Friday, January 28, 2011

Get hooked: Yoga on Crack

So, I talked about how I started actually taking interest in yoga eight years after stumbling upon my mother in the midst of her craziness. That made me 16, a time in which I believe it is safe to say, most females would not wish to re-live if they had the choice. Ironically, this was a time that my parents seemed like the biggest pains in the asses alive. It was the year I got my license and drove around smoking cigarettes like a chimney and made elaborate plans to escape from my house with my friends after my midnight curfew.

Although I was not the healthiest I have been in my life (it didn't help that I was dating a chain smoker/pot head either), excercise was important to me and I noticed the yoga classes at the gym I belonged to. My friends wouldn't go with me, but for some reason, maybe it was my subconscious mind drawing me back to my eight-year-old curiosity. So I went.

I went to "Centergy," a class that could also be called Yoga on Crack, or maybe steroids- I am not sure which one. In other words, I started practicing yoga as a way to stay fit and as a form of excercise. I think this may be the sole reason why many people that young even consider yoga, that is, due to lack of self-evolution and small-mindedness.

 I am not sure if I could ever have experienced anything spiritual or mentally cleansing in that class. It was in a glassed-in aerobics room at a Gold's Gym with techno-like music. How can anyone truly relax and feel peaceful when there are bodybuilders grunting and treadmills humming just on the other side of the glass? There were out-of shape- men riding the fine line between middle-aged and elderly, who unknowingly cut the cheese at least a handful of times throughout class. There were bleached-blonde housewives and a teacher with a microphone and headpiece. But I went back every week.

At that point, I obviously hadn't exactly grasped my mother's deeper and more spiritual reasons for delving into the world of yoga. I just had absolutely no idea what my yoga practice would transform in to over the next six years of my life... in to what is now. So, that's ok. That is where I started yoga and in my 16-year-old brain, I just wanted a good work out. What's the harm in that?

Whatever can get someone started practicing is a good thing. And no one, especially a sixteen-year-old girl, is going to immediately feel the mental, emotional and spiritual benefits that a consistent practice can and will offer anyone who is willing to try.  

Friday, January 21, 2011

Mom, why in the world are you standing on your head?

I was about eight years old and I was wandering aimlessly through my house with my best friend Trina when we stumbled upon a bizarre scene: My mother was sitting in front of our large sliding glass doors which faced the northeastern forest of oak trees. Well, to us it was bizarre, and actually, she was not sitting- she was in a complete handstand- just hangin' out. She had a serene look on her face and just smiled at us when we gasped, "WHAT are you doing?"

"Yoga, come sit down and try it," she said as she slid delicately out of her headstand. She pointed to the colorful book opened on the floor. It was filled with Indian-looking people doing silly poses together in some kind of strange fantasy land- at least that is how my pre-pubescent mind processed it. I honestly thought my mother was a tad off her rocker: Why was she looking at these people doing these weird stretches?

She seemed to really enjoy it so Trina and I rolled around a bit, laughing incessantly, before we left my mother as she looked out into the green abyss and gathered her prior peacefulness to continue on with her practice.

As we cooked fake food in my pretend-kitchen, we laughed about how funny and ridiculous it was that my mother was choosing to spend her afternoon upside-down.

So, I say I thought she was so weird-a freak, totally bizarre- for standing on her head and doing yoga, but in the back of my little mind, I knew there was a reasonable explanation for her love of it. After all, my mother was and still is my hero and nothing she does could really be that crazy in my opinion.

It took me eight years to give yoga another chance, but this time, I wanted in.