Some twenty years ago, when Beth and I lived for a couple years on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, one of our beach friends talked me into joining her at yoga class. I’d heard and read good things about yoga, but I confess that I had a crunchy granola prejudice against it that made me a little reluctant.
Plus—especially back then—yoga classes seemed to be attended overwhelmingly by women. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, and I like being around lots of women as much as the next person (if I were ever single again I’d do two things: get a puppy and walk it a lot, and take yoga). But it can make a person self-conscious.
But, our friend was persuasive and one day I joined her at class. I’m glad I did. Like lots of self-inflicted trepidations, my reluctance was not well founded. I really enjoyed the class. I learned that it’s surprisingly rigorous and relaxing at the same time. I got stronger, my balance improved, and my joints ached less.
Of course, like a lot of things that are good for me, I let yoga lapse. I took a class here and there but never stayed with it. But over this past year, I’ve found myself wanting to say “oil can” more and more often when I get out of bed.
So I talked our friend Steve into joining me in a beginner’s class at Tejas Studios, just a healthy walk from our neighborhood.
And again, I was struck by how hard it was to do these things that don’t seem like they should be hard. And how much I sweated and how tired I got without ever leaving my little yoga mat. But it really felt great.
After our first class Steve and I turned our phones back on and found we had texts from our spouses. Steve’s spouse Laura, Beth and our friend Ruth were Kasey’s, a local watering hole, and we should meet them there. So Steve and I, relaxed and refreshed from yoga, bounced up in our elastic tights and our neonish yoga mats to meet our womenfolk, who were huddled around a table over their beers. As Steve put it, what’s wrong with this picture?
It was then that Laura noticed that my neon green yoga mat nearly matched my neon green Nikes. This was wholly unintentional: I’d purchased each online at steeply discounted prices because, well, they’re neon green. There were a few requisite Lululemon jokes and a good time was had by all, albeit much of it at Steve’s and my expense.
Steve couldn’t make the next class (he took a makeup session) so I made it through on my own. Again, it was rigorous enough for me to feel like I’d run several miles even though I never got out of a 10 square foot space.
On the way home, I remembered I needed some vegetables to go with the fish I was going to cook the next day. So I stopped at Trader Joe’s. And as I checked out, I realized: I’m in my yoga clothes, with my yoga mat, talking to a pierced, tattooed exuberantly happy clerk who clearly approved of me.
I called Beth from the store and explained the little tableau I found myself in. I felt like asking, “What’s happened to me?” At least she didn’t say “I don’t even know you anymore.”