I’m trying to make friends with the elliptical machine at the gym. The machine isn’t having it. As my legs burn it mocks me. If I stop for a moment to peel my dried-up lips off my teeth and have a sip of water it tells me to peddle faster. WTF? The ‘time remaining’ countdown isn’t in real time. It’s in hell-gym time, which is triple normal time. There is no way a minute takes that long.
I joined a gym a few weeks ago. It is staffed by young people who wear ugly blue t-shirts. They stand behind the counter near a sad metal basket of bananas, and say “hello” when people walk in. They’re like toned Wal-Mart greeters—pleasant but not terribly helpful.
Now I’m no expert on gyms but I think it’s kind of a crappy gym. The $20-a-month price tag suggests this is not a top-of-the-line fitness centre. They do have machines, bulky men who can’t put their arms down, and classes, including yoga.
Namaste. That’s about all I knew when I walked into what I think was an intermediate class led by Dave.
If you are a yoga novice don’t take an intermediate class. It hurts and they say things like, “now moving from yackity to smackity in one smooth motion…” And everyone in the class moved into some new pose with ease. I flopped around on the mat like a trout in a fishing boat who had given up.
I was so new I didn’t have a mat, but luckily the gym supplies them. They have them rolled up in a closet to ensure the fragrance of the last eight to 10 users is sufficiently trapped. The mat was about the thickness of a bedsheet but the aroma was about the thickness of a wheel of Camembert cheese. We were in some position that required my forehead to rest on the mat and it actually kinda stuck.
My husband said yoga is relaxing and that he once fell asleep during a yoga class. He didn’t take a class with Dave. Dave means yoga business.
We planked, a lot. And stretched things that usually face down up to the sky. There’s a lot to see in a yoga class. And as my bits and pieces were up in the air and Dave walked around adjusting people, I couldn’t help but wonder if everything was looking OK back there. I’ve never seen myself from that angle. I don’t think I can replicate the position and balance a mirror, so a small part of me will remain a mystery, at least to myself.
Before I left Dave asked if I was new to yoga. He could tell “a little bit” but encouraged me to come back.
I have to admit I felt more limber even after that first class. I can almost touch my ankles.
So I went out and got a mat. It smells like a toxic plastic factory but maybe those fumes will help bring on a sense of inner peace. I’m practicing beginner yoga at home before I go back to Dave with my shiny new mat.
For anyone interested in trying some yoga at home, I’ve been learning from Adriene at Yoga with Adriene. She has videos for beginners and for people with bad knees!