Thursday, June 19, 2008

Gentle Yoga

I was zipping around the universe trying to get working papers for my 10-year-old daughter so she could perform in dinner theater. Apparently, the school district where we reside has never seen such a beast as this form. There were calls to the state. I had to visit two schools to obtain signatures from unsuspecting school administrators. What is this for again? Then I needed to get my signature notorized in another place entirely. The notary happens to be in a little grouping of shops that includes a yoga studio,The Yoga Place. I have been eyeing this studio for years--it is the one closest to my house. Considering my kids' needs, in units of both money and time, I never signed myself up. But this time, I was frustrated by the run-around and felt the need to reward myself for the valiancy of my effort on behalf of my daughter's dream of summer stardom. This time, I saw a chunk of time between the end of school and our summer vacation that I could manage a short class. The only class that truly worked into my schedule was the Monday night Gentle Yoga class, but I was going to do it. Why else would my treasure hunt have ended at this little cluster of businesses? I would trust the flow.

I have always been physically active in some form or another. I have taken a smattering of yoga classes over a twenty year period and own quite a few yoga videos. Had my schedule allowed for the full choice of classes, I would have picked something like the aggressive yoga with the hot studio and endless sun salutations done in rapid fire succession. Or maybe I would have chosen another class that hinted at a goal--restoration or mindfulness, perhaps. This is quite funny. I have never had flexibilty or grace. I possess some strength and, thanks to my large flat feet, balance. And the idea of stillness? If ever one needed remedial yoga--it would be me. First night out--I rushed to the studio-- getting there late and having to find a place in the dark. Relax. Relax. Relax. What I was hoping would come off as a mantra was more like my inner drill seargent commanding me to do 100 pushups, but I made it through the beginning meditative stillness. When the lights came up, I saw the room I was in, and the beautiful shade of raspberry paint on the wall. It was both tranquil and enlivening at the same time. A huge stained glass artwork of lotus flowers hung illuminated at the front of the studio space. This was my kind of place. Maybe I didn't have to try so hard.

And so became my weekly June ritual. I have done three classes so far. Gentle Yoga seems made for me. Suzanne leads the class so I never feel as though I am exerting greater effort than rolling over in bed, but by the time the class is over, I am like a putty creature. Claymation Jill. My spine is a slinky. My ride home feels as though I am traveling by hover craft over a meadow instead of by minivan over potholed roads. I quite honestly feel like I've just had a full body massage and half a bottle of wine. And I sleep like a baby on Monday nights. I realize I've just exhausted the reader's tolerance for metaphor. But I don't think it is a coincidence that I started taking yoga class and am writing poetry again. Perhaps my poetic devices were trapped in the rigidity of my spine and limbs. Or maybe a purple room makes my brainwaves sing. Or maybe the lesson is that too often we try for and get discouraged by the grand gesture when it is small effort that yields big results.

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