As part of a scheme to win a free trip to Hawaii (which didn't end up working), I spent the first 2 weeks of my membership trying out each fitness class the gym offers. The one I was least looking forward to: Yoga/Pilates.
I have never been a huge fan of yoga classes. I went a few times when I was pregnant, but have never really gotten into the stillness of yoga, the "let's relax and listen to our breathing", the "pay attention to the tiny muscles in your forehead... release all of the tension between your eyebrows". I am just not made to slow down that way, and the idea that I am "exercising" by laying on the floor in Corpse Pose ticks me off when I'm in a foul mood.
But, I found that I really enjoyed the yoga/pilates class at my new gym. I was sweating! I had sore muscles the next day! And, most positive of all, my tight-since-having-children hips actually stretched out a bit and felt wonderful! I'm a little addicted now just because of the hip stretching alone! Not to mention that anytime we are seated for stretching, she always reminds us to "put both your butts on the floor", which I find really cute since she is a tiny, blonde yoga-ess.
I am far from a Yoga Master. I am decently flexible and probably above average in the balance department. On most poses, our instructor shows us a beginner position and a "level 2" position. Occasionally there is a "level 3" position which is prefaced by her saying something like, "Only try this if you have been coming for awhile" or a threat (in teacher tone) like, "If you can't keep your back straight on level 2, I better not see you trying this!" Most of the time I'm cool in level 2. On some things, I am flexible enough to pull off level 3.
Today's adventure, and story, begins about half way through class with Bridge Pose. Like this...
I assure you that I am as toned as this lady and looked HAWT in my light pink, skintight yoga-wear. (!!)
Anyway, so I'm rocking the Bridge Pose and figured we were finishing up (though, knowing the class a little bit, I wouldn't have been surprised if she had said, "Now, grab your ankles and slowly walk towards the green wall to your right.")
Then, she busted out the Level 2... Wheel Pose. "If you feel comfortable here and have the flexibility to attempt this..."
Never one to shy away from
a backbend Level 2, I was thinking I can do this! I can push up into a back bend! (Those of you who read yesterday's blog are coming to understand that my internal dialogue often includes gross overestimation of my abilities...) And then... I went for it! Arms above my shoulders, I pushed up from Bridge Pose to Wheel Pose. I made it! I am sure I didn't look as bendily perfect as this lady up above, but my heels stayed on the ground, I didn't pull a muscle, and I didn't tip over. I call that "Mission Accomplished"!
So, here I am in the dimmly lit group exercise room in Wheel Pose. My upside down view of 1/2 of the class revealed that only 2 or 3 of the 15-20 people I could see had attempted/successfully made it to the Wheel. And then, I realized my problem.
How am I going to get down from here?
A quick picture flashed in my mind: like some generic comedy flick, I pictured being stuck in Wheel Pose and having to call out to the Yoga-ess for help getting back down to the ground. Honestly, I was scared for a few seconds that I was going to hurt myself trying to get out of Wheel Pose.
In the end, I ignored the desire to call for help and decided if I threw caution to the wind to bend myself in half, I would do the same and drop myself back down to the mat. I ended up bringing my head directly down onto the ground, probably not an ideal exit, and rolling my spine down until I was back to safely laying flat on the ground.
Whew! Crisis averted!
And you know at dinner tonight, I bragged to Eric all about how I kicked some awesome Yoga butt and Wheeled like a champ!