Click Here. Get Fast.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Where's My Yoga-Butt Ass Slap?

Naively, I immediately ranked my achievement in yoga class right up there with winning a bike race.  I wanted immediate recognition.  I felt somewhere between like I did earning a silver medal in the state championships and being king of the mountain on a group ride.  I looked for a high five, a golf clap.  In a class of 25 people, it was as if it was invisible.  Last night, I performed an unassisted full-on redwood-solid 20-30 second headstand in yoga practice.  I posted my slight frustration on Facebook, asking for a Gong of recognition, and a friend sent this video. 





Maybe its coming from a background of competitive sports that I kind of expected something to happen when I did a yoga headstand on my own for the first time, but nothing.  No chimes.  No cheers.  I wanted to run around the room for high-fives and chest bumps.  Out of the 25 women in the class, not one snapped a photo with her phone to commemorate the occasion with a post to my Facebook wall.  I couldn’t believe it.  Where was the love?  It was like spiking a football in the end zone of an empty coliseum or Tour De France winner Alberto Contador shooting off his finger pistols at the end of an abandoned dead end street in France.  I didn’t expect a Tibetan monk to drape a silk shawl over my shoulders and ring a gong (see video), but this brother craved at least a slap on the yoga ass. 


Now, I get it.  I bow my head.  I take in a full deep breath and let all the air out.  I have the prize right here at hearts center.  Namaste.

I expect some rolled their eyes right there on the word Namaste.  People like to poo-poo yoga as weirdo hippie crap.  What’s with heart’s center, all the words ending in “asana,” the chants of “OM,” the weird loud breathing, hugs of gratitude and a thankful Namaste at the end of practice?  It’s cool to think that.  I did.  Now, I realize, they’re all pieces of the practice, the stones that built my headstand.  It took me seven months to put the pieces together.  Even still, I probably don’t even fully get it.

As a core building exercise for cycling, I’ve been doing yoga for months, seven to be exact.  I remember my first time, too shy to let the “Om” escape my lips.  Like coming up a wheel short of a town line victory, along the way there were sensations of strength and points of poise.  I remember when my heels first touched earth on a completely flat-footed downward dog.  I wobbled, teetered and gritted my teeth.  I scorned the flexibility of the ballerinas in class.  I concentrated on my breath, only to catch myself red-faced and holding it. 

Eventually, my chants of “Om” became louder and more confident.  I tried the harder options.  Accidently, I once kicked the instructor in the head while she spotted my headstand.  Later I learned she had asked the front desk at Revolution Fitness for a bag of ice.  I was embarrassed.  The next time I tried it, I fell, but smoothly.  I tucked and rolled, like an expert building demolition.  I downloaded the “Yoga To The People” podcast from I-Tunes and practiced at home, when I couldn’t make the class at the gym.  Seven months later, I did a headstand.  Gong!

I’m excited.  Maybe I’ll learn in another epiphany later that, since yoga is a personal practice, there’s really no reason to shout it from the top of the mountain.  A true Yogi wouldn’t brag about it.  I’m not bragging.  (maybe a little) I’m just really happy.  Along with my smile and a nod of gratitude, I write.  Like getting my heels down on a downward dog and doing a wobble free shoulder stand, last night’s headstand is just another step on an infinite staircase that only today I realized I have been climbing.  Now I understand yoga is a practice, something you’ll get better at, but never be judged at.  That’s pretty cool.  There are no golden yoga trophies and sadly no yoga ass slaps.  I started doing Yoga in July.  I started practicing today. 

1 comment:

Barabara davis said...

Here's your chance to win 1 week of free yoga lessons from www.divinewellness.com. Just upload your yoga picture at http://bitly/yogapicture and you can get a chance to do yoga right at your home. Also tell your friends about this contest.