I was born and raised in New Jersey. Now, I am a Californian. If I look back over the last decade I can observe some changes in behavior that might be difficult to reconcile with my younger Garden State-self. Things like drinking wine over beer and being able to toss around adjectives like oaky, earthy and jammy without feeling self-conscious. Like thinking about water all the time – how much I’m using and always being happy when it rains. Things like worrying about whether local seals have a home. It’s all part of being Californian.
Now comes a biggie – when it comes to exercise, I’ve always been drawn to competition – because let’s face it, competition is fun. Even running becomes sort of a “can I beat my pace the last time I ran here” self-competition. But this month the Beloved and I decided to take a class together that we thought would help us both.
That class? Yoga.
Now, as a scientist, I’ve always looked a little askance at yoga. It’s a little too… too… how shall I say it? Practiced by people with names like Crystal Love Prism. But the Beloved had taken it in Santa Fe (chakra capital of the US), and had gotten a lot out of it, and I'm not as young and limber as I used to be, so I decided to give it a whirl.
On our way to our first class, I was trying to think about what our instructor would be like. Would it be some ropey Indian guy that looks at me with my Western diet-induced physique with a barely concealed sneer? Would it be a dopey but perky super-fit girl that tries to get me to channel Inner Light through my Third-Eye Chakra or some other such nonsense?
Nope – in walks a very reserved and twinkly little-old-lady type. Instantly, I think – “Miss Marple is going to be teaching me yoga?” Seriously? What a joke, right? – and then mentioned she’s been doing this for 40 years and proceeded to twist herself into a pretzel such that she made my muscles ache just watching her.
Alright then, Marple it is. I have to say, it’s been sort of fun. The classes are pretty long – 90 minutes – and cover a wide range of balancing, stretching and twisting poses. Some of which I am better at doing than others (and in the spirit of yoga I’m trying not to think about “beating” the people around me… not that I can… yet… okay let it go…). The last 20 minutes of each class are devoted to “deep relaxation” – which I am really good at, though.
All in all, so far the Golden Energy Channeling is kept to a minimum and the using muscles you forgot you had is maximized. Each time I leave I feel an interesting combination of having exercised but feeling “loose”. Good stuff.