It’s hard for me to believe what I’m about to say but— I love yoga. If you know anything about how much I hate exercise this may be shocking to you as well. The idea of yoga has appealed to me for a while. but in practice it didn’t seem to be a good match. My Type A brain was unable to focus on anything other than my “to-do list” while everyone else was getting their Zen on.
My sister, Blair, and I attempted to go to a yoga class once in college. Somebody broke wind, we collapsed on our mats in fits of giggles and left the class as the instructor gave us the evil eye. I didn’t try yoga again until last year when my rec center started offering a class on Thursday mornings. Sister Wife, my best friend and my exercise Holy Spirit, made me go. I was surprised that I really enjoyed the class and even more surprised the next day when every muscle in my body hurt. I had tricked myself into exercising and had actually liked it.
I began regularly attending the class and practicing at home. The girls started practicing with me and all of a sudden one class a week wasn’t enough anymore. I joined a local yoga studio and started going to class whenever I could and miraculous things started happening. I begin to learn how to relax and how to turn my brain off.
This past Saturday the yoga studio had a community class and I decided to take Aubrey, my eight-year-old, to class with me. We spent a few days going over yoga protocol: no walking on other people’s mats, what to do if she was tired or something became too difficult and most importantly, being quiet during class.
Aubrey is in many ways a miniature version of myself— she shares my love of books and laughing hysterically. She is tenderhearted but will rip to shreds anyone who mistreats someone she loves, she’d rather not perspire unless it is an absolute necessity and she laughs often, loudly, and in extremely inappropriate situations.
On the way to yoga I went over the ground rules again, “You have to be quiet in class Aubrey. If you can’t be completely quiet, you won’t be able to come with me again.”
“But Momma,” she worried, “what if somebody’s pants fall down and I have to laugh?”
“Nobody’s pants are going to fall down,” I assured her.
“But what if they do? Can I laugh?”
“Sure. Because it’s not going to happen.”
“What if somebody toots?” She collapsed in giggles just talking about it.
“No. You don’t laugh if somebody toots. Because that could happen.”
She laughed even harder, but promised that she would try to be quiet.
We got to the class early, to have plenty of time to get settled in. I reminded her of the resting poses and what to do if she got tired or needed a break and class began. Sister Wife and her daughter were there as well and I was impressed that Aubrey and Elizabeth didn’t talk to each other during class. Aubrey attempted each pose and I stopped to help her when she needed it. As we stepped into another lunge she mouthed at me, “THIS IS NOT MY FAVORITE.”
When we twisted to the left during one pose, I had a clear view of Aubrey, Elizabeth, and Lizzie doing the same. I smiled at Lizzie and Elizabeth’s profiles, their long slender limbs mimicking each other. I was aware of Aubrey beside me but not distracted by her.
We stood and turned to the other side, bending over to touch our toes. The class was somewhat crowded and our mats were close to each other. As soon as my bottom went up in the air Aubrey starting snickering and snorting. She struggled to keep from laughing out loud and as we laid down on our mats she looked at me with a mischievious gleam in her eye and whispered, “Your butt looked SO BIG in my face!”
I rolled my eyes and settled into corpse pose for some deep breathing and relaxation. I felt Aubrey’s hand creep towards mine and we held hands while resting on our mats with our eyes closed.
After class we walked to the bakery around the corner, where Aubrey scored a chocolate croissant and apologized for snickering in class. “I couldn’t help it Momma. It was a giant row of butts.”
On the way home I asked her what she thought of the class, “It was kind of hard and you are better at it than me.”
“Well, that was your first class! I didn’t do that good in my first class. Did you like it?”
“Yes. It was funny when there was a giant row of butts— but I didn’t like that thing we did with our legs. It was kind of hard. My favorite poses are child’s pose and laying on the mat at the end. I almost fell asleep!”
I snickered at her references to the least difficult of yoga poses and said, “Yeah, those are my favorite poses too.”