I blame my multi-year yoga hiatus on the CrossFit craze.
‘Workout of the Day’ posts were overwhelming my social media feeds. The enthusiasm for weightlifting, burpees and lady-muscles was unrelenting. I abandoned the self-love of yoga to abuse myself through masochistic forms of exercise.
I didn’t have enough courage to join CrossFit per se, so I signed up for group powerlifting classes. The group fitness scene was not for me, too competitive and brutal on some old (and budding) injuries. So I aimed for more personal attention and employed a super-intense trainer, who had no patience for whining or complaining. This limited our communication. He worked me so hard that the lactic acid buildup rendered me cowboy-legged for 72 hours. After each session, I sat in my car wondering whether I had enough strength to turn the ignition key.
Inevitably with self-harm, one tends to get hurt. That’s probably obvious to everyone but me. Enter hernia surgery and a much-needed recovery period. I re-assessed my workout philosophy.
Fully recovered, I decided to attend a comeback yoga class.
Arriving at Oxygen Fitness, I wiggled my way to the end of a packed front row next to a Pinterest-worthy wall of color coordinating yoga accessories.
After deep breathing exercises and setting intentions for the class—my private intentions were to achieve the lithe, sculpted body of the woman next to me—I began downward-dogging, twisting, bending, arching, extending and mostly sweating. You would not believe how much ‘detoxing’ is done when you are forcing yourself to move fluidly and in sync with the uber-athletic and flexible yoga masters of New Canaan.
For someone who lacks grace-of-movement, I did pretty darn well. My moves were rusty though the instructor made adjustments when I started to go rogue, or attempt my never-before-seen, signature yoga pose called ‘Timberrrrrrrrr!’
A yoga session can force even the most tightly wound New Canaanite to become entranced and relaxed—even me. I found myself stuck in a crouched position, wadded up like a nervous armadillo, but somehow I had completely zenned out. When self-awareness kicked back in, I noticed that the rest of the room had moved on to an entirely different sequence. I floundered back into the class rhythm. With this ancient practice, there are no judgments, which can feel like a rarity in New Canaan.
With every yoga session, they save the very best for last — ‘Savasena,’ which means “corpse pose.” To experienced, dedicated practitioners, Savasena is “a fully conscious pose aimed at being awake, yet completely relaxed.” But for hacks like me, it is a post-workout nap and the best five minutes you will ever have in a room full of sweaty strangers. I mean, who can’t get behind a workout that ends with a mandated, approved nap? Sign me up. Corpse pose it is.
After nailing the Savasena, the hardest thing in the world is to find the inner strength to force yourself vertical, as it was time to leave. I put away my borrowed mat and was handed a chilled, eucalyptus-infused towel to freshen up. Since I’m a mom, I am not accustomed to anyone handing me a clean towel. What, for me?
Overall, my yoga comeback class was just what this lady needed. My only beef is that there isn’t a full, 60-minute class devoted solely to Savasena—like a toddler naptime, but for adults. Until this idea takes off, I will settle for traditional classes.