the yoga instructor came over to me and told me to stop working too hard. As the glass ended with a Namaste (or in my case a Mariska Hargitay), I gathered up my shoes and looked at my fitness app that was tracking my caloric burn. Then it hit me, a wave of euphoria as I saw that in the one-hour class I had burned over 800 calories.
First, I was proud that I finished the class. Second, from that moment forward I vowed to never ever evah again think that yoga was just for wussies, unless I categories myself as a wussy. Third, I can’t wait to come back again for another class in the near future.
So in parting, as I am gently reminded that the soreness in my body two days later was a result of an amazing yoga class, to all of the yoga enthusiasts and yoginis out there, “I am sorry, I was wrong.” You are all amazing in each of your own way; I can’t wait again for our next yoga day.