Monday, September 16, 2013

Yoga, Groupons, and a Lack of Expertise.

A couple of months ago, the husband returned from a 7 1/2 month deployment. Finally. Someday, maybe I'll blog about the emotional roller coaster that is pre-, during-, and post-deployment. I love him, it's amazing to have him home, and - holy mother of pearl - I sometimes want to punchisize his face.

After he got home and we took some leave to visit family,  there were still a couple of weeks before he had to go back to work full time. Supposedly, "stand down" consists of days off, with one of every few days stuck on the boat. I envisioned stay-cations during those in-between days, and sipping mimosas while working on our sunburns at the pool. Alas, not so much. Before I was smacked in the ass** by the reality of 6-8 hour workdays everyday he was "off," I purchased a Groupon for 5 yoga classes at a studio a few blocks away from our house. "Husband will hang out with the baby," I thought. "I'll get Starbucks on the way home," I thought. "I'll fall in love with yoga and be all super-fit," I thought.

One class. I was able to attend one class in 2 weeks.

(3 months later, and I still have only gone to one class. I'm sure that this is half of Groupon's pitch to businesses: "People don't even use their vouchers! They end up paying more per service than a normal customer!")

It was my first time doing yoga. I went to the early morning beginners' course -- really, they should have normal beginners, and then pre-beginners. Let's just say that I won't get any phone calls asking me to be an instructor. Ever. I frequently wish that I would've counted the number of times the instructor said things like, "Left foot. Left foot. Left foot. Your other left foot. Theeeere you go." Thankfully, though, she was pretty patient and provided helpful guidance during the times that I was pretty sure that they were going to kick me out for destroying a millennia-old practice.

After I left, I felt enlightened. I probably had one of those "Touched by an Angel" halos of light around my head as I walked home. It was a little surprising that no one at Starbucks commented on my amazing aura - it must have taken so much self-control on their part. I know that they must've been dying to know my secret to spiritual peace. Also, aside from my newfound wisdom, my birthing hips felt better than they had since before I was pregnant. None of that weird joint popping when I stood up, and my ligaments felt like they were actually doing whatever it is that ligaments are supposed to do. I even had these great thoughts of fitting into pre-pregnancy jeans. (When I tried them on, it was like watching one of those horror movies, except instead of the audience fervently whispering, "don't turn on the light; don't turn on the light!" my imaginary audience said, "don't try on the pants; don't try on the pants!")

For a few days afterward, this whole yoga thing became part of my persona. I wanted to drop obscene amounts of money at Lululemon, even though I had never set foot in the store. I saw people in yoga pants at Target, and would think, "those idiots - they probably don't even do yoga." (Keep in mind that I have several pairs of yoga pants and had only done yoga once. Since there were no costume changes mid-pose, only one of those pairs had been worn as something other than "classy" sweats.) I "set intentions" for my day prior to getting out of bed. It was great. For those few short days, I was no longer I-eat-oreos-instead-of-working-out Jessica, I was one of those people that do yoga. In retrospect, I was much more like Jim Carrey's character in Ace Venture: When Nature Calls - he thinks that spending all that time with the Tibetan monks has enabled him to transcend and leave his earthly concerns behind, but really he's just an asshat with delusions of grandeur.

After I eventually realized the hard truth that it was naive to think that the husband would be around to hang out with the boy while I skipped down the street to yoga class again, I decided that I should get some yoga DVDs so that I could continue down my journey of enlightenment. Before I got locked into one, though, I rented a couple from Amazon to find one that I enjoyed. Let me just say: there are a lot of hippies that do yoga. (Forgive me if you're one of them.) I don't really want to close my eyes and imagine myself floating serenely throughout the galaxy - I want to stretch out my birthing hips and feel pleasantly Gumby-esque. Finally I found one that had both a morning and evening session (routine? sequence? I dunno.)

I waited until naptime, pushed all the furniture out of the living room, and flipped on the TV. I got through the morning section without any notable difficulties and decided that it would be a great idea to tack on the evening section as well. Except, it was a horrible idea. First, there were these poses that reminded me of being in P.E. in elementary school and doing "the bridge." The woman on the video kept saying, "feel the strength in your body. Thank your body for its strength." Meanwhile, my shoulders and knees are shuddering, and I'm cursing at the screen: "WTF?! There isn't any strength in my body! That's why I'm dragging myself through this bloody exercise video! Quit mocking my pain!" But that peppy bitch just kept smiling.

Then, about 4 minutes later, I did something wrong. I still have no clue what it was, but there was none of the "with each breath, feel your body lengthen" crap that this sadistic woman was saying. Instead, it was, "this shouldn't cause compressed vertebrae, should it?!" It was like this scene from The Other Guys.... without the explosion, of course.

I spent the remainder of the video mocking this unnaturally happy woman, crying for the neighbors to bring me an ice pack, and experiencing deep shame over my failure at a beginners' yoga video.

The next few days were less than happy: I lived off of ibuprofen and contemplated purchasing a neck brace. I also rolled up my yoga mat and shoved it to the back of the closet. Oh, and those yoga pants? They're back to being classy sweats.

Morals of the story: 1) "Stand down" is a myth that encourages optimism in spouses who cling naively to the hope that there is some justice in Big Navy. 2) Classes/videos listed as "beginners'" courses are lying. 3) Attending one yoga class does not qualify you to tackle a yoga video unsupervised.

**Just a forewarning: there's some "language" in this post that might not be, um, entertaining for all audiences. I'm married to a sailor, and it's very easy/convenient to blame these rather "colorful" words on him. 

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