Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day 74: Yoga Without Mirrors (Reporting Back on the BBCTG Challenge, Task 1)

Last week, starting Thursday, commenced my following of The Knot's "Bridal Beauty: Countdown to Gorgeous".  (As a refresher, I'm challenging myself to tackle this list of beauty-related tasks over the next 4 months, without mirrors.)  I had planned to report back on one task each week until my wedding (18 tasks total), but... several friends convinced me that I need to do this "all the way, or not at all."  So... I've decided to do (or at least attempt) all 37.  (yikes!)  My only constraints/concerns are: time, money, and stomach for the ridiculous.  No biggie, right?  Ha!

As far as my time concerns go, according to The Knot, I'm already 2 months behind!

To give myself a fighting chance to finish, I've decided to tackle all of the items on the "5-6 Months Before" list in 1 week.  It turns out that this is actually possible (thanks, mostly, to the fact that I'm already doing some of these things, like.... washing my face regularly!).  So here's my first report.  I'll write a new post each day this week, as I check things off of the list.

Commandment #1 from BBCTG:
"If you don't already, start exercising.  A few sessions with a trainer may help to jump-start your routine.  Try practicing yoga: the postures build strength and are great tension relievers as well.  You'll look great, feel better, and be less stressed out."
This seemed like an obvious place to start.  Not because it's first on The Knot's list (it's actually #5), but because I've had "start exercising again" on my own to-do list for a while.  Once upon a time I was an All-State track&field athlete.  More recently I've managed to get through a sporadic smattering of half-marathons over the past 5 years, emphasis on sporadic, but it's been YEARS since I've had a consistent routine.  The image to the left is my cat, Diesel, impersonating me in my current exercise regime.  I know it looks relaxing, but utter sloth is unhealthy.  Getting back in touch with my inner athlete would be like visiting an old friend - one who makes me feel energetic, confident, and strong.

The first bit, "start exercising." Great!

The second bit, "A few sessions with a trainer...."  Not so great.  M and I aren't really in the financial position to hire a trainer to "help jump-start" my routine (must be nice).

The last bit, "try practicing yoga." THAT I could do.

My sister, Hanna, recently purchased a 30-day yoga pass at the Purusha yoga studio in Outer Richmond.  She managed to score a great deal through groupon or livingsocial or yipit, which I missed out on.  However, the studio still offered a negligibly affordable 3 sessions for $20, for new clients.  $6.66/workout is (embarrassingly) unsustainable for me in the long term, but I figured this was well worth the experience of getting back into yoga in the company of a loved one.  And so, I showed up to class last Thursday, (3 minutes late, and already sweating, after having aggressively weaved through rush-hour traffic, cursing at pokey drivers like the totally un-zen yogi that I am).

Hanna (bless her) reserved a neighboring mat for me, and was waiting for me with mild embarrassment (she has always been the responsible one).  I plopped down ungracefully and cautiously looked around, prepared to avoid eye contact with myself in a room full of mirrors.  Much to my disappointment/delight, the room was completely mirrorless!  Turns out these folks think that yoga is more about the experience of feeling your body, and less about looking at it.  Well, shit.  I've practiced yoga on-and-off for the past 7 years, and this was a first!  I've gotta say - it was not only convenient for my project, but turned out to be really nice.

Deliciousness found here.
The class was called "Fusion," though I have no idea what the yoga was "fused" with.  (I figured, if L.A.'s Korean Taco Trucks were any prediction, fun was on the agenda!)  Indeed, the music was an indiscernible blending of pop, rap, and Enya.  At some point we did "tree pose" and several times we were all "downward facing dogs," but we were also instructed to dance around our mats, "like godesses," whatever that means.  This involved a lot of stomping, arm-waving and swooping.  We sweated.  We swooped.

Based on what I saw while watching my sister, I looked completely ridiculous.   We were instructed to "fold over" into Uttanasana ("intense standing forward fold" pose) and I realized, with dismay, that my stomach folds were preventing the act of folding.  And yet I didn't feel the least bit self-conscious.  If Hanna could flail around ungracefully, and still be loved by her sister, so could I.   At the end of the session we both conquered head-stands against the wall.  Namaste bitches!  Awesome.
Original image here.
Leaving the yoga studio, I caught a partial (forbidden) glimpse of my flushed face reflected in a mirror, tucked into a corner of the studio office.  I don't remember details of what I looked like, but I remember that I felt happy.

I'll close with a thoughtful invitation from the Purusha website:
We invite you to come as your true self.  That is the meaning of the word Purusha; "the true self".  This is not the self you seek to improve.  It is that part of your self that is alive regardless of your quest to improve.  It is the part of your self that seeks only to experience the magic of life.
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  2. Lance, you just have to make sure that you take extra care upon doing the yoga routines. To avoid any injuries especially to your lower part cause there are complicated routines.

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