A Born Again Yoga Virgin

Oh yes, it’s vaguely familiar. The serenity, the breath, the stretch. Oh yes, it’s all coming back to me now. I can do this! Unfortunately, I am the last one through the door and the only spot open is front row. That’s Okay, right?

I roll out my mat, then tip-toe to the equipment and retrieve a blanket and a set of blocks. I pretend I’m not the least bit bothered that I’m the last one to get settled, that the class seams to be waiting on me, and that I haven’t been to Yoga in six months. I’m trying to get into the rhythm of things.That’s when I finally notice everyone is lying on their backs with a blanket underneath them as well as a bolster leaning up on blocks positioned under their heads. This posture is lifting the whole back to allow gravity to pull the shoulders down and open, thereby opening the heart center.

My instructor has made her way to her mat and is addressing the class in her best yoga voice, talking about the benefits of the pose. I didn’t notice we were using bolsters today, so now I have to figure out how to get one without ruining everyone’s tranquility. I am, after all, front and center. I get up as stealthily as I can, slither over to the wall and clumsily reach for a bolster. I frantically grab for it, but it slips from my hands as I swing around to go back to my mat, landing smack on a fellow yogis face.

“Oh!” she startles and bats the heavy bolster off her face as if she were being suffocated..”Oh, I’m so sorry!” I whisper frantically reclaiming the fallen bolster.. “Sorry!” I reiterate as i carefully step over my fellow yogis. Back on my mat, I quickly unfurl the blanket, set one end of the bolster on the blocks, sit down and lay back. I take a deep breath willing myself to calm down and settle into the pose. Apparently, everyone else had been there for a while.

“Okay,” the instructor says just as I begin to relax, “let’s set our bolsters aside and come to our hands and knees.” We do a series of cat and cow, stretching our backs and loosening up our joints. “Now,” she says, “let’s step back to down dog, now slowly walk your feet forward, and slowly work your way up. We’re going to go into mountain, then into tree.”

I manage mountain fine, then tree, then a series of sun salutations. I’m starting to relax and really enjoy the practice when she instructs us in a pose called Starfish.

“From down dog,” we are told, “firmly ground your right foot and right hand on the mat. Pull your belly-button into your spine. Now open yourself up by lifting your left arm to the sky as well as the left leg. That’s right. Concentrate on the breath, stretch those limbs to heaven.”

My whole body is shaking like a babies rattle. I am balancing on my right foot and hand (my wrist is killing me by now,) and I’m struggling with all my might to reach and hold my left leg and arm toward heaven.

“Now, if you find this too difficult,” she begins to show the modified version, but, sad to say, just a tad bit too late for me. I tip over flat on my back with a mighty crash taking my neighbor out with me. It was a domino affect. Everyone to my left went down. Thank goodness, there were only four of us. I thought I’d die right then and there.How does one apologize for this? What could I possibly say?

Unless they see me coming and lock the doors, I’m going back Thursday. I plan to wear a totally different outfit, maybe sunglasses and a hat. I’m going to arrive really early and set up in the very back row with every piece of equipment available. And why not go for it? I’ve already embarrassed myself to death and it’s possible different  people from last week will be there, and maybe the change of outfit will help disguise me.

Regardless, I have zero pride left, so I might as well keep at it. And besides that,  I’ve decided I’m not giving up until I can do Starfish without taking out the whole first row.


Mary Ann

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