In general, I consider myself to be an up for anything, open-minded kind of person. In particular, since leaving my career, I have been committed to trying new things, meeting new people, and being receptive for whatever comes my way. As part of this whole self renewal thing, I have been wanting to start doing yoga again.
Right before I got pregnant with Braden, I was going through a really stressful period in my life (during which time my jaw was locked shut for two months, but that's a whole other story!). I took up yoga, and actually really enjoyed it. After a few months, I ended up on pregnancy bedrest, and my yoga mat has been collecting dust in my closet ever since.
But now? There really is no reason I can't do a yoga class here and there. I've been trying out a couple of different yoga centers in the area, and this weekend, I cashed in a Groupon I had purchased for 10 yoga classes at Dahn Yoga.
As I approached the studio, I noticed that it said on the sign "Yoga and Healing Center." Hmmm, healing center. This should have been my first red flag that this was not going to be your typical cafe latte drinking, Colorado exile yoga crowd, but hey, whatever. I walked into the main reception area, with yoga mat and Groupon coupon in hand.
A petite asian woman in a white robe and thick accent greeted me. She asked for my release of liability form, which I hadn't brought. She seemed a bit annoyed, and then handed me a pen and clipboard and told me to walk through the hall and join the class when I was done. She then locked the front door, and ran through the hallway herself. She was clearly the instructor, and she obviously wasn't expecting anymore guests.
As I took off my shoes and placed them in the cubby, I heard loud counting coming from the hall. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, AAAAA. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, twenty, AAAAAA. It sounded more like chanting than counting. Also not what I was used to at a yoga class, but okay. I slowly tiptoed down the hallway and peered through the door.
I saw the instructor, who was also the receptionist, with the one other participant. My sole fellow student was also a petite asian woman, in a white robe, and looked to be in her mid-fifties. They were both standing there, with their eyes closed, counting/chanting, and pounding their hands, curled up in fists, against their lower abdomen. Bladder perhaps? Liver? I don't know. I assume it was meant to target some organ.
At this point, I realized that we would not be doing sun salutations and downward dogs in this class. I didn't know what kind of yoga this was, but what I did know was that I really didn't want to go in that room. I was about to turn around and quietly book it back to my car, when I was spotted. The instructor motioned for me to come in, and indicated that I should leave my yoga mat outside the door. I wouldn't be needing it.
I joined the two women in their chanting. I pounded on my bladder. I jumped. Later, I would also pound on my head, upper thighs, and butt, while listening to some form of tribal drumming music. We did a few yoga poses for a few minutes, but the pounding on various body parts seemed to the crux of the class. I have been scouring the internet for a youtube video of what this actually looked like, and this is the best I can find (it starts around 2:34 and lasts for about 40 seconds).
Have you ever truly laughed at yourself, when no one else is looking? I find that doesn't happen very often. But in that yoga studio, with the lights dimmed and my eyes closed and my fists pounding on my stomach, I had a moment where I really thought I was going to lose my shit.
I mean no disrespect to those that do practice this particular form of yoga - truly. I don't doubt that it really does improve circulation, balance the body, and bring one close to nirvana or self realization or whatever the highest consciousness is. I obviously have a few rungs to go myself.
But at that moment, I had to stifle a real, sincere, guffaw that was just aching to come out of me. I did, thank goodness. But it was the kind of thing that when the moment was over, the corners of my mouth hurt because they had been working so hard to keep from turning upwards.
It was myself I was laughing at, and not the other two women or the yoga itself. Just me and my awkwardness and my immaturity and the fact that I spent a good twenty minutes of my free time pounding on my own bladder.
I may just go back.