Thursday, July 7, 2011

Yoga class: Just one more arena for public humiliation

A few months ago I started to get a teensy bit more serious about my yoga practice. In other words, I wanted to be able to touch my goddamned toes. But when you spend so much of your time with the wacky runner folk, the yoga types seem like a truly bizarre ilk at first glance. Runners worry over things like negative splits and personal PRs and how many miles you have you run to negate the 3,000 calories worth of beer you're about to drink. Yogis talk about things like engaging your pelvic bowl (yes you may) and action in inaction (does not compute) and honoring your light (I'll honor your light ... wait what?).

Runners spit and sweat and fart and blow their noses into their shirts. Yogis speak slowly and quietly and move fluidly and practice inner stillness and listen to weird music. So trying to marry these two worlds has been another example of Bridget Behaving Awkward: The Memoir. In general, I'm easily excitable, I'm constantly being reminded to please use my "indoor voice," and the word klutz would be putting it lightly. This is a whole new world for me.

But marry them I have. Every Tuesday night has become my Me Time. I go to my favorite class at the gym: Spin and Abs. For an hour I sweat it out on the spinning bike and then get hit with an extra dose of ab workout. It's no secret that I sweat like a priest in a sex shop (which is to say, profusely). And I'm not just talking some pit stains and a ring around the collar. I'm talking is it hot in here or did that chick just jump in a pool fully clothed? So by the time this class ends, I could literally wring out my underwear and fully fill an 8-ounce glass with my sweat. And then drink it.

Directly following this spin class is yoga. This leaves me little time to cool down, let alone put on a fresh pair of undies. So while the instructor and the one other student who regularly takes this class are quietly setting up their mats on the floor, I burst in, dripping with sweat, dropping shoes and other articles of clothing all over the place, grunting, mouth breathing, and cracking joints as I throw my mat on the floor and drop into whatever pose we're starting class with.

I've been in this spinning-yoga (or what I've recently taken to calling "spoga") routine for months now, but we just recently got a new yoga teacher. And when you're used to one particular way of yoga, this can be a little jarring. Especially for someone who had finally adapted from the grunting and groaning of the running crowd to the quiet and stillness of the yoga people. The thing is, I really dig this teacher. She's young. She's challenging. And instead of the typical trance-like yoga background music, she plays Ray LaMontagne and CSNY and Van Morrison and the Allman Brothers and the like. Again, at first this was pretty jarring, but now I love it. It brings me to a state of total calm. I'm, like, totally zen and shit. You should see me all peaceful and whatnot.

When I realized that this new teacher likes to touch you to adjust your poses, I started bringing a fresh shirt to throw on in between classes, but that doesn't mean I'll stop sweating. I am, after all, the closest thing to a fat, hairy, Bavarian man in a sauna inside the body of a 26-year-old blond chick with the sense of humor of a 12-year-old boy. So when she comes in and grabs my hip to "further engage my flexors," all I can think about is how much I probably smell like an old sausage floating in bay water on a 90 degree day. I'm sorry, I whisper. Ew, sweaty, I smile meekly.

Then there's the head touching. When I sweat, I SWEAT from head to toe. Since my hair is short, it's usually completely soaked. This is just fine by me, except when this yoga teacher starts touching. The last ten minutes or so of class we spend in savasana, which I love. In other words, we lie on our backs with our limbs all willy nilly and just sink completely in to the floor with our eyes closed, breathing slowly, letting everything drain from our bodies. After a hard workout followed by another vigorous hour of stretching and poses, this feels like heaven. Even better, the teacher has taken to quietly coming up behind me, taking my head in her hands, gently pulling my neck to extend my spine even more and then giving me a slow, vigorous head massage while I melt in her hands. As much as I love these moments, I still can't get over the whole she is probably so disgusted that she's running her fingers through my damp, nasty hair right now thing. It drives me to distraction. All I can think about is how grossed out she must be. Which is awkward because I love these last moments of class so much I want to take them out back behind the high school bleachers and get them pregnant.

Now, I have a tiny head. Like, I can't even wear a baseball hat because I look like a six-year-old boy small. And not only is it tiny, but it's incredibly sensitive. You want me to relax, you scratch my head for a few minutes and I'll be putty in your hands. When I can't sleep, I ask B to rub my head until I doze off. There is nothing on this god forsaken earth that I enjoy more than a good head massage. Nope, not even that. Or that. Ew definitely not that, you sickos. And these final, blessed moments are hampered by my sweaty head anxiety and awkwardness.

And finally -- and you all knew this was coming -- for the past two weeks in a row, I have accidentally farted in yoga class. If you are my close friend, chances are I've farted on you and then laughed and laughed and laughed. I'm pretty open. I've shared a bathroom with four girls for years. I've lived with eight girls. I've dressed, showered, gone to the bathroom, discussed sexual positions in details, and compared naked butts with them all. But farting in front of people I don't know? In a yoga class?! Oh gah no.

Towards the end of the class, we spend a little time focusing on our core strength. Now, I've already spent a good hour and a half before this working on my abs. By this time in the evening, I'm pretty tired. And for the past couple weeks we've done this strengthening by raising our legs straight into the air and supporting ourselves on our shoulders. Then, very slowly, we lower our bodies back to the floor. Then, even slower, we lower our legs to the floor by keeping them straight and lowering a little more with each breath. And this is where, usually somewhere with my legs straight out in front of me, six inches or so from the ground, my abs clenched, my teeth gritted, I accidentally let it slip.

Remember when I said there was only one other girl in this class? It's REALLY hard to pretend it wasn't you who farted when there's only one other person in class next to you. Who? Wha? Ew who was that? God. Rude. Farting in public. Like, what? Me? No. Who does that?

When it happened the first time, I didn't know what to do. I wanted to laugh simply on impulse, but was pretty sure the super serious student and super serious teacher did not find it as amusing as I did. Should I man up and give a giggle to imply my confidence? Should I apologize for being the dirty kid in class? Should I crawl out the door and never come back? So I took the awkward road. I completely ignored it. Maybe they didn't hear (they definitely heard). Maybe they were used to it (doubtful). They'd probably forget by next week. Maybe they did, but then I farted again the following week. If they had forgotten it the first time, they definitely wouldn't forget I was the farter after a second time.

This week, I walked into class with a fresh shirt and a new resolve. I will not be the farter. I WILL NOT BE THE FARTER. I WILL NOT BE THE FARTER. And you know what? I didn't fart. Thank bajesus. I still don't know how to solve the sweating problem, but I just might have to chalk that one up to Being Me. Needless to say, everyone on my running team got a good laugh at it next day, but these were runners. Runners laugh at farting and poop jokes. You want to hear some real potty horror stories? You spend a happy hour with a run club and prepare to clench your butt and nod your head with sympathy. Yogis don't really play those games. Bridget Behaving Awkward. Coming soon to a theater near you.


Becky Mochaface said...

If she was truly grossed out, she probably wouldn't grab your head.

And if you really want to sweat, try bikram yoga. Everyone sweats in there so at least you won't be the only one. And it's harder to tell where the smell is coming from.

Falko said...

From the tone of this post, it sounds like you are attracted to your yoga teacher. You go out of your way to be more acceptable. Does B know about your affair? Would he be upset if knew you were attracted to her? Probably not....

Deidre said...

Everyone farts in yoga. In fact, most of the time it's accepted that this is going to happen. Don't stress about it. it's happened to us all. It can help to squeeze mullabunda (sp?) to hold in farts.


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