Monday, January 14, 2008

Do Not Attempt This at Home

They say yoga is relaxing. Clearly "they" haven't done it at my house.

Making good on my new year vow to do at least a little yoga every day (yes, I know this is the 14th, but you're not supposed to point that out -- I'm trying to relax), this morning I dug out an old yoga video from the back corner of the linen closet and prepared to be enlightened. While I waited for the tape to rewind, I pulled out my little-used yoga mat, reached for my Christmas-present yoga blocks, and came to an abrupt halt.

The blocks were not where I was absolutely certain I'd left them. I discovered this, of course, just as the tape was about to begin. My shoes were off because you can't do yoga with them on. But because my plantar fasciitis is raging like wildfire, I can't walk around barefoot, either. So I pulled on a shoe-and-a-half and hop-walked quickly around the main clutter population centers of the downstairs. No blocks.

I let out the kind of sigh that would have undoubtedly prompted one of the boys to ask "What's wrong, Mom?" had they been home. Three minutes into my 20-minute yoga experience and I was actually feeling a lot more stressed than when I'd started. It was okay, though. We were beginning with a quiet relaxation exercise. I'd be concentrating before I knew it.

I was right. Seconds after I hit the floor, I was concentrating -- on cat hair. The carpet was covered in it. That got me to thinking how much better our house would look if I vacuumed every day, which quickly led to my realization that I'm not doing that, to quote Roseanne Barr, until they invent a riding vacuum, which in turn caused me to question what had ever possessed me to acquire both white carpet and two balding cats in the first place. Odds are I was both exhaling and inhaling during this shame spiral, but honestly, I wasn't paying attention.

My instructor, however, had become one with the universe, so it was time to move on to some flexibility work. Lying on his back with his legs in the air, he spread them and encouraged me to follow suit. I did, and kicked the dresser. This is not a tiny house, but we have about six square feet of useable exercise floor space, and obviously I was not properly centered within them. I readjusted and managed to spread both legs evenly about the time Rodney put his back down on the floor. It didn't matter anyway. I was still thinking about the damn carpet.

We moved on through various poses, and I finally started to get into it. My breathing slowed; my face relaxed. Lying on my back, I lowered my outstretched arms to my side. The left one touched the floor. The right one hit the dresser. I said several things, and "namaste" wasn't one of them. But I wasn't getting up and moving again. My right arm would just have to make do.

We ended, my teacher and I, with a few moments of guided meditation. Watching his face, I really think he was listening to the ocean waves in the background. I seriously doubt I looked that peaceful, though. I was straining to hear whether the washing machine had gotten off balance.

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