To be clear, it's not from lack of effort that I have yet to make it to yoga class. It just seems that whenever Wednesday evening comes around, the universe aligns itself in such a way that prevents me from going; or something like that. If I'm not working late, then I don't have a way to get myself to class. If I don't have transportation, then my ride falls through. After weeks of enduring this vicious cycle (and for the sake of my toneless back) I decided to take matters into my own hands. And now, thanks to the on-demand "Fitness and Exercise" section, I can proudly say that I survived my first yoga experience. Even if it was just barely.
First of all, I don't own a mat or any type of yoga paraphernalia. Secondly, my living room is far too small to do any sort of exercise comfortably. Lastly, I'm not exactly what you'd call highly coordinated or graceful, and my sense of balance? Well, let's just say that standing on one foot for more than two seconds is hard. So, when you combine all of these things, it's possible to deduce how ridiculous I am sure I looked trying to bend and stretch myself into all these difficult pretzel-y poses, each sporting a Sanskrit name that I had as much of a chance pronouncing correctly as executing properly.
As I quickly found out, a stack of blankets on the floor are not a very functional substitute for a yoga mat. Not only did my feet hang off the end while lying on my back, but every time I tried to do Downward-Facing Dog, or Adho Mukha Svanasana (see what I mean about the Sanskrit?), I noticed that my "mat," unsecured by my feet, began to move so that my hands slowly slid farther and farther in front of me, to the point where total collapse became a definite probability. It was only after the second or third time I had to save my nose from an almost certain meeting with the ground, that I realized I was fighting a losing battle: inertia always wins. And so, because I can never hope to best the laws of physics, and also since I wasn't going to let science completely thwart my plans, this is how I came to accept Downward-Face Planting Dog into my yoga routine.
As I said before, my living room is not a place where physical activity can happen without discomfort. Situated in the basement, the only room in the house to have a TV boasts a ceiling low enough for an overzealous Wii tennis serve to go horribly wrong, and the open floorspace of a cramped college dorm room (I know for a fact that it was easier to stretch out on the floor of my room Sophomore year of college than it is in this place). Being tall doesn't help matters either. While 5'9" in the outside world is considered an above average height, in my living room, it makes me a giant. So giant in fact, that every time I would lie on my back and extend my arms back over my head I was forced to reach under the couch; a place that is not somewhere anyone in their right mind would want to stick both their hands blindly. Not to mention every time I would attempt Tree Pose, my hands would get stuck in the mess of exposed beams and nails in the ceiling. Having convinced myself that a family of spiders or some other crawling things had most likely taken up residence in either the rafters or beneath the couch, touching anything in either place became the cause of a kind of twitchy convulsion that any onlookers could easily have mistaken for small seizures.
And speaking of Tree Pose, this was the hardest one in the whole 45-minute session. As the cool-voiced instructor on the TV stood on one foot with confidence and ease, hands clapped over her head, in real life my plant leg wobbled and my arms flailed all over the place in the closest I came to mirroring the image of yoga perfection on screen. I probably spent 5 minutes' honest effort trying to do the poses without cheating, but in the process accomplished nothing more than acting as a human windmill. Having endured enough yoga to recognize a lose-lose situation, I grabbed onto the nearest ceiling beam for the rest of the balance poses.
Today's lesson: getting back muscles is definitely going to be harder than I thought.