Of Mats And Men | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Of Mats And Men

"You're just not gonna stop, are you?" I replied.

Mid workout, "The Devil" (my personal trainer) suggested that I try yoga. His reasoning was that it would help strengthen certain areas of my forty-year-old body and help with flexibility.

Like a mother trying to reason with a child, he said "It'll be good for you AND, I think you'll liiiiiiike it!"

As is my habit, I agreed to give yoga a shot, while trying to keep an open mind. "How hard could it be?" I reasoned. According to bone supplement ads and sitcoms, yoga is just a nice way to stretch while having casual conversations about osteoporosis or pesky neighbors and swapping recipes. So, of my own will, I suggested that I might run the mile, from my house, to Butterfly Yoga.

"Great idea!" Terry said excitedly, "That's a mile, one way."

I couldn't help but whisper "DAMMIT!"

That afternoon, I stretched a little, then set off on foot towards the yoga studio. I hadn't given much thought to the route, except to take the most direct option. My laziness had fooled me into choosing a mile long run that was nothing but uphill. Halfway there I snatched the earbuds out and cursed at Kylie Minogue for being so damn happy.

Once I arrived at my destination, covered in sweat and having very nearly thrown up in someone's hydrangeas, I tried to make pleasant conversation. Everyone looked on with concern, as I fought to get a grip on my wheezing, while wiping sweat from my eyes.

Once inside, I situated myself on my mat, in the back of the room. We began with some stretching, followed my a few minutes of chanting. Here, I was encouraged to "let go of today's worries" in preparation for the session. Instantly, and without warning, my entire workday flashed before my eyes. It played out like the dream sequence in Final Destination, but without as much fire or death. As Scotta calmly instructed, I pushed those thoughts out of my mind and let the cleansing breaths take over.

For the next forty-five minutes or so, I twisted my frame into shapes I'd never imagined. I was amazed at what I was able to do, with very little correction, and I was a bit embarrassed at what I couldn't. Take, for instance, the Mermaid Pose. I've only ever seen that done, by a man, in the Karma Sutra. But,with enough practice, and an instructor willing to push me, I'm sure I can eventually do it without snapping off a foot.

There were moments when I felt a translator would have been a nice addition, and I couldn't help but wonder if there was an app for that. Thankfully my vantage point in back allowed me to mimic the more experienced members of the class, otherwise I'd have just been yelling "Do what!?!" like a slack-jawed yokel.

After the class was over, having wrung out my mat, I confessed to Terry that it was more taxing than I'd expected, but that it was more enjoyable than I'd thought. In fact, I can say with confidence that it will become a weekly activity for me, whether I ever understand what the instructor is saying or not. 

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