Leaving My BS Life Behind!
I’ve become someone I never thought I’d be. A yoga attendee. I’m still not comfortable labeling myself a ‘Yogi’ because, I mean, come on. In May of last year I was having back problems and after a very close call of almost buying bulk sessions at a chiropractor, I decided to try yoga. I’d been very skeptical of yoga for years because I greatly generalized and stereotyped it in my BS – Before Shavasana – life.
I had my thoughts on the people that did yoga. Mostly that all participants had to be huge bitches – have you ever met anyone more uppity than someone about to go to yoga? I thought all women taking yoga had to just wear one of those very confusing and very strappy, Cat’s Cradle kind of sports bras. I’ve never been onboard with the exercising in just a sports bra look. I’m of the “if you got it, flaunt it!… in the privacy of your own home/only to those who ask you directly to flaunt it for them” mindset.
I also had my thoughts on the practice of yoga in general. I thought all yoga classes played trance-y, spa music that sounds like a flutist and harpist recorded a duet in outer space. I thought you had to breathe loudly and in unison with your peers. I thought you had to have life changing breakthroughs in meditation, the kind that make you start a raw diet or grow dreadlocks.
But as it goes with most of my internal narratives, yoga is not like what I built it up to be in my mind. Or at least it doesn’t have to be. I found a place, that I now refer to with a contrasting mix of unease and cultish loyalty as “my studio”, and it’s everything I never thought yoga could be.
The music is loud and aggressive; a combination of hip hop, electronica and other surprisingly powerful jams. For example, I did NOT expect to get fully hyped from “Battle flag” by Lo Fidelity All Stars and chaturanga by face off.
I don’t have to breathe in my aura and sigh out my stress or * whatever * (aster-ix signifies an eye roll). In fact, I don’t have to breathe at all! And I basically don’t for much of the class because I’m distracted by the competition I’ve forged with myself to hold my leg a little higher, drop my chest a little lower and NOT fall on top of the person next to me.
I went to one class, felt immediate relief in my back pain and have been a dedicated student? Member?…Person…? for the last year. I’m still feel new to the whole community though and there’s a lot I still don’t understand. Like, where do I look during Twisting Half Moon? How does meditation work? And the most pressing question: what’s the best mat for my sweat level?
My mom bought me a really awesome patterned mat for my birthday and it seemed like the perfect thing to push me from “I’m new here” to “I come here often” status. While this mat had glowing reviews on Amazon, they failed to mentioned that when it gets wet, the purple/pink ombre turns blood red. Which is FINE if you sweat a “droplet” amount, but when you sweat a “puddle” amount, the mat looks like a brutal killing took place 20 minutes into class.
The only way my sweat would only be less murder-y is if each time a drop fell from my body, it made a gun shot noise when it hit the mat. The amount I sweat is truly mortifying and should be reason enough to never show up to another yoga class ever again. But I love it so much and I cannot, nay, WILL not go back to my BS life.
I have always loved exercising and the feeling I get after a good work out but there is something different about yoga. My brain – that never shuts up – connects to the rest of my body in a way it never has before. And even a slight adjustment to my pose reveals a new combination of muscles working together. I also love that laying down at the end and basking in my accomplishments is PART of the class. I rarely take time to actually rest after a work out but at MY STUDIO I get to relax in my pool(s) of sweat and let my muscles congratulate each other how much ass they kicked.
Those last 10 minutes of Shavasana have become very important to me. I don’t think what I do is really “meditation” per se, but I do clear my mind. One time I left class feeling so refreshed and positive that I decided I would throw a fundraising concert. I didn’t, but it’s that fleeting euphoric energy that keeps me coming back. Who would have thought that all it takes to change your mind about something is to try it!
So if you’re having back problems, are looking to get stronger, or want to throw a benefit concert but aren’t sure where to start, I highly recommend trying yoga. Namaste.