stretch/breathe/hold/twist/be thankful/release/repeat

My multi-talented friend Rachel works at a yoga studio and put out an email asking if people wanted a free week of yoga. I’d been wanting to make the move from the treadmill and weight machine rut in which I’d been stuck. “Sign me up,” I said, hoping to not make a fool of myself.

Next thing, I’ve been several times. Then I’m signing up for an unlimited monthly pass. It’s a weird commitment. You don’t have to show, but they’ll still gladly take your money. You can show up every day or even several times a day, but then you’re insane. So far I’m making it there 5 times a week. Work and life knocked me out 2 days the first week. Feeling tired got me the second week.

My shoulders and hips feel like they belong to me again. I don’t feel like I’m running on an 1/8 of a quart of oil. My posture is improving. I feel receptive. The chiton I’d grown around me to deal with the city and certain situations is melting away.

At times, I feel like I’m really air-headed. Sometimes I feel like nothing is different. Certain poses have given me a dose of humility as well as patience and discipline. There are moments where I wish I could disappear and only do yoga. Then I pray to God to “please end this shit.”

Like theater, a lot of time I am one of the small handful of guys in the room. Today, in fact, I was the only guy. I get self-conscious about that, rather than excited. Like when I took dance, I’m not as good as the women in the room. I’m clunkier. I’m thicker. I’m not as extended. I’m not able to reach this part to that place.

But I’m there. I show up. I try to work where I am. I try to catch myself when I’m compensating or taking a short cut. I go a little beyond my comfort zone.

Maybe it’s a little early to say but I think I’ve found a little of what I’ve been missing. I had a recurring joke in the mid-90s where I’d evaluate whether I’d do something based on if it was “good for my spine” or “bad for my spine.” This included naps, coffee, watching movies, or doing a show. As in, “I think I’ll get that new Spidey comic book. That would be good for my spine.” Or, “I don’t know if I’ll engage with my passive-aggressive roommate, that would be bad for my spine.”

Oddly enough, after I stopped doing that gag, I injured my back several times. Working at a desk for the past two years doing my Clark Kent job has added some pressure to one particular vertebrae. Maybe two. I haven’t felt them in the last couple of weeks. Maybe life is letting me have a little spine back.