Today a group of us took yoga.
This is something that I've been saying I would do on this tour for well, the whole darned time.
And finally, over a year into it, I did.
*hold for applause*
I actually really enjoy it. And not because it makes me feel awesome, either. At least not while it lasts. With the exception of the corpse position (which is not nearly as morbid as it sounds; it's basically a dead man's float without the getting all wet and wondering if you are going to drown part), it hurts me.
But I really enjoy it for the challenge.
See, something that a lot of people don't know about me is that I am not naturally flexible. Just because I can split every which way, touch my foot to the back of my head, and kick my face does not mean that I didn't work for every inch of it.
I remember sitting with the soles of my feet pressed together with weights on my knees, forcing my hips to rotate; I would also stand against the wall and tell my pop to push my leg behind my head as far is it would go and just hold it there, trying to ignore the apologetic and horrified face he was giving me over the pain I was in.
While laying in bed, I would take one foot, hook it under the footboard and hook my other foot under the headboard.
And then attempt to sleep like that.
Um, let's just say that counting sheep didn't really aid in the sleep process that night. Pretty much the only thing that did was unhooking my feet and getting out of that inverted split position.
But I worked and worked on being flexible. Ever since a ballet teacher told my class that flexibility was just a matter of deciding how much pain one can take, I made a decision that the exchange of pain for flexibility and therefore the ability to dance well was a deal.
A steal, actually.
Oh, and it didn't help that I come from quite possibly the least flexible family known to the human race. Really. I am not at all positive that all of us were even born with hamstrings. My brothers cannot even sit up straight with their legs in front of them and straighten their knees. I try to make them do it and they cry out like they are being eaten by wild dogs.
Anyway, yoga introduces a whole new challenge to me in terms of flexibility. See, I have stretched in certain ways as a dancer and have by now gotten the hang of it.
But yoga is a whole different animal.
The downward facing dog is purportedly the "resting position" but leaves you feeling as rested as Atlas must feel at the end of every day, holding up the earth like that.
It really hurts.
And everything in yoga returns to it. It's your haven, your place of rest. It's like base in tag. Only base never made my shoulders ache, my hamstrings scream, and all the while wonder why the heck my right achilles is so much shorter than my left.
No really, why is that?
Yeah, I don't know either.
But as crazy as this sounds, I really like yoga. I like how hard it is and the feeling of accomplishment I carry with me afterward. I like how it's so good for my body--basically no impact on my joints and perfectly complementary to dancing since it both stretches and strengthens you.
But I would suggest one thing.
Make sure you eat something--anything--that actually keeps you from feeling like your stomach is going to eat a lung if you don't throw something down the hatch in the next twenty minutes. Because a nutri-grain bar just doesn't cut it.
And maybe if you eat something substantial, then when you are told to do some meditative work and focus your thoughts, you might actually be able to mentally envision something other than a cheeseburger. Or pancakes. Or one of those delicious breakfast sandwiches from Starbucks that your friends ate before the class and that you are now deeply regretting the decision you made to pass.
So other than the temporary bout of extreme hunger and the pesky and habitual downward facing dog, I really like yoga.
And I'd like to be good at it some day.