Actually, Thursday night was not when I had first tried yoga. My first yoga class was when Husband and I went on our dream getaway to Big Sur. We had decided, on a whim, to try a morning yoga class in a yurt. We were two of three people in the class. Our teacher was zaftig, perfectly juicy I remember thinking, and clear-skinned. She glowed an energy that demonstrated probably how she lived. I fought urges to smell her because I had made bets with myself that she smelled woody with amber . She was also patient and not particularly kind, but calmingly neutral. Afterwards, Husband and I had felt unexpectedly -- we didn't know what to expect -- refreshed, revitalized. This yurt yoga experience was what first piqued my interest to pursue yoga regularly.
Before Thursday night's class I took my book, which had collected dust, to a sushi spot that overlooked the ocean. I ordered a seaweed salad, green tea and then I tried to special order a vegetable roll, but my waitress cut me off and said, "Oh, we don't do that." Which pissed me off kinda because isn't that guy behind the bar with the sharp knife an artist? Wouldn't he possibly want to try to make it? Or do they just run pre-made rolls down a shoot now? Breathe, Madness, it's Yoga Night goddamn it. I was a little amped on that second cup of coffee. "Ok, regular veggie rolls, please." But still, I had the ocean, seaweed and a book on Mami Thursday. I felt bursting joy in my heart.
At the Yoga Spot, I became nervous as I waited for class to begin. A candle flickered in the dimly lit room floored with beautiful light wood. The air was warm and heavy from the previous class. I felt in over my head. Everyone waiting looked so yoga-like and fresh. Startled, I thought, wait, are you not supposed to wear all black to yoga? I looked down at my black dance pants and my black Post Punk Kitchen tshirt. Maybe all the black blocks something, energy or some shit. I don't want to block something. I shook this off and just did what the others did. I grabbed a mat. I grabbed a folded blanket. Why I was grabbing a blanket, I had not one clue. The teacher walked to the front of class. She was a sub for the regular teacher, and she had a strong, lovely Irish accent. I thought, Ooo how great that I get to listen to this for an hour and a half. Later, I would find it kinda funny how certain instruction sounded. Like, "go ahead and bend your knees from soide-t-soide." Chuckle, chuckle. This also brought me private bursts of joy.
Here's what I learned:
1. The blanket you can tuck under your butt while doing certain sitting things. I found this uncomfortable so I tossed the blanket to the side. You can also cover yourself at the end of the class. I didn't do this either.
2. If you're a dancer, the transition into yoga may be easier than for other beginners. Dancers constantly think of the alignment of body parts. Which always reminds me of my favorite I Love Lucy episode where Lucy takes a ballet class and Madame Lamond rattles rapidly, "Back straight, hips under, shoulders back, chin up ---" and Lucy makes adjustments like a rag doll.
3. You can make yoga much harder than it looks if you really concentrate on these adjustments and elongating and such. I was digging that.
4. Beyond trying to adjust, the breathing and the flow of movement felt . . .universal and connected. Are all yoga practitioners saying "DUH" as they read this? How late am I to this party? I'm just saying, I could feel this right there in that first class. I could feel it because I was not self conscious about diving into this whole-heartedly. Is this another "DUH" statement? Or "doi hickey" as we used to say in middle school?
5. DUDES! I didn't know there was nap time at the end of yoga! We didn't do this in the yurt. How great is that though? Three times during these ten wonderful minutes, I consciously thought, "I'm meditating, yo!" I was giddy by this point and still I was able to empty myself -- except for the couple "I'm meditating!" outbursts . I felt huge, looming over the room, and I felt I had disappeared. I felt like I didn't need to breathe. I felt like I wasn't. I felt completely alive/awake and I felt I was in a dreamstate. I felt weightless. I felt I had melted to my mat.
I felt that Yoga was going to be another decision to enhance my life beyond what I was capable of understanding, even in that all and nothing state.