Yoga To The People
I don't really work out. Like, ever. In college at UNCSA, I participated in what I like to call "disguised exercise"; dance class, mask class, stage combat - and I consider myself a physical person. But my booty hasn't seen a gym since my pageant days, i.e. my second year of college. That's.....bordering on three years ago. So I'm not sure exactly why I consider myself a physical person - because once I was? - but I do.
When I first moved to NYC, I figured I'd stay pretty physically fit without all my classes at school because of walking so much! It's a half a mile walk to the train, which means an automatic mile of walking anywhere I go, right? Plus, walking after arrive to my destination. So I'm logging practically three miles a day of walking. Leisurely walking. Mostly in my Crocs.
It's been almost three months since I moved to the city and I see that my plan of walking to the train to stay physically fit was a terrible plan. I've noticed the past couple weeks that my audition dress has gotten tight...ish. At first, I wrote it off to the fact that it was washed and dried.....then I blamed it on bloating....then I finally came to terms with the fact that it, in fact, IS tight..er.
I attribute this mostly to the fact that I am dating a new man, one who takes me on wonderful dates with fantastic food, is an amazing cook, and a schooled bartender that can mix drinks like nobody's business. I opened my refrigerator for dinner last week to choose between two leftover pasta dishes, indian food, a deli sandwich, an omelette, and a panini.
For a person who has spent the past four years living off of cereal, peanut butter and jelly, and lean cuisine, this is something to gush about. But, alas - there is that tiny issue of my clothes not fitting....or least being more fittED than before. I realized that I cannot be on the same diet as my boyfriend, who is at least double my size, resembles Wolverine, just came back from doing yoga in Costa Rica for a month, and is training for a marathon in Greece.
He is running 22 miles as I write this blog. I have never run a mile in my life.
SO - I express my dilemma to Thom, the man responsible for all of this great food, and his solution is this: Let's go to yoga class.
This is terrifying to me. I imagine all these super thin, beautiful women in their sports bras, and me - falling over on a mat next to my new boyfriend. Class lasts for an hour and there is no escape; I either have to suffer though it and, if I can't keep up, look like an idiot - or leave to sit in the hallway and wait for Thom to finish....and look like an idiot. Great options.
But he sells me on the fact that Yoga To The People is a pay-by-donation studio. I can't afford a gym membership or dance classes right now, and it seems that yoga is my best bet financially for "disguised exercise".
So I go, and guess what? To my total and ultimate surprise: I. LOVE. IT. It wasn't too hard, and for any poses that were too advanced there were easy modifications. I could keep up. Thom had to give me his shirt during class because I was sweating so much. I'd try to wipe my dripping face with my dripping arm, and that wouldn't work, so I'd try to wipe my dripping arm on my dripping pants, which also didn't work. There were people of all shapes and sizes and skill level there. It was also candle-lit, so I immediately felt less conspicuous. And after we started, I realized that no one cared what I was doing anyway. Afterward, I felt like I'd had a great dance class followed by a massage.
In Sanskirt, yoga means "union". The root word is yuj, which is "to yoke", or to attack a task with the discipline of an ox. So, the reason to practice yoga is to find union between the mind and the body. I always thought I could be with myself better alone in my bedroom and get a better work out from an elliptical trainer. Man, I was wrong.
I felt grateful for my body's strength, and I felt like I could listen to what I needed with more awareness. I could feel my body thanking me for doing something nice for it, and I never wanted to eat anything that wasn't green and leafy ever again. On the train back home, I felt proud that I was sweaty and imagined people imagining what great lengths I had gone to in order to in order to stay healthy.
I have made yoga a weekly experience. Soon, I hope to make it a twice-per-week experience. I will let you know when my audition dress begins to be less fitted.
--Jasmine Anne Osborne