:: WHY WE BE ::

Boo to false, self-imposed limits, we say. These champion oracles want to live enthusiastically. Follow our trip through projects that challenge, frustrate, and/or scare us. In the end (which is really the middle) we want to live like big bright free and authentically awesome people.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

i bet yoga gurus never get dressed in their classrooms. (Amy)

I have all happy stuff to report for February 3, 2011, everybody.

For instance, last Saturday, I took a Yoga 101 class. It was just an intro class, with no follow up class offered, but I've always wanted to try yoga. And so I did. I contorted my body into positions with names like: Warrior Pose, Mountain Pose, Tree Pose, Child Pose and Downward-Facing Dog. My favorites were being a Child and a Mountain, because these positions do not require stretching one’s limbs and muscles into positions they’ve never experienced before. My least favorite was Warrior, because you basically have to make yourself into a triangle, and that’s crazy talk. You know what else is crazy talk?

<------ THIS.

<------ And THIS.

<------ And most especially THIS.

If I were in charge of naming Yoga positions, I would call this WTF?!? Pose.

Our teacher was a perky lady with a cute blonde pony tail. Her name was Beverly, and she wore really cute yoga clothes that would be pure comedy on me. Beverly got certified in yoga several years ago, and she was trained by the most expert of yogis somewhere in Massachusetts. She also spent the first 40 minutes of our 90 minute class promising a few older ladies in the back of the room who were asking a lot of suspicious questions that yoga is not a religion. She also declared we would not be praying to gods with un-pronounceable names from faraway lands, and anyone who starts yoga looking for that is barking up the wrong tree. Yoga means “to yoke,” or to stay grounded, and that’s it, pinky promise.

Beverly told us there are some yoga instructors in Massachusetts who do spend each class saying prayers to gods with weird names, and if you ever move to Massachusetts and take yoga classes under these teachers, you will totally giggle your silly butt off the whole class at the weirdness. But this is Georgia and in Georgia we don’t pray to people whose names we can’t pronounce, and so there will be no religious hanky panky goings on in the gym Yoga Room today, just a bunch of us twisting our bodies into positions Mother Nature never intended for us to twist them into. Okay, grouchy ladies in the back wasting a lot of time? The grumpy ladies mumbled “okay” and decided to stay, and so Beverly got started.

There were about 25 of us in the class, and the nicest thing about it was that everyone was just like me: totally unable to maintain any one pose for more than 5 seconds. And then a group camaraderie quickly developed: sometimes we’d watch Beverly demonstrate what she wanted us to do and gasp out loud, "No freaking WAY, Beverly! Are you crazy?? You're crazy!!" But she managed to get us all into each position, for the most part.

The moral of yoga: everyone in that class would suck at games of Twister, and Beverly let us know that is A-okay. Yoga is not a destination: Yoga is a journey.

My favorite part of the class was at the end—there was a meditation with a CD of Sanskrit chanting in the background and when we were finished, we all sat up, cross-legged, placed our hands together in front of our bellies in prayer form, bowed slowly, and said, “Namaste.” Which basically means: “I see your light, I see your goodness.” One of the ladies in the back must have gotten suspicious again, because she crossed her arms and refused to look at other people’s goodness and light. Which is too bad, because I felt grounded and calm for at least 3 hours after. And that’s highly unusual, for me to feel grounded AND calm, all at once, for any length of time. It's kind of nice when other people acknowledge your light and goodness.

My muscles were slightly sore for a couple of days after, but I felt invigorated and full of awesome the whole rest of the day. Later that night, I even taught Melissa how to get into downward-facing dog (she held this pose for exactly 1.1 seconds and then used my Downward-Facing Dog body as a big tunnel to pretend she was a choo choo train going through).

Downward-facing Dog/Choo Choo Train Tunnel Pose.

Sadly, I’ll have to wait until summer vacation to actually do one of the regularly offered yoga classes—they’re all on late weekday mornings or at some crazy time of evening, like 8 PM. There's an Ashtanga class I could go to on Saturday mornings…except Beverly’s parting words to us were: “And stay away from that Ashtanga class on Saturday mornings until you’re a lot more advanced. You'll snap a ligament.” So that’s that.

And MORE good news! I’m tracking what goes into my mouth via my fitnesspal food log every day (I'm back on the wagon 7 days straight as I type this), and I swear I’ve only lied on that thing 3, maybe 4, times and one of those times was only because I couldn’t find the thing I just ate in their Food Search engine and didn’t have the time to google research it. Swear.

What I’m most proud of is my new No Excuses approach to becoming a gym rat. I pack a workout bag every night and take that thing into work with me, every day. At first I was changing in my classroom at school—I was taping a poster over my door’s window, locking the door, and then hiding in my makeshift closet/storage cabinet area to do my clothing change/prep before heading to the gym.

And then, one day, my friend/coworker came over (we share a classroom trailer—a door separates our classrooms…!!!an UNlockable door!!!) to ask a question and she missed seeing my naked frontal area by about 5 seconds. There are just some things which should not be shared with co-workers; Post-It notes and staplers, cool. Images of your bare-naked boobs burned into innocent, unsuspecting co-worker brains forever and ever—hellacious no! Which is when I realized: Dude, the gym has a huge changing/locker room area, with lockers and keys…why do you insist on making everything 100 times harder/more dangerous/extra embarrassing for yourself? Plus, every day as I was changing, I’d think: What if they’ve installed spy cameras in all our classrooms and the principals and school secretaries are all in the front office giggling at me RIGHT NOW!!!??? (I also sometimes wonder if they’ve bugged our classrooms.) (I admit I do have a slightly paranoid personality complex.)

And so now I just take me and my gym bag to the gym immediately after school and discretely change there. I leave Melissa at daycare for about 60 minutes longer so I can go work out and then backtrack to get her (feeling huge gobs of guilty when I show up and she’s only one of three kids left…hoping her teachers aren’t silently judging me). I race over to the gym, change in the locker room, put on my radio/headphones so I can hear what’s on one of the TVs on the walls, and I do the treadmill for 30 (sometimes 40, if I’m feeling it) minutes while Oprah schools me on stuff I didn’t even know about.

See? All good and positive news. In addition, Charles has been offered a job—it’s a Milwaukee company but we will not have to move there (he gets to work from home) and hurrah for THAT (and not having to relocate while 15 feet of snow is falling out of the sky). We can breathe a little better, financially, but more importantly, he feels empowered and excited. Though I continue to shake my fists at those responsible for this ridiculous economic mess. Because I like to do it, and I don't think the people running this place are shaking theirs hard enough, or correctly.

My analysis of all this awesomeness? Clearly, my threats to 2011 have paid off, and unlike that punk 2010, Year 2011 knows exactly who’s driving this speedboat. Say my name, say my name! And don’t forget it, 2011, or I’ll threaten you and shake my fists again.


Up next: while Charles is in Milwaukee training for his new gig, I’m going to write, direct, produce, be the camera girl, and star in my very own cooking show, during which I will be making my own version of a Giada de Laurentis recipe. I will be posting this on my next scheduled posting day if all goes well. Currently, I’m not sure how this will work out logistically, and also I have no editing skills or even a video editing program on my computer.

In addition, my current sous chef is only 2 and has the fine motor skills/attention span of a brain damaged monkey, and also switches from throwing sobbing temper tantrums to maniacal silly giggles in mere seconds. So this will either be deeply embarrassing or wildly hilarious or both. Whatever happens, I’m hoping the thing goes viral and I can somehow figure out how to market it and profit big time and/or get a last minute invite to the Oscars so I can finagle a seat next to Javier Bardem.


Holly said...

Amy, I heart yoga and am so excited that you're giving it a try!! Might I recommend ordering a beginners DVD to get you through till summer?? I haven't been doing enough yoga. Your post is giving me a nice gentle push to get back to downward dog. I'm not a big fan of warrior either, but they say the poses we're not big fans of are the ones we should spend time with. (I think). Anyway, when I get done with yoga I always feel calm and at peace for many hours too. Makes me wonder why I don't do it more often???
I'm soooo happy that Charles has been offered a job!! Hoorayyyy!! Ya whoooooo!! That is truly fantastic news!!! High fives COFFEE sista!

Dawn B said...

Amy, I enjoy your blog. I would love to know where in GA you are that you have found such a wonderful studio! I live in Alpharetta and the few studios and gyms that I've tried are either A) way too full and closeness is NOT something I want when I'm afraid I'm about to break something. Or B) the teacher is way to touchy. I don't like to be touched when I'm afraid I'm about to break something either.

Steph said...

AMY! AMY! AMY! AMY! AMY! AMY! AMY! (sorry, just sayin' your name so that Year 2011 won't forget the sound of it...)
Wow... ALL KINDS of up tops, and I mean TONS of 'em! Food tracking, yoga, gym, new jobs (that do NOT require relocation!!!) - HECK YES, Amy COFFEE! HECK YES!
Super duper proud of you... Holly suggested a yoga DVD, and I second this recommendation. Can you imagine putting several hours more of that groundedness (ok, so this probably isn't a word - deal w/it, says the English teacher) - and calmness each week? I could sure use it and may just try a yoga class at my gym this week. Sure P and Tom Holland wouldn't begrudge me some calm and grounded time???!!!
You rock, Amy... and when you get to sit next to Javier, please punch his gorgeous wife in the face and slip him my phone number. (thanks, in advance)

Wendy said...

Amy, you are so good you make me jealous. I loved this.

I just started reading this memoir called "Stretch" - about this average joe who gets super into yoga and has a habit of breaking wind in the process. It looked really funny and quirky, but I decided a couple chapters in that the guy was kind of a douchebag and abandoned it. But YOU, m'lady, are fun-ny! "WTF?!? Pose"... haaaahaaaaaaa!
I will never do another downward dog without thinking "choo choo train tunnel pose".

Congrats to Charles on his new job!! Rad! Does that mean that your trips to daycare might get easier and your guilt gobs might melt?

I can't WAIT for your cooking show! That sounds awesome. PS. Check out "Cookin' with Big Fella, The Hustlin' Gourmet" for inspiration. Awesome! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Iq5L8daHtM

T-Free said...

This made me LAUGH, Amy. WTF?!? yoga pose... HAHAHA. Seriously! What is that lady doing? And this cracked me up: "...she crossed her arms and refused to look at other people’s goodness and light." LOOK AT MY GOODNESS AND LIGHT, WITCH! LOOK AT IT! Bwhahahahaha. Come on, though. For real. Lighten up, grumpy little old lady.

I love yoga. I did it before and all throughout my pregnancy, and my son and I have done it together. He thought it was fun. I never realized how kid-friendly all of the poses were, but kids love pretending to be animals and trees and such, so I guess it is right up their alley. My favorite pose is child's pose because it is so darned relaxing. If I'm ever feeling stressed out, I will get down on the floor in that pose, forehead to the ground, and just let it go. It always helps.

Wow. The Fitnesspal sounds so cool. Good for you for sticking with it and working it! Does it add up calories for you? I am pretty good about keeping a food diary, but I have no idea how many calories a lot of the stuff I eat contains. I guess, probably low or high, quite often. I'm oblivious. If Fitnesspal has a calorie counter, I could really use that.

Good move on changing in the gym. That would be so embarrassing to be caught naked in your room! Haha. That scenario would make a great porn movie plot, though, wouldn't it? (Too far? Sorry.)

Huge congratulations on Charles's new job and the ability to work from home! That is AWESOME. YAY! I bet that is such a relief for both of you. I'm so happy for you.

I am also so excited about your COFFEE Project cooking show. SO excited. You are totally going to end up sitting next to Javier. Totally.


amy said...

Thanks, everyone! (I'm not even going to mention here that yesterday: I flaked on the workout and consumed 1,500 calories over my 1,500 daily caloric limit) (today is a new day) (i've already had a butterfinger bar...but I'm going to slow jog it off!)

Holly--it was on my birthday wish list I just emailed Charles. I may never be advanced enough for Ashtanga, but I can totally do a beginner-level yoga DVD at home and get half-way there. And that is *exactly* what Beverly said! That the poses you hate the most are the ones that will help you the most...and the more you do them the better you get. Yoga is full of good wisdom like that.

Dawn B--Hi, and thank you! The gym I go to is Lifetime Fitness. I think they may have one in Johns Creek/Alpharetta. It's a tad on the pricier side, but it's the nicest gym I've ever been at. And their personal trainers are actually certified, with no real turnover. I think the yoga classes are extra $$ in addition to the monthly gym fee, so that could be another deterrent in my Yoga Quest. We'll just have to see how our finances go over the next few months.

And it is kind of oogy when someone you don't know well gets touchy feely. Also, a friend of mine who does yoga regularly says her instructor will say things like: "Let your skin pull back toward your shoulders." And everyone in the room is like, "Huh?!" (That guy is in downtown Atlanta though...and I suspect he's a toucher feeler. :-)

amy said...

Steph: I bet P and Tom Holland would totally let you have some grounded time! And thanks for reminding 2011 that AMY is in charge. AMY, 2011. Don't forget it!

I totally forgot about Javier's beautiful, pregnant wife. I can't punch her in the face while she's with child. But I will after she's birthed the baby! For you. And then I'll say some namaste's and recover my groundedness.

Wendy--Laugh Out LOUD! Because while I was in yoga class, that was my primary, number 1 worry: Please, God, please don't let me pass gas. Forget that my fingers weren't splayed enough or that my back was slightly arched in downward dog...I just didn't want to be the one who was The Culprit.

I am laughing so hard right now. I have the sense of humor of 7 year old boy.

And yes! My guilt trips about daycare might get easier--especially if Melissa would frickin' stay in the gym daycare without screaming her head off. I'm going to try her in there tomorrow and see how it goes.

T-Free: I don't understand grumpy people, and I can tell: you don't either. We are soul sisters in the We Don't Understand Grumpy People area. I hope that grumpy old lady has a buttload of someone else's goodness and light shined on her at some point. NO idea what she's missing.

Yes--fitnesspal tracks calories. And fat. And protein. And a whole bunch of stuff, if you tell it to. I can't believe it's free. Sparkpeople.com is like this, too, and free...but there's way too much stuff going on over there for me, as I'm highly distractable. Also fitnesspal is more streamlined/facebook like. (Facebook is a addiction/problem for me.)

I have no idea what that lady in the picture is doing, but when I saw it my first reaction was: What the holy...what is she DOING??

And thanks for all the sweet congratulations! It's just...relief. I don't know if Charles feels relief (he's got a lot to do over the next few weeks), I'm just glad we can cover our bills and not go into foreclosure now. Phew. (Shaking my fist in Wall Street's general direction.)


blj said...

First of all, Javier Bardem, YUM!

Second, when I'm in plow pose I often queaf. Too much information? Sorry.

Third, and most importantly, I'm so happy for you and your accomplishments! And Charles' accomplishments! This is all fantastic news and I can't wait to read about what else you've got in store for 2011. And thanks for your humor. Your posts are always so funny, I love them!

Katie said...

Amy!! AMY!!! This is awesome, I love that you have good news to share!! Yoga! Yes! I do enjoy yoga as well, but on top of the fluffing concerns (which I have done frequently - most notably into the face of a 7th grader while doing a ropes course in an effort to demonstrate "teamwork") I have this image of my giant huge behind blocking out the sun when doing downward dog. But it's about overcoming negative images, so I will use your experiences as a prod and get my giant behind to the Yoga Room! Woo! Amy, The Pathfinder! I have a friend who also has to leave her daughter in day care so she can work out, and she was paralyzed by guilt for the first few weeks, but then she decided that she was less crabby with her when she worked out. Now she doesn't feel too guilty.

And congrats on Charles's new job, that has to be such a weight off. I bet the stress level has come down considerably, and that makes me super happy for you. I am just thrilled. Thrilled!! If I was there in Atlanta with you, I would totally take you out for some granola and fruity flavored water. Unless we agreed to lie to our calorie trackers, then I'd do it up right!

Good job on the Fitness Pal - I have similar experiences with my app Nutrition Counter. It's amazing how much you can eat when you don't enter the calories though. Stays at zero! Crazy! Tracking is a good reality check for me. Behavior modification in progress, people! Stay off the sidewalks!

And the cooking show - how frikkin fun is that?! I would totally watch it, and then be one of those people holding signs crowding the red carpet when you walked down that says "YOU ROCK AMY!!" and "WE LOVE YOUR COOKING!!" And I'd totally hold Javier down so we could rope him and carry him off. He's pretty.

Ahhhh.... good things.

patresa said...

i love this happy post! i love all the good things happening. AWESOME.

i am especially fond of the WTF?!? Pose. I wish you were in charge of naming yoga poses, b/c WTF?!? Pose is way better than what it's probably called "Sideways Cricket."

Beverly is the perfect name for a yoga instructor, I've decided. But WTF?!? to the ladies who refuse to look at other people's light and goodness… cause it's against their religion. Oh my, I think they need more of the Sideways Cricket for sure.

And you're packing gym bags and Melissa is learning to hold it together while mommy centers! And you are tracking your food! And you are going to blow through that 5K like nobody's business!

I love that you change in your classroom. Boy that's hilarious. I am, however, deeply disappointed that Katie Mac did not take this opportunity to relay her lunch box story. It is one of my favorite Katie Mac stories of all time. I wonder how disappointed Katie Mac will be that I've mentioned it here.

Many congratulations to Charles on the new job! WONDERFUL. I'm sorry it isn't Des Moines, but I'm glad you don't have to move to Milwaukee. And what a lucky man he is to have a partner who understands the magnitude of "empowered and excited."

Love it, Amy. Good things for good people.

Katie said...

Ha!! Hahahaha!!! I will totally tell the lunchbox story in my post on Monday. We're among friends right? No judgement? I completely forgot about that until you mentioned it. Lordy lordy.

Tanner May (Tanya) said...

Amy! Yay for all the golden light of good news! I actually said quietly aloud when I read about Charles' job "yay." I applaud you and your shaking fists because as you noted, clearly 2011 is noting all the energy too! 2010 truly showed its punk colors so thank the sweet good of all good that 2010 is so yesterday. :)

I love your descriptions of wtf poses. I will never be a yogi, and I'm pretty certain even if I was in the best shape of my life, I could not do wtf poses.

Rock on gym rat, fitness blogger, writer, producer, star, director, photographer, and cooking host..... you are on fire!! Yay for Amy. Double yay for ya'all!!