Recent events: the stomach flu, followed by the 90 day cold and flu intermixed with Christmas, a diabetic dog living in exile, and transitioning Eva to a big girl bed has made the last few months a tad hectic. The first thing to be thrown out was my exercise routine. During my time away from jogging I have come to the realization that I am not really cut out for it. I am not built for speed as my husband would say. For the time being I have decided to leave pounding the pavement for when I feel better. I think for now I am better suited for going to the gym, walking, and my new discovery, yoga.
The first time I tried yoga was when I started my Masters degree and the University of Bristol was offering free yoga classes. I should have known better, but I turned up along with three hundred other shoe and sockless students. The odor of foot was so overwhelming I left half way through, never to return. I suppose other people don’t try yoga because they think it isn’t real exercise, but I am telling you the foot smell is the worst part.
I must have blocked this memory out, because when my uncle asked me if I wanted to join in on his yoga class next door, I thought about it for a moment and said, hey why not. I was recently reading about how people with both my blood type, type A, and my autoimmune disease, Hashimotos, should probably not do high intensitiy aerobic exercise and should do activities like yoga, just what I wanted to hear to get me out of that three mile run. I also have hamstrings so tight that I walk around like Eva stuck a lego animal up my butt so it would probably do me good. Oh and then there is the Sciatica, I heard that word while getting a massage once. I thought I was too young to have anything that hard to spell, then I realized I already have Hashimotos an autoimmune disease and I am nearing forty. Maybe exercising with older people is a good way of feeling younger and fitter than I really am.
Regardless the reason, three weeks ago I showed up on my Uncle’s dock with my mother’s senior citizen yoga matt ( it has double cushioning) tied with a royal blue ribbon. Most of my mother’s belongings are tied with bright colored ribbons, even my father from time to time. Mom does Yoga too with the same teacher but on a different day with a group of women who gossip with every warrior pose exhale. This class is by far my mother’s preference over spending any more of her life with the family, or on the compound than she has to.
Turning up on the dock with Uncle Michael 1, Uncle Michael 2, Aunt Ann, and Carol Green did feel a little like a prison break workout in which we are all allowed out of our houses on the compound for a one hour group training exercise or worse a Calisenics class at the local rest home. If you are wondering who Carol is, she is a good friend of the Michaels’ and kind of like a stand in for my mother (she might be competing for my mothers title of Ultimate Fag Hag) and from time to time a Spurlingville resident. She also makes great Chinese dumplings but not at the same time as doing yoga.
Uncle Michael 1 is in the back of the class because he is so tall he can see over everyone else, but the downside of that is that everyone’s butt is in his face, something he can’t stop commenting on, “ Carol get your butt out of my face.” Etc etc.
Because we are all related, our yoga teacher made us do synchronized yoga on my first day which was pretty difficult considering we all disagree on most things. The teacher asked us to balance in a circle on one leg like a Flamingo, embracing each other in a circle. It worked for about five seconds, especially considering Michael 1 had to have both feet reconstructed after a paragliding accident twenty years ago (trying to be a bird) and its pretty miraculous that he can stand on two feet at all. I think people must think yoga is a cult and ours did seem kind of cultish, most of the family doing synchronized yoga on the dock making flower formations, next we will be constructing crop circles on Michael’s Mini farm.
For most of the yoga session instead of being centered in oneness I was wondering who was watching us thinking, “I always knew those Spurling’s were mad.” We looked down the dock and there was our family repair man on the neighbour’s roof taking a mini break and wondering who Michael had rented his house out to now, a yoga colony? Normal was overrated, you had to accept that to live in Spurlingville or even to occasionally visit.
By the following week I was looking forward to the one hour weekly family yoga retreat. Unfortunately my oven repair man showed up fifteen minutes before so, I began stretching impatiently in my yoga pants and stretchy top, clutching my borrowed yoga mat with that same Royal blue ribbon. Michael 1 called.
“Are you coming?”
“Yes, but the oven repair guy is here.”
“We are all waiting for you.”
Yoga had moved from the dock to my Uncle’s porch because of inclement weather, I was thankful not to be on display. When I walked out onto the porch I froze mid way through unraveling my yoga mat.
Uncle Michael 1 flashed me. Under his t-shirt and shorts he was wearing a fluorescent green mankini. Yes a mankini like Borat. I asked if I could go back and get my camera and take a picture for my blog. Unfortunately he refused to have his picture taken but he doesn’t have much control over the blog. Evidently he had been walking around in the mankini without a cover-up while they were all waiting for me and the yoga teacher because she was running late (never again). Maybe we should all get matching ones? It could be our yogi uniform.
I am not the most coordinated, and Michael two and I kept getting our lefts and rights confused, no wonder I failed the Mensa entrance exam. J
While we were yogaing, I kept trying to follow what my uncle Michael 1 was doing when I got confused. “Downward what?”
At one point while in the splits. Uncle Michael one said to me,
“Stop looking at me, my goulashes are going to fall out.”
“Are you still wearing the mankini?”
Uncle Michael did manage to fall off his yoga blocks and I got physically stuck when I knelt on the ground and leaned backwards to rest backwards, and could not get back up, and had to have our teacher extract me. I looked like a chubby pretzel someone dropped on the ground because it didn’t have enough salt. I think I am probably hopeless at yoga. I fear Ill never be able to pick my nose with my toe like Eva. But I only went into yoga class with a simple goal, I would like for the first time in my life to be able to touch my toes. I am still not there yet but progress is gradual, kind of like Sciatica. I am planning to continue our family yoga, so if you come to Spurlingville on a Thursday morning and hear a lot of moaning you will know its just me trying to touch my toes, Carol doing in her knee, Uncle Michael two trying to get his right and left straight, and the rest trying not to get stuck in any position, including in sight of a mankini.
Our yoga teacher sent us this link after our last session. There is one way to get rid of the mankini and scare off all repair men, naked yoga.
I also stole this missive from my cousin Dana’s facebook page.