Holey Yoga


I tell myself, when I need to put a positive spin on things, that I take pride in the worn clothing my husband and I routinely wear.  The holes in the knees of our jeans; the wear around the necklines that no needle and thread could ever hope to repair; the sad, frayed sweaters—all are symbols: We are Frugal.  We are Salt of the Earth.  We Use Things Up. 

I tell myself we’re not Poor.  We’re not Cheap.    We’re not Waiting to Lose Weight before buying new clothes.  No, this fable of mine goes, we’re Putting Money By for college and retirement.

But this month, we had just enough leftover cash to pay for six weeks of yoga classes for my daughters and me. 

Because yoga’s good for when you’re thinking about college expenses and how to pay them.


* * *

The room was dark and smelled of incense.  There were battery-operated  flickering lights designed to look like candles strategically placed around the perimeter of the room.

“You new at yoga?”  A woman asked me as we claimed our place at the back of the room.

I’m not,” I replied airily.  I had, after all, been introduced to yoga when I was a child.  And then, there was that two month class I took with my mother several years ago.  I nodded to my daughters.  “They are.” 

Women entered in pretty yoga clothes.  They carried designer water bottles and fancy-pants mats beneath their arms.  With a casual flick of their wrists, they rolled out their mats and sat. 

I took my own fancy-pants mat, my just-purchased, industrial strength, extra-thick, Microban-treated mat in one hand.  I gave a casual flick of my wrist.  The mat slipped from my hand and rolled across the floor, bumping into the back of a woman apparently in deep meditation.

“Sorry,” I whispered, retrieving my mat and spreading it out properly.

The room was growing crowded.  More and more and still more people entered the room. 

“We’ll have to scrunch in,” the instructor--a tiny, incredibly fit woman--said.  Looking at her, I felt like a behemoth.  I pulled my stomach in.  I sat up straighter.  I wished I hadn’t worn my oversized sweatshirt; wished I hadn’t stolen my husband’s sweatpants from his dresser.  Wished I, too, had pretty yoga pants.

“We’re supposed to be downstairs,” the instructor continued.  “But they forgot about a town meeting.”  She laughed, embarrassed.  “We’ve got twenty-one registered for tonight.”

Another woman entered.  A muscular woman in double tank tops and tight black pants.  She looked at the crowd.  Frowned.  She came to the back.  She set up shop beside me. 

I scooted my mat over.  Gave her a pained smile.

“Remember,” the instructor intoned, after bringing us to attention with the ringing of some sort of gong. “Yoga isn’t about competition.  Yoga is for you.”

I nodded.  I didn’t need to worry about Mrs. Muscles beside me.  Yoga is not a competition.

The instructor demonstrated proper breathing technique.  Mrs. Muscles started breathing noisily, so forcefully, that she threatened to blow out one of the fake candles at the front of the room.  We sat upon our mats, legs crossed.  We began rotating our trunks in small circles, gradually increasing in ever-widening concentricity. 

 V snickered.

Filibuster snickered.

I snickered, too.  “Ssssh,” I hissed, between laughter.

We stood.  We dangled over our feet, grabbing at our toes, bending our knees, if necessary.  We swayed our hips in a circular manner.  My hood flopped over and came to rest beside my face.  The strings dangled down, reaching lower than I could.

The instructor walked behind her charges, gently placing a corrective hand on hip, or back, or arm.  “Lift that tailbone.  Up.  UP.”   

I listened to my daughters grunting and struggling.  I laughed to myself.  I still have it, I thought.  They may be able to program a cell phone, but I could do yoga.

As we began moving into the poses, I felt myself sinking into the stretch.  The body remembers. 

But then, the sequences got suddenly complicated.  There were strange poses and the workout felt like aerobics not beginner’s yoga.  Every time I got lost, I looked at Mrs. Muscles’ perfect form.  And then, I tried—and failed—to imitate it.

And, really, the body can remember only so much, and clearly, my abdominals had forgotten everything.   I watched Mrs. Muscles go from a seated position to flat on her back in one smooth motion.  I watched my daughters balance on their butts and lift both legs up, up, up, while all I could hope for was to not fall over as I extended my legs in the air before me.

Yoga isn’t a competition, I told myself.  Yoga is not a competition.   

I looked at Mrs. Muscles, perfectly posed.  This is not a competition, I thought at her.

We stood and went into the tree pose.  Mrs. Muscles, I noticed, wobbled a bit.  

I remained steady.  

I stood tall and smug.  

I was a tree.  A tree without an abdominal wall.  A tree that would love to look like Mrs. Muscles.  A tree that would kill to wear double tank tops and neat yoga pants without embarrassment.

Still, I thought to myself as I lay in the final resting pose, trying to stay awake, not bad for the first time back.
* * *
“How was it?” my husband asked as my daughters and I gimped into the door.

“Not bad,” I said brightly.

“Namaste,” V said.

“Ooommm,” Filibuster said.

“Oh, there are my sweat pants.  I was looking everywhere for them,” my husband said.

“Sorry.”  I went for a sheepish smile.  “I stole them from your dresser.”

“That’s OK,” my husband said, biting into a lemon-blueberry muffin and clapping the crumbs from his hands.  “But didn’t you know?”  He paused, smiling to himself.  It was a secretive smile.  It was a dangerous smile.  

“What?  Didn’t I know what?”

“Those sweats have a huge hole in the crotch.”




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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Holey Yoga

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Holey Yoga


I tell myself, when I need to put a positive spin on things, that I take pride in the worn clothing my husband and I routinely wear.  The holes in the knees of our jeans; the wear around the necklines that no needle and thread could ever hope to repair; the sad, frayed sweaters—all are symbols: We are Frugal.  We are Salt of the Earth.  We Use Things Up. 

I tell myself we’re not Poor.  We’re not Cheap.    We’re not Waiting to Lose Weight before buying new clothes.  No, this fable of mine goes, we’re Putting Money By for college and retirement.

But this month, we had just enough leftover cash to pay for six weeks of yoga classes for my daughters and me. 

Because yoga’s good for when you’re thinking about college expenses and how to pay them.


* * *

The room was dark and smelled of incense.  There were battery-operated  flickering lights designed to look like candles strategically placed around the perimeter of the room.

“You new at yoga?”  A woman asked me as we claimed our place at the back of the room.

I’m not,” I replied airily.  I had, after all, been introduced to yoga when I was a child.  And then, there was that two month class I took with my mother several years ago.  I nodded to my daughters.  “They are.” 

Women entered in pretty yoga clothes.  They carried designer water bottles and fancy-pants mats beneath their arms.  With a casual flick of their wrists, they rolled out their mats and sat. 

I took my own fancy-pants mat, my just-purchased, industrial strength, extra-thick, Microban-treated mat in one hand.  I gave a casual flick of my wrist.  The mat slipped from my hand and rolled across the floor, bumping into the back of a woman apparently in deep meditation.

“Sorry,” I whispered, retrieving my mat and spreading it out properly.

The room was growing crowded.  More and more and still more people entered the room. 

“We’ll have to scrunch in,” the instructor--a tiny, incredibly fit woman--said.  Looking at her, I felt like a behemoth.  I pulled my stomach in.  I sat up straighter.  I wished I hadn’t worn my oversized sweatshirt; wished I hadn’t stolen my husband’s sweatpants from his dresser.  Wished I, too, had pretty yoga pants.

“We’re supposed to be downstairs,” the instructor continued.  “But they forgot about a town meeting.”  She laughed, embarrassed.  “We’ve got twenty-one registered for tonight.”

Another woman entered.  A muscular woman in double tank tops and tight black pants.  She looked at the crowd.  Frowned.  She came to the back.  She set up shop beside me. 

I scooted my mat over.  Gave her a pained smile.

“Remember,” the instructor intoned, after bringing us to attention with the ringing of some sort of gong. “Yoga isn’t about competition.  Yoga is for you.”

I nodded.  I didn’t need to worry about Mrs. Muscles beside me.  Yoga is not a competition.

The instructor demonstrated proper breathing technique.  Mrs. Muscles started breathing noisily, so forcefully, that she threatened to blow out one of the fake candles at the front of the room.  We sat upon our mats, legs crossed.  We began rotating our trunks in small circles, gradually increasing in ever-widening concentricity. 

 V snickered.

Filibuster snickered.

I snickered, too.  “Ssssh,” I hissed, between laughter.

We stood.  We dangled over our feet, grabbing at our toes, bending our knees, if necessary.  We swayed our hips in a circular manner.  My hood flopped over and came to rest beside my face.  The strings dangled down, reaching lower than I could.

The instructor walked behind her charges, gently placing a corrective hand on hip, or back, or arm.  “Lift that tailbone.  Up.  UP.”   

I listened to my daughters grunting and struggling.  I laughed to myself.  I still have it, I thought.  They may be able to program a cell phone, but I could do yoga.

As we began moving into the poses, I felt myself sinking into the stretch.  The body remembers. 

But then, the sequences got suddenly complicated.  There were strange poses and the workout felt like aerobics not beginner’s yoga.  Every time I got lost, I looked at Mrs. Muscles’ perfect form.  And then, I tried—and failed—to imitate it.

And, really, the body can remember only so much, and clearly, my abdominals had forgotten everything.   I watched Mrs. Muscles go from a seated position to flat on her back in one smooth motion.  I watched my daughters balance on their butts and lift both legs up, up, up, while all I could hope for was to not fall over as I extended my legs in the air before me.

Yoga isn’t a competition, I told myself.  Yoga is not a competition.   

I looked at Mrs. Muscles, perfectly posed.  This is not a competition, I thought at her.

We stood and went into the tree pose.  Mrs. Muscles, I noticed, wobbled a bit.  

I remained steady.  

I stood tall and smug.  

I was a tree.  A tree without an abdominal wall.  A tree that would love to look like Mrs. Muscles.  A tree that would kill to wear double tank tops and neat yoga pants without embarrassment.

Still, I thought to myself as I lay in the final resting pose, trying to stay awake, not bad for the first time back.
* * *
“How was it?” my husband asked as my daughters and I gimped into the door.

“Not bad,” I said brightly.

“Namaste,” V said.

“Ooommm,” Filibuster said.

“Oh, there are my sweat pants.  I was looking everywhere for them,” my husband said.

“Sorry.”  I went for a sheepish smile.  “I stole them from your dresser.”

“That’s OK,” my husband said, biting into a lemon-blueberry muffin and clapping the crumbs from his hands.  “But didn’t you know?”  He paused, smiling to himself.  It was a secretive smile.  It was a dangerous smile.  

“What?  Didn’t I know what?”

“Those sweats have a huge hole in the crotch.”




Labels: , ,

19 Comments:

At January 18, 2012 at 11:15 AM , Anonymous Khashway said...

LOL!

 
At January 18, 2012 at 11:42 AM , Anonymous Elizabeth Young said...

I LOVE IT!!! The only thing worse than this is doing an exercise class in front of men who are working out on equipment at the other side of the room. I never went back to that public humiliation...

 
At January 18, 2012 at 2:33 PM , Anonymous meadering meágan said...

Hysterical. :-)

 
At January 18, 2012 at 2:57 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

The day after, yes. Thanks for reading.

 
At January 18, 2012 at 2:58 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

We actually had a man in the class, but he seemed pretty casual about the whole thing.

 
At January 18, 2012 at 2:58 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading!

 
At January 18, 2012 at 3:03 PM , Anonymous CB said...

Oops! Oh well. Eff 'em!

 
At January 18, 2012 at 4:43 PM , Anonymous Lance said...

I did yoga for 5 months...only dude in the class. i felt like i was in an inner sanctum that i shouldnt have been

very humorous and well delivered piece...bravo

 
At January 18, 2012 at 5:40 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Ha! We have one guy in the class - He seems pretty laid back.

 
At January 18, 2012 at 5:40 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading!

 
At January 19, 2012 at 4:32 AM , Anonymous Jodi said...

This was so funny. I didn't see it coming! A hole in the crotch. We can never take ourselves seriously, lest the world will show us in no uncertain terms, how not to. My open id didn't work so here is my url: www.healnowandforever.net

 
At January 19, 2012 at 9:29 AM , Anonymous tearinguphouses said...

bwahahaha!

 
At January 19, 2012 at 11:23 AM , Anonymous Maddie Grigg said...

Ouch! The lady next to me at yoga, the lady with the haughty look who was 'competing' all the way through the session made a very unladylike noise towards the end. Karma.

 
At January 19, 2012 at 12:06 PM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Maddie,
Yes, we also had that unladylike noise and it was all the girls and I could do to hold it together.

 
At January 19, 2012 at 12:06 PM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading.

 
At January 19, 2012 at 12:07 PM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

I think it's time for some yoga pants.

 
At January 20, 2012 at 1:48 PM , Anonymous DM said...

Very funny. Loved it. Your friend from She Writes Blogger

 
At January 21, 2012 at 7:23 AM , Anonymous Sisterhoodofthesensiblemoms said...

Punchline at the end made me snort. Great job.

 
At January 22, 2012 at 10:16 AM , Anonymous jesterqueen1 said...

Ahahahaaha! Yoga makes me feel like this, too. I don't own a shred of designer clothing, and I always show up in shorts. It's awkward. I want to look like those fancy women, breathe like them, BALANCE like them. Totally hear you. And ouch. I could have easily grabbed the crotchless sweats.

 

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