Wednesday, February 22, 2012

When Good Yoga Goes Bad

Edit:  I'm submitting this post to Yeah Write this week!  It's a great weekly writing forum where you find tons of great posts.

When I was 21, I went to my very first yoga class with my mom.  When it comes to coordination, I am the Fric to her Frac.  The Tweedle-Dee to her Tweedle...uh, she can be Tweedle-Dee.


Hi Mom.

When she would go to aerobics back in the day, she would have GymSis and I in stitches as she explained how she would go left when the rest of the class would go right, how she would go forward when they would go backward, and how she was supposed to clap and step:



(I just had to add in our 90s teased bangs.) 

Then, one day I went to Zumba and knew, without a doubt, that I was not adopted. But that is a post for another time.

Anyway, I've done yoga on and off since that first class with my mom, and after this recent course of physio, I knew that starting again would be wise in order to keep me strong, limber(ish), and injury-free.


I skipped on over to my gym for an evening class. Their Biggest Loser program was meeting at the same time as yoga.  As I sat in the all-purpose exercise classroom, I was quite sure there was a bowling tournament happening outside the door.  What happened to not dropping the weights on the floor??

If you've been to yoga, you know that every instructor has her own style.  I have never been to a class, though, that just jumped right in to strengthening exercises.  No 'meditation' to start? Hello,  I need to centre myself before just jumping in.


Well, maybe not quite to that extent, but I am used to easing in to my sun salutations and I felt unprepared.

Our instructor started the calm, soothing music she was going to use for the class.

Not exactly sure how you scratch a CD.

Now that the mood was fully disrupted (wait, it was never set to begin with), it was time for the bell ringing.  This occurred at random times throughout the class. I am not sure what the goal was, but I did start to get a bit peckish.


After our warm-up, it was on to some balancing poses.  I don't know what this one was called, but here is the teacher doing it:


We were given a variation to use our straps if we couldn't reach.  I awaited further instruction.


The beginner crutch was to go stick your leg on the barre.


 I will just call this one "Posture Impossible".

One of the things I had forgotten about yoga was how tough it can be to keep your focus.  For example, sometimes you have to look up while you are bent over at the waist...hinging from the waist, if you will.  You will be looking straight ahead at the person ahead of you. And at that moment you are aware that there is someone behind you who has that same view...of you.


The horrible great! thing about the class was that there was a mirror so I could adjust my form.  So while feeling like a "princess" in Warrior Two (see what I did there? Warrior Princess...??) ,


I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and noticed a few adjustments were needed.


Why look! It's the Athletic Stance!  I did everything I could to tuck my butt, but it just seems to enjoy sticking waaaaay out.

I went back to class the following week and it was hot, crowded and just horrible.  And, there was no Sivasana (a.k.a. Corpse Pose). Are you kidding me? I can actually do that one!


So I've found a new class at the Y.   So far, so good!

Oh, and I thought I would have some fun with Picnick before it goes away; in case you missed it on Facebook and Twitter, I jumped on the meme bandwagon:




Anyone have any good yoga stories to share?


Please tell me you got the bell-ringing/hunger reference.


NEXT POST: MY TRAINING GOALS FOR THIS YEAR





57 comments:

  1. Hahah i'm totes scared of yoga. Nothing about me is graceful

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  2. I seriously LOVE these drawings today! They are spot on and every one of them made me smile. Awesome! And glad you found a class/instructor you like - it makes a huge difference for sure! I need to get back to yoga but I haven't been since - oh- before Julia was born so I may die doing anything other than sivasana ;)

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  3. Great post! I totally got the bell-ringing reference. :) And those bangs took me back to a simpler, yet more embarrassing time!

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  4. Gia: So interesting how so many of us seem to find each other :)

    Erika: Thanks lady! Hope you'll be able to come back out here pretty soon :) And yes, a good teacher is everything. You have to go back!

    Adele: Thank you, and yay! Glad I wasn't cryptic. I know what you mean about the bangs. There was a lot of drama sprayed into that teased hair.

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  5. love it! and love yoga!!!
    goin to pin something here! :)

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  6. Haha!! I've tried SO many times to get into yoga but I just can't. The moment someone farts (which has happened in every class I've gone to) I'm done.

    And where can I get your sun-salutation outfit? I'd totally hit up a class with you if we had matching skirts like that. With headbands. Haha!!

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  7. Love the tongue sticking out. That's totally how I do yoga too! My best yoga class was when I took my then 17-year-old with me and she giggled the entire time, "I think I'm going to fart."

    ~Carrie

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  8. I would love to take a yoga class but Im afraid Ill look like a total boob! lol

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  9. Tara: I'm glad a seasoned yogi likes the post :D Thanks for the pin!

    jennie: I think that happened in this class, which is the first time! We would be quite the sight traipsing into class that way...I think we would need finger cymbals too :)

    Carrie: The tongue serves 2 purposes: stabilization and concentration. And that class with your daughter, too funny!

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  10. Jenn: Join the club! Lots of us boobs in class.

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  11. Love it! One time I went to hot yoga and a lady passed out right in front of me from a standing position! I guess it was too hot. My son loves your drawings:)

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  12. ha-so funny-love the drawings!! I go through phases of yoga-love the feeling that lasts days-but at the time I'm on the mat can sometimes hate it! Did you see that-'shit yogis say'-very funny!

    PS- my favourite is also the corpse pose!! :)

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  13. Great post! I loved when I went to yoga classes at the Y - the teachers there were way more Zen. That sounds like the worst class ever...I'm with you, I need to get relaxed before beginning AND I hate when they don't do modifications b/c sometimes their poses are OUTRAGEOUS ;)

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  14. I tried sometimes, with 2 different instructures, and you are right... both have different methods... but i am good for neither of them !!!!!!!!!! :D:D:D:D:D

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  15. Of course I got your Pavlovian response reference. Now I demand a Schrodinger's Cat reference worked in to your next post.
    I want to try yoga but I'm too chicken. 1)I am inflexible and 2) I'm very gassy.
    Also, I may have a new favorite drawing of yours. That "Namaste Nature Hippie" (don't know how else to describe it) rabbit punched my funny bone.

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    1. Also, after reading people's comments, I'm glad my fart phobia is shared and not irrational.

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  16. I'm a zumba kinda gal...
    the whole meditation yoga thing is too much for me...

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  17. No corpse pose!?! The shame of it! Everyone knows that the whole reason you put yourself through the agony of some of the poses is so that you can lay your a** down at the end of it!

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  18. I got the Pavlov joke, I got it! Yeah, once the farting starts in yoga class (like someone else posted), I'm pretty much done.

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  19. bahahaha very pin worthy!

    i cant un-stick my big bootay in any such class. luckily in spin today i was told to stick my butt out over the back of the bike. heck yes! something my butt actually WANTS to do! <3

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  20. hiker mom: Oh my gosh. I could totally be that person passing out. I love that your son likes the drawings...I do work with children.

    Robyn: I feel the exact same way while I'm in class :)

    Ali Mc: Oh yes, I forgot that she also wanted people to do headstands right at the end, as I had collapsed into child's pose.

    Iloshka: It can be tough. There are so many types of yoga that you could find a style you like :)

    Pickleope: 1) I'm glad you got my Pavlov reference 2) I have no idea what the Schrodinger's cat reference is. Dammit. Is it the cat in the time machine box? Also, I understand the fear, but it's never been an issue in the classes I've been in.

    Not A Perfect Mom: You'll like my zumba post when I get to writing it. I think what I like about the meditation is that I get to relax...I don't go in too much for the hippy dippy stuff but not all classes are like that.

    Kristin: Damn skippy!

    Allie: Yay! You got the reference! I want to make sure I avoid all the classes everyone seems to be going to.

    Jenn: Yes, it's pin-worthy! Hmm, it sounds like there would be some skill to keeping your butt behind the seat!

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  21. I do a LOT of yoga. Ashtanga, the Athletic type. The only meditation is at the end. We jump right into it and are drenched in sweat by the end of class. I love it! And yet I can completely relate to your post. I'm glad we don't have mirrors in our studio. I'd be afraid to see what my poses look like! Yoga is all about the teacher. I've got the best there is - at least for me! I love your depictions!

    People Do Things With Their Lives

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  22. NO Shavasana?! That's just wrong. It's my favorite pose! And no deep breathing or om'ing to open class? This sounds freaky weird to me. Hoever I give you credit for soldiering on. Thanks for the drawings to clarify!

    Visiting from Not a Mommy.

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  23. Stephanie B: Hmm, I think if it were an Ashtanga class, I'd be ok with it. But it's *supposed* to be a Hatha b/i/a class. So that was what was frustrating. I love getting my sweat on too :D

    Catherine: I know, right?? Glad it all made sense :)

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  24. I love yoga, but I suck at it. Anything involving coordination isn't really my thing. Aerobics are definitely out, and I could relate to your mom's experience with her aerobics classes. I zig when they tell me to zag...it's crazy.

    This had me cracking up! And your picture at the end is definitely a great for pinning :) Thanks for linking up with the Not Mommy Hop.

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  25. Katie: Coordination is very difficult. Glad the picture is pin-worthy...hoping to see it pinned :D Thanks for putting together the hop!

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  26. Love this! I always feel awesome in yoga class and probably do just look goofy/like I'm about to fall over as well :P Awesome work!

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  27. Craftzilla: Thanks! The new class is so much better...also, no mirrors :D (Thanks again for the hat!)

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  28. I absolutely suck at those things, like zumba or aerobics or whatever when you have to do things exactly as other people at the same time. I always screw up and don't know what people are doing. So embarrassing. So no yoga for me...

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  29. Susi: Yeah, it can be tricky for sure. But...I feel these days that if it's something you want to do, just do it. Unless you are in a class with lots of show offs who shoot you evil looks, in which case you can just find another class!

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  30. There's a yoga teacher at the Y I used to be a member of who would start discussing problems in her own life during the yoga class. She also gave off a very frenetic energy (always made me feel anxious when I was around her), had a grating, nasal voice, and was as flexible as Stretch Armstrong. She would also sort of look down her nose at the more inflexible of us in the class. Thankfully I've found a much better teacher now...one who understands that my hamstrings are as flexible as metal rods.

    Schrodinger's cat is the cat in the box with a flask of poison and a radioactive source theory. If radiation is detected inside the box, the flask has shattered, releasing the poison that will kill the cat. But until the box is opened, the cat is both alive and dead since we have no way of knowing without looking.

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  31. Magdalena: That teacher sounds like a real prize. So glad you've found a better teacher! And, thank you for reminding me of Schrodinger's cat! I don't think I ever knew the name of the experiment beyond "the cat in the box" :)

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  32. LOVE the visuals! Haha a great recap of a first class. It's always tough adjusting to a new teacher's style. I agree, though, that some easing in is necessary before the strength parts come.

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  33. Meredith: Thanks :) New teachers are hard, and they all have their own style, but when the class is so different from what you're used to it's not fun :P

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  34. I take a cardiokettlebell class three imps a week and every time I go, I remember why group sports were not my thing and I ended up swimming competitively to satisfy my hunger for athletic achievement. great piece, Erin

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  35. I'm not a yoga fan. But I did kickboxing for a while and love the vigorous workout ;)

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  36. Good for you for sticking to it. For whatever reason, I just cannot get into yoga. I know I should, but I just can't.

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  37. I don't have any Yoga stories. But I did recently start taking Karate. You can get humble real fast when a ten year old girl can tell you what to do because she is higher rank. LOL

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  38. Erin: I'm way too chicken for kettle bells! Pretty sure I would knock out a tooth :)

    jamie: I used to do some kickboxing too! Back in the Billy Blanks era :P

    Sandra: Thank you!

    Christie: I'm on and off with it, but I know my body needs regular stretching and I am lazy, so off to yoga I go.

    Cathy: Oh wow. I've never done karate. Yeah, that would be tough!

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  39. Very funny - I especially loved the picture of you as you "centre" yourself. :) I did yoga throughout my 3rd pregnancy, and I sing its praises to pregnant gals everywhere. But I find I just can't hack it when I'm not toting a fetus around and people actually expect me to look graceful.

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  40. Robyn: Thanks! Oh, I like the idea of saying I'm not graceful due to fetus-toting. But, I have no fetus. Maybe I can just sling my bag over my shoulder. It will look weird but I can blame my bad technique on it.

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  41. Haha I just love your drawings!

    I love yoga, I miss it as I haven't done it in ages. But I do remember the time when I fell over while doing the pose where you put your knees on the back of your arms, your legs folded and in the air, and your head straight and looking forward. Yeah it'd be easier if I remember the name of the pose. But yeah, I fell over because really, it was freaking impossible.

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  42. My favorite yoga studio in new york HAS NO MIRRORS. That means that in my mind, I look like a cross between Angelina Jolie and Nadia Comaneci back in the day - tall, incredibly limber, and with cheekbones. The reality doesn't have to hit me til I'm home & looking at my sweaty middle-aged self...

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  43. As Deborah said - no mirrors rocks!

    I love the descriptions you give, and I am not a yoga person at all, but I can picture exactly what you are talking about. Love it!

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  44. I remember this post. Loved it then and love it now :)

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  45. Alison: Thanks! I might know which pose you're talking about; I can't do anything like that either :)

    Deborah: Yeah, no mirrors--ideal. I like to pretend I'm long and lean as I'm moving into child's pose :D

    Kristin: I agree too! Glad I got you into the yoga simulator!

    Katie: Thanks so much. I promise I'm working on new posts.

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  46. Yoga is hard, yo! Every time I try, I hurt myself like woah. How I think I look when doing yoga: A Hot Mess. How I actually look: A Totally Hot Mess.
    Thanks for linking up!

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    1. It *is* hard! I haven't been back in months. I'm having fun linking up and reading people's best of the year!

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  47. This is why I stick with yoga on my Wii....because no one wants to see that view of me. Also, I figure no one at an actual class will sit on my head, stomach or crawl on my back for added strength resistance like my 3 children.

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    1. Well, you never know unless you ask... ;)

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  48. My mom is a yoga instructor and I have *no* natural yoga ability. ::: Sigh ::: But corpse pose? I got that one nailed.

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    1. Oh man, that would lead to some serious feelings of inadequacy for me...but I'm glad you can rock that corpse pose! It's the best one.

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  49. If I were bent over behind somebody else's behind, realizing that the person behind me was staring at my behind - my first concern would be that the person in front of my or myself had gas. My second would be the view. In fact I make it a policy to never bend over without bending my legs just so that I KNOW nobody will ever see THAT view.

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    1. That's why I would usually try to find my way to the back of the class. That only worked until we all had to turn around and then i was at the *front* of the class...boooo.

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  50. Pavlov reference for the win! Well done for finding the class for you. I did a yoga class once. A single session. It consisted of myself, the nubile young instructor, and three overweight middle-aged men.

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    1. Woohoo! Pavlov was the man. I will be honest and tell you that new class only lasted a few months. I really don't like yoga. Your class sounds icky.

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