Who’s That Cute Girl?

posted in: Day In The Life 13
Day & Son lithograph, Gayatri Jup, 1851. Image: Wikipedia.
Day & Son lithograph, Gayatri Jup, 1851. Image: Wikipedia.


I’m halfway through my 30-day yoga challenge!

Well, tomorrow will be Day 15, so I’m a little ahead of myself. But for all intents and purposes, I’m in the middle of this thing. Let me tell you some things I’ve learned.

1) Coming back to a yoga practice — or really anything you used to be really good at and then you stopped doing — is really hard. 
Because you used to be good at it. And now you’re not. You used to be able to stand on one leg and kick the other leg out while sweat dripped into your eyeball and you could hold it there and breathe and go deeper and deeper but guess what? Not anymore, toots. Well, not right now, anyway. The frustration floods in and you despair. Why did I stop practicing? How much better at this could I be right now if I hadn’t drifted away? How long will it take to get close to where I was before? Have I gained a lot of weight or just a little weight?

2) Coming back to a yoga practice — or really anything you used to be really good at and then you stopped doing — is a gift. 
Every yogini has bad habits. A bad habit in a yoga practice would be something like cheating out of a posture a few seconds before the teacher calls to release it, doing lazy sit-ups between the postures on the floor rather than really trying to make them crisp and intentional. (I just said “crisp and intentional.”) Everyone has bad habits, including me. Well, coming back in and feeling totally new and raw again, I have the opportunity to change those bad habits. I’m so open to everything, you know? I know how badly I need to be in that room and I’m putty, baby: Change me.

3) I missed this Mary.
There are many Marys. There’s Mary Sewing At Midnight. There’s Leading The Class Discussion Mary. There’s Mary On a Date. There’s Mary on TV. There’s Bookish Mary, Flirty Mary, Mary The Sister, Mary The Daughter, Shy Mary, Mary The Fool, Mary The Selfish, Flirty Mary, Goofball Mary — and on and on, just like anyone else. But you know which Mary I really dig? Athlete Mary. Now, if you would’ve told me in the sixth grade that Athlete Mary existed, I would have said something like “Gag me with a spoon!” because it was the early ’90s and I loathed and despised gym class more than anything in this universe or the next. But it turns out that I’m super athletic in the stuff that I like, like Barbie dance aerobics* and Bikram yoga. The other day in class I was pouring sweat and very intent on my posture; I looked incredibly determined (remember, Bikram yoga is done while facing a wall of mirrors, quelle horror) and I had a pang of love and longing. Because it was like, “Oh! Hi! Hi! Oh, wow! I know you! I missed you. You are such a bada*s, Athlete Mary. Okay, now don’t lose your balance.” It’s been too long since I hung out with that Mary and it feels really good.

4) If it was easy, it wouldn’t be hard. Or worth doing. Or… Just go to class, kid. 
I didn’t want to go to class tonight and I drank too much water halfway through and felt like I was gonna spew. Yesterday’s class was so hard and awful and I had to go across town to the other studio to make it work with my schedule. My challenge means that I will do a class on Christmas Day (not a huge deal, but it impacts the day with family, nonetheless.) All of these things are annoying and nobody likes spewing or making a workout a priority when there are so many other awesome things one could prioritize, like chocolate pretzels, for example. But enough. Do you want this or not? Remember why you do. And go to class.

Happy Holidays, everyone. I’ve got sad news to post tomorrow and a big, ugly topic to tackel here on the ol’ PG that I’ve been procrastinating about. That’s all coming this week. Maybe I’ll get the gumption to write it all because I’m meeting my yoga challenge, day by day, pose by pose.

On Being Naked and Sweaty In Public.

This photo was filed in WikiCommons under "Sweaty" for the sweaty nose of the cow. I think the picture works in every way for this post.
This photo was filed in WikiCommons under “Sweaty” for the sweaty nose of the cow. Perfect!


I’m all up in my Bikram yoga now that I’m mostly settled, practicing with regularity at the small-but-mighty Bikram studio on the Lower East Side. What this means is that numerous times a week — every day if I have my way — I am packed like a sardine in a can of sardines, if sardines were naked and sweaty and practicing yoga on the Lower East Side. You know, sardines could aptly be described as both naked and sweaty; alas, being dead fish, they do not practice yoga, so my little simile must only go some of the distance for us.

When I say I’m naked and sweaty and Sardinian (?), I’m talking about my state post yoga class. During the yoga, we students wear clothes* in the hot room. (For the uninitiated: Bikram yoga is a 90-minute yoga series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises practiced in a room heated to 105-degrees. And yes, you pay for this on purpose.) After class, when the very will to live has been nearly wrung out of us and we drag our taut, glowy, and utterly eviscerated carcasses out of there, that’s when it gets real.

There is no space in Manhattan. None to spare. The women’s locker/shower/changing room in the yoga studio is maybe…500 feet square? It’s small. You’ve got a bank of lockers, two shower stalls, one bathroom, and a lot of sweaty, naked women attempting to change out of sopping wet yoga togs into normal street clothes, which is tough because a) there is nowhere to bend over to get your wet leg into your jeans and b) getting a wet leg into jeans in any room is like trying to give a sick cat ear infection medicine: extremely, extremely difficult and exasperating. You want someone else to do it for you really, really bad. But no one ever will. It’s your cat. It’s your leg.

I have bumped a bare bottom with my own bare bottom. Oh, it’s true! I’ve turned my head just as a gal was exiting the shower stall and whammo! the lass’s entire self, just hey-how-are-ya, right there in my letterbox. I’m pretty cool with bodies, so none of this exactly bothers me unless I think about the fact that we are all animals, because then I think about chicken coops and pig pens and cattle shoots and that’s bad. All those animals are naked, too, so I’ll be trying to pull denim up over a wet booty (mine) and suddenly I’m having the sixth existential crisis of the day — and I usually take the noon class!

The worst, though, is when there’s zydeco music playing.

The studio is great in the way they just hit “play” on some endless music mix in the sky/on the web and you never know what you’ll get. Sometimes, you’re headed into the hot room to the dulcet tones of jock rock; sometimes you get wailing house divas. Sometimes it’s all spa music in the changing room; other times you get hip-hop. I love the variety. But once, when the class that had just been tortured was changing to leave and the next class was arriving to go into the heat, when everyone was hopping around on one foot, boobies out, sweat flinging this way and that, effing zydeco music came through the speakers and I thought I might die of shame. Surely, someone, somewhere (God?) was laughing hysterically at all this. It would be impossible to come up with a soundtrack less becoming to a roomful of naked, hopping women.

That day, I ran.

*”Clothes” is mostly right. You wears small slingshots of fabric to cover the bits and that goes for the men and the women alike. This state of underdress makes for excellent scenery or not-so-excellent scenery, depending on where you’re standing and what you’re into.