I recently began practicing yoga.
I shit you not.
I've had several non-yoga types (aka my people) rave to me lately about yoga. About how I should try it. About how it stretches stuff you didn't know needed stretching. Fortuitous timing, I'll admit, since I've had this vague sense for a while now that some of my stuff could use a stretch.
For starters, there's a tightness in my hamstrings that's getting harder to ignore. A lack of snow this year put the brakes on snowboarding, which I deftly replaced with a winter’s worth of ale and atrophy. The ramifications of this decision are now conspiring against me.
But there's also this: I've noticed a tightness in my heartstrings too... a spiritual contraction... other soul-related metaphors. It's nothing catastrophic. Hell, it's not even mildly dramatic. It's just an odd little mood that's been catching me on occasion. I'm sure there's a clinical term for it. Maybe "Late Winter in the Midwest."
Anyway, this is how I came to find myself lying on a rubber mat in a darkened room at 6 a.m. On my left, a tiny woman doing elegant upside-down yoga things with smooth arms and strong legs and healthy heart. And on my right, a younger guy with a thick beard who was easily three times her size. He was sweaty and wobbly and, I don't know, approximate in his moves. Smack in between 'em was me. Sweaty and wobbly and approximate too, with just an extra yoga class or two under my belt.
I don't know either one of them. In fact, I don't know anyone in the entire room. The only words I've spoken in my five or six yoga classes so far are my name when I sign in, and "thank you" when I'm done. Instead of making small talk, I prefer focusing 100% of my energy toward my yoga mantra: "Don't tip over... don't tip over... don't tip over..."
The silence suits me. As does the solitude. I've always gravitated toward solo pursuits: silent sports, corner stools, writing (the introvert's ultimate escape). Clearly I'm not what they call "a team player." To me there's just always been something wonderful about private victories. And something forgiving about private failures, if I'm being honest.
So it could be very weird for me to be in a room full of people, sticking my ass in the air. Especially since almost everyone one in the room is better at sticking their ass in the air than I am.
But it's not weird. It's not weird at all. In fact, I'm thankful that they're with me. And I'm thankful that I'm with them.
Yes, I'm as rickety as can be. And I'm probably the only one who thinks it's fun to imagine he's longboarding during the Warrior 2 pose. But I feel like I belong there. Quietly attempting something gangly and new. Stretching things I didn't know needed to be stretched. Surrounded by others who, at some point in their lives, decided to do the same.