Sunday, June 26, 2011

Beauty and the yogi.

iPad screenshots, from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Seriously hilarious film.

Yoga, my latest foray into fitness. It's a good idea - I never do as much strength or flexibility training as I should. I think it's a combination of that and lack of athletic prowess that lead to my lukewarm marathon performance last fall.

Anyhow, I think some fond memories of childhood ballet classes lead me to brazenly believe that somehow I'd be really good at it. A born yogi, with the hips and mind of a Buddhist. Flexibility, like my dance talent, surely can't fade.

I think the great yogis of the past are chuckling down on me as I write this. Simple, silly, self-centered humans, always a product of their own egos. Typical.

I like working out, I do. I've just never been any good at it. And as my recent yoga practice confirms, any grace of movement I may have once had is clearly long-gone.

This past week, I took a summer Friday and headed to an afternoon vinyasa session at my gym. As per usual, I am a total hot mess on the mat. The hour spent in quiet is agonizing. In between wrestling with my mind and breath, I wrestle with my body, fighting through each pose. My flexibility, it seems, is stored somewhere deep in a closet, between my pointe shoes and core muscles.

I must conquer it. I will. I'm repeating it in my head, like some kind of sadistic mantra. I don't know if I'm referring to my mind, my body, my yoga or all three. It doesn't seem to matter.

I find myself falling out of backbends in a heap, huffing and puffing, whilst the ladies around me twist and arch themselves into delicate pretzels, breathing deeply. I'm jealous of their faces, their tranquility, their stillness. Even after shavasana, I gather up my sweaty limbs and crawl out of the studio all beast-like - panting, defeated and thoroughly ruffled. I can't even imagine what I might look like after bikram.

Obviously, it isn't a competition. Obviously, I've missed the entire point. I do feel better afterward. My posture is better. I feel longer, quieter, focused. I'm glad I went. But I still kinda wish I were good at it.

Someday I will be lithe and tranquil. Someday I will have clarity. Or not.

I guess all I can do is try to keep going and hope that someday I can get out of my own head long enough to get back in.