By Sue Murphy
Darius Rucker’s new song says, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” He probably meant something like motocross or bungee jumping, but it motivated me to try (drumroll, please) yoga.
Not goat yoga. Apparently, some people find it relaxing or fulfilling or whatever to practice yoga with a hooved animal cavorting nearby, but that sounded like a stretch for a beginner.
Yoga was going to be a stretch for me, anyway. I’d started a dance fusion class back in January, but that was just a fancy update to my old Zumba group. The instructor puts on high-energy music and we, the fusees (fusers?), flail around behind her as best we can. On Tuesdays, they throw in little maraca hand weights, which is even more fun.
All that moving, moving, moving fits right in with the rest of my life. There’s a part of me, however, that longs for a little serenity. I picture myself being peaceful and calm and centered, as they say, and yoga looked like a good place to start.
To be truthful, I had tried yoga before, but that was a long time ago, and I didn’t know how much stretch I had left in me. But what the heck? If I ended up in traction, it would get me out of cleaning the garage.
OK, deep breath. (I’d heard that’s where the class started.) I walked in the first day carrying my new yoga mat and sporting a pair of official yoga pants. Oh yeah, and I’d made sure that my bare feet were presentable. First impressions are so important.
The room was dimmed and the music playing in the background was of the spa variety, you know, quiet and played on a flute or sitar. What I did not know was that this was a higher-level yoga group, one where everyone already knew the poses and could move between them at a self-confident pace. I had seen downward dog on TV, but I had no idea about the other animals, so I spent the hour quietly shifting my limbs so as not to draw attention to myself and returned the next week for what the instructor promised would be a more sedate yoga experience.
I’ve been to several classes now, and I do love it. The instructor has been very patient with me, which I appreciate, and I am doing a little better on the poses. What I’m having trouble with is the quiet.
When, in the dim lighting, the instructor encourages us to clear our minds, it becomes clear to me how cluttered my mind has become. With a great deal of concentration, I can shoo away my grocery list and the last episode of “Maine Cabin Builders,” but that just makes room for other things like, “Who makes this background music? At the end of the studio session, does someone say (in a peaceful voice), ‘Let’s try that one again. I didn’t hit REM until after the second chorus?’ And where is the chorus? Are there words to this song?” And then, of course, because I cannot let it go, I begin to make some up. Maybe this is where the goat is supposed to come in. Maybe if you’re worried about an animal stepping on you or leaving behind something you might downward dog into, you don’t have time for such nonsense.
Yoga. I will soldier on. Of course, now being peaceful and centered and calm is an item on my to-do list. Really, I can’t help myself.
Namaste, y’all. ❖