Ok, where were we….? Oh right! Yoga studio, nervous, first time, no shoes. Got it. Now picture this: total novice wearing TJ Maxx’s finest, carrying a $6.00 clearance yoga mat, and a hand towel “just in case.”
I was about to get schooled.
The class that I was walking into was Vinyasa Flow. I had no idea what that was and zero idea that “warm” room was more of a relative term. It’s also key to note here that this class moves fast. Newbies be warned! So there I am on the world’s flimsiest yoga mat and at first it was fine. Downward dog: check. Plank: check. Upward dog: huh? So already I was looking around a little lost and attempting to interpret all those token yoga sayings like “open your chest” and “lower your shoulders.” Luckily there was a girl on the mat next to me who was not only doing the postures with the rest of the class, but doing them at a level so far beyond anything I thought humanly possible. Thanks to her I was able to sneak a quick visual every now and again so that I would understand the posture. At the same time I was really seeing just how beautiful some of these yoga postures are.
I’m going to attempt to describe what this girl was capable of doing, but you pretty much have to experience this for yourself. There two token ways to get from a downward dog to any kind of forward bend position at the top of the mat (that I’ve experienced so far): walk your feet forward or hop them up. Except this girl didn’t hop, she floated her way to the top of the mat. This is example one.
Now from that first “huh??” moment onward I was able to follow relatively well. But then came some of the more…. let’s call them creative… postures that never showed up on my DVDs or at the gym classes. We were told to place our weight on our hands and hop one leg up in a way that would carry the other with it; kind of like a pseudo-handstand position. I’m not anywhere near handstands yet, nor do I have very strong wrists and arms. For me that moment of “oh my god I’m awesome!” happened when I was able to simply get both feet off the mat for more than a millisecond. So now I’m feeling pretty good when I notice from the corner of my eye that my yogini neighbor is not only lifting both feet off the mat, but this girl is so elegantly floating her legs up and staying there that it almost looks like she’s about to levitate! People - we could someday be able to do this!
I know you’re not supposed to watch neighbors and that you need to be in your own body and in your own practice, but seeing some of the things that are possible only made me want to show up for more classes. That combined with the heat in that room causing me to sweat out all those nasty toxins and I left feeling like a whole new person. Or maybe it was Savasana at the end of class. So really I’m not sure what it was that caused me to leave feeling so incredible. Another yoga mystery to be solved!