Saturday morning, I went to a yoga class with my niece, Caitlin. She’s been bugging me for ages to go with her, and I figured now’s as good a time as any. Summer’s over, and I’m trying to get back on the good foot, diet and exercise-wise. Besides, Zumba doesn’t start up again ‘til October, so what the heck, right? As they say, the older you get, the more important it is to try new things.
Besides, yoga’s supposed to improve your strength, flexibility, and balance. And, frankly, that’s where I’m at. I no longer exercise to get in shape per se. I’m just taking precautions so’s I won’t fall down and break a hip or something.
I ate a light breakfast that morning. Didn’t want to be too logy for class. Besides, I figured we could drop by the Busy Bee after for one of Babes famous cinnamon rolls with maple icing. To die for!
Caitlin picks me up a little before nine. “Gee, Aunt Ida,” she says, “don’t you look cute. Your outfit even matches your yoga mat.”
“You bet! Got ‘em both down to the Wally Mart the last time I was there. As you know, sky blue is pretty prominent on my color wheel.”
“I do. It’s one of your star colors. You didn’t need to buy a mat, though. I told you, they have ‘em there at the yoga studio.”
“Oh, Caitlin, I just couldn’t stomach the idea of using some mat other people’ve sweated on. Honey, there’s not enough Purell in the world!”
“Then, you’d better bring a blanket, too. You’ll need it for Corpse pose. We do that at the end of the class.”
“Corpse pose?! How hard does this gal plan to work us? “Til we keel over?”
“Oh, no, Aunt Ida! Nothing like that.”
“’Cause you know, as a rule, I try not to break a sweat.”
“I know. Not to worry. This is Gentle Yoga. It’s all about going at your own pace, not forcing anything. You’re gonna love it!”
So we get to the yoga studio, and it’s real nice: a big open room, New Age-y music playing, incense burning, the works. Everyone’s talking in hushed tones.
Then the teacher, this slender woman, probably in her late thirties, rings a bell and the class begins. She starts by introducing herself. Turns out she has some kind of “spiritual name.” I can’t remember what it was. All I know is that it sounded like a healthy breakfast. You know, one of them all natural, high-fiber cereals with fruit. “Kashi,” “Kashi-banana,” or something like that. She calls herself a yogi. Says she’s been practicing for….I don’t know how long, because at this point all I can picture is Yogi Bear eating some cereal he’s stolen from a camper!
Well, that’s how it started. I feel this giggling fit coming on (this used to happen to me at mass sometimes), and I’m trying not to let it out. Then I start overheating. I mean, waves of warmth, radiating up. By now the class is concentrating on breathing in and out, in and out, and it sounds just like Darth Vader. Suddenly, a gulp of laughter escapes, more like a snort, a really loud snort. I couldn’t help it.
Kashi-banana doesn’t miss a beat. “Yes,” she says, “feel free to vocalize in any way that moves you. Let it out.” Then I can see Caitlin out of the corner of my eye, and she’s starting to lose it. Tears are streaming down my face. I feel like I’m going to pass out! Plus, of course, I have to pee. What a workout! And we weren’t even five minutes into the class.
It was hard, but after doing a little “centering” in the ladies room, I managed to pull myself together. I scurry back to class and do the whole menagerie: the Up Dog, Down Dog, Cat, Cobra, Frog with a Triangle, and Warrior thrown in for good measure. And I kept the giggling to a minimum, too, except when someone let it rip during the Wind Relieving pose. Well, how could I not? To be fair, I wasn’t the only one who cracked up. Why is a fart always funny? I don’t know, but it just is.
Kashi-banana was pretty low key, let me tell you. She’d say things like, “I invite you to relax and breath into the stretch, honoring your body, never doing more than what feels right.”
I can’t say how much of the class “felt right,” but it wasn’t bad. Kind of relaxing, really. My favorite pose might have been the Mountain, which is basically just standing there. I was fond of the Corpse pose, too, as it turns out. That consists of laying on your back with a blanket over you, thinking about warm cinnamon rolls with maple icing. Sorry! That last part was what I was doing, while the rest of the class laying there, thanking their bodies for a job well done.
OK, the hardest part of yoga class? Getting up from that darned Corpse pose! Laying on the floor for ten minutes is easy, but I got to say, once you get to a certain age, getting up from that position ain’t much to look at, if you catch my drift. Especially if there’s nothing to grab onto.
“Go ahead, Caitlin,” I says, rolling over onto all fours,” Leave me here. Save yourself!”
“Very funny,” she replies. “I believe there’s a cinnamon roll with your name on it waiting down to the Busy Bee. Is that motivation enough for you?”
Turns out, it was. I hopped up lickety-split, grabbed my mat and water bottle, popped a couple of “head ‘em off at the pass” ibuprofen, and zip, zip, zip, off we go to the Busy Bee. ‘Cause in the words of the greatest Yogi of ‘em all (Berra), “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
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