Smile Politely

Week Two: I get by with a little help from my friends

Week one of The Yoga Experiment was lovely, but by Saturday, my whole body hurt. I felt like an old lady, and it carried over through the next few days. That, combined with a weekend of overconsumption and staying out too late (hey, I was celebrating the triumph of my first completed week!) made for a very yucky feeling on Monday morning when I awoke.

I really really did not want to get out of bed. “Whyyy did I put myself in this this situuuuationnnn,” I whined to myself; but then I thought of my new mantra, “persistence” and something my friend said to me after he started his similar quest: “I would see it as a personal failing if I did not continue on with this new lifestyle.” I didn’t want to fail. I sighed and went to yoga. As Woody Allen says, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

I was immediately glad that I did. As I was walking into class, I was greeted by my friend, Elizabeth. “I thought you might be here,” she exclaimed. It was nice and a bit humbling to have my good friend in class with me. It is one thing to joke about how physically inept I am, it is quite another to have someone I know watch me fumble and lose my balance and fall out of poses. I was embarrassed, but she was lovely, and she didn’t say anything.

Traditionally, at the end of a yoga class there is always “Savasana” or Corpse Pose (right). Basically, you lay on your back completely relaxed with your eyes closed, and contemplate your practice for about 5 minutes before you leave, letting what you just did sink in a little bit. Up until this point, my Savasana time has been spent catching my breath and thinking about how I can’t wait to eat lunch. But today, I was tripping out a little bit. Time and space were erased, and my body felt heavy, so much so that I felt like, if I concentrated, my spirit could get up and leave this body behind.

I wondered if the instructor would ever ring the bell to wake us up, or if I would stay in this void forever. The thought wasn’t unpleasant. Finally, the bell did indeed ring, and I felt crazily refreshed in a way that I never had before. Elizabeth later confessed to me that she had had a similar experience, seeing dancing colors and shapes. We decided that it was our combined friend energies (frenergies) that had caused our mutual space-out.

Tuesday was the first sunny day we had had in weeks. I was driving to class when I got a phone call from the aforementioned Elizabeth, inviting me to go to Allerton with her later. I’m glad E is in my life. We are the same, but so different. She’s all outdoorsy, loves camping and hiking, and has an almost encyclopedic knowledge about different plants and ecosystems, while sometimes it doesn’t occur to me to go outside for several days at a time. I’m trying to improve in this area. I told her I needed to think about it and would call her back, but then I thought, “what the hell,” and told her that yes, I would come.

It was about 22 degrees out, so I dug out my hiking boots from the back of the closet and layered up. The drive over was great; we had juicy conversation about boys we have kissed and loved, and continued gossiping through our hour and a half jaunt through the woods. The brisk air was invigorating, and I felt so good that I didn’t think twice about all of the pasta that I snarfed down afterward. Note to self: do this more.

Wednesday and Thursday passed without incident. Friday morning, I had a client scheduled for the same time as the class I normally attend, so Elizabeth and I went to a class at the Krannert Art Museum. (Every Friday from 12-1 the Krannert Art Museum hosts a free yoga class.) The class was a bit simpler, designed for people who have never done yoga before, but I still felt like I got a decent workout. At the end of the class, we were doing seated forward bends, and I had a bit of a shock: I was able to lean over and grasp my foot on the right side! Granted, I could only hold it for a few seconds, but that is something that I definitely wasn’t able to do a few weeks ago!

Afterward, we treated ourselves to lunch at the Red Herring, and as I was driving home, I reflected on the amount of progress I had been able to make in two weeks, and how lucky I was to have such amazing people in my life who love me enough to nudge me out of my comfort zone, and then encourage and support me once I’m there. Throughout the last weeks, I have received e-mails, phone calls, and lots of hugs from old friends and new who have given their well wishes and blessings to my endeavor. I appreciate it more than you all know. Thank you!!!

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