I started in Kindergarten at the age of 4. My mother would walk 3 blocks to school with me in the morning and be there to walk home with me when I got out of class in the afternoon. I had a sack lunch and a small rug for a nap afterwards. Life was simple on the hardwood floor of my youth.
60+ years later I am back where I started. There is a hardwood floor, a small rug, but no sack lunch at the gym where I take yoga classes.
Spending an hour on the floor these days is a lot easier than when I was a kid. For one thing, I do not suffer from burning eyes and congested breathing as a result of the staff using a groundup-red-wax floor sweeping compound.
What I do suffer from is the Learning Curve. The ancient practice of yoga is brand new to me and something that I want to continue doing on a regular basis. I have felt a noticeable change in my breathing patterns after only two sessions.
I spend a lot of time looking around to see what the instructor is doing. My Downward Dog is more like a Peeking Duck and it can be a challenge to avoid looking like a pervert when I am trying to mimic the correct pose.
My first class was 4 days ago. It started at 11 am on Saturday and that should have rung a bell for me. There were about three dozen people in a class that averaged thirty years-of-age. There were more women than men among the young, flexible and regular attendees of this particular session.
I put my mat down in a corner of the room near some older pupils whose physical condition was more like mine. A few ladies gave me a polite smile, which I returned, and a few men gave me the old junior high chin-flip. I smiled and flipped it right back at them. Kindred spirits do that, afterall.
The instructor put a music CD in the player. A rhapsody of bells, flutes, stringed instruments and measured silence came through the speakers. It was relaxing, but unfortunately I had trouble hearing the teacher. The combination of the background noise and the sound of the blood rushing through my head drowned her out for the most part.
Four of us got the lowdown when we identified ourselves as first-time students at the beginning of the class. “Listen to your bodies,” the Curvy Lady said.
CL went on, “If it hurts to do an exercise, or a pose, stop. Be content with the ones that you can do.”
At least that is what I think I heard her say. The data input from my eyes was overriding that of my ears as I watched her get into the first pose.
Over the next 60 minutes, we did our best to keep up with CL’s steady progression of stretching, planking, twisting and rhythmic motion. It was a gentle revelation of how far I need to go to undo years of bad work habits over a lifetime in construction.
I have since found a class made up of “older students”—average age is 55+. It has a different instructor and pace, and is more suited to my beginner’s status.
Just like in the Saturday class, we finish up with a group chant, “Ohhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.”
I have found a new home.