This pose is called savasana. I call it “thank you, Jesus” pose. I’ve been taking yoga for 3 years. Don’t get any ideas. I can barely reach my toes and pray for the end of class when I can go into my “thank you, Jesus” pose and begin praying. I can do this pose real well.
When I enter a yoga classroom, I always place my mat toward the back of the room and away from the mirror. Who wants to look at themselves in that enormous monstrosity and possibly crack an 8 x 4 foot glass? Not me. So I hide in the back and dare not look into the mirror. Does anyone remember the movie “Candy Man”? Enough said.
The beginning of class is easy. We stretch our arms skyward, desperately trying to keep our feet flat on the floor. But let me warn you in advance, don’t go too fast with this maneuver or the flab on the back of your arms will try to curl up and slap your bicep until it’s a crisp red. Trust me, it’s not a pretty site. Not at all.
When the instructor says to get into warrior pose, I almost cringe. Have you seen a warrior pose? Forget that idea. Let me just say that no one in the class looks like Russell Crowe from the movie “Gladiator”. No one. At our age, there are no bare chested men or women with tight fitted, sleeveless tops. All of us don shirts down past our buttocks. We show nothing. So get this image in your head, if possible. A warrior pose must be unique to the individual because the only one who does it the same way each week is the instructor. Show off! The rest of us take the whole pose-time trying to get into the proper formation. Squaring off our bodies, we try to spread our legs wide without toppling over, and once our shaking legs settle down, we spread our arms wide as if we’re about to fly. Everyone’s face looks pained. Breathing comes as a commodity. No one wants to breathe deep as prescribed and end up teetering to the floor. You don’t move, for goodness sake. All of us fear broken hips and crushed tailbones. I think the instructor understands. We watch as she scans the room, declaring we need to carefully pull out of the pose, take a few deep breaths and stand in mountain pose. That just means to stand still and don’t fall over.
Today, I must have thought I was a yoga-guru because I went to a new class with a new instructor. When you see 5 students in a yoga class, with sleeveless shirts, and already doing poses on their own, you better think twice about staying. Yoga fool that I must be, I went right to the back of the class, since the 5 were up front, and adjusted my mat. That’s when I overheard a conversation from 2 of the women. Seems they had run off a couple of students who made disgusting noises. Panic hit! These were the hardcore senior-die-hards everyone was talking about.
The class started out slow with methodical breathing, slow deliberate moves, and a heightened awareness of body limitations. Then the new instructor got bold. We were in a plank posture (what I call a push-up) when she said to keep your right hand on the floor, twist your body 180 degrees to the left, lift your left arm skyward, and hold the pose. You gotta be kidding me!
I watched all those smarty pants swing right into position. Well, some of it wasn’t perfect, but they managed to look somewhat like the gal up front showing off. So I twisted and tried to lift my left hand. Immediately my right wrist collapsed, and I would have fallen, but I quickly rotated back to plank pose, and used my left hand to stabilize my shaking limbs. Then I decided to do the posture in the opposite way. I twisted toward the right and managed to begin lifting my right hand when I lost control and fell. It was loud with several grunts as my right hip plunged to the floor.
There are no loud noises in yoga in case you didn’t know and was thinking of joining a class. You are only supposed to inhale and exhale loudly, but not disrupt the class, fall, and grunt. At this point, I looked up at the clock and realized we still had 35 minutes of class time and I’m sweating. My husband can tell you, I don’t sweat.
The next you-gotta-be-kidding-me move was to sit Indian style, fold your torso over your tucked legs, and stretch your arms as far as possible in front of you. Sounds easy? Well, for you braggarts that think this is easy, get a life! Both of my hips locked up on me just as my stomach pooch laid over my thighs, making it impossible to even touch the floor. As I was straining to lift up my body, I took a peek under my armpit and witnessed my neighbor fold over her sweet little crossed legs in a fluid motion, stretching her arms wide across the floor.
Trying not to grunt or sigh, I pushed up, struggled to a seated position, pulled my stomach back in place, and took a strained deep breath. I looked up at the clock and realized all this had only taken 2 minutes. Thirty-three minutes to go!
There were several more you-gotta-be-kidding-me moments, but I managed to twist into something that looked like my 3-year-old granddaughter doing a cartwheel and never getting out of a 90 degree bend – kinda like a quick hop from point A to point B with a weight tied around your waist. She thinks she’s doing it perfect because we clap. Maybe we should work with her more, but she’s sure cute when she smiles.
To be honest, I probably won’t go back to the elite yoga class, but I will go back to my old one where there are about 20 of us hiding all the sagging body parts and grunts are allowed. In this class when I press into a move that feels like I’m choking off part of my body, Jesus and I get real close. I internally talk to Him the whole class. Yoga has become my confessional time. More rubbish comes up from the deep, and I expunge it from my body. Me and Jesus on the mat, figuring out life, it’s grand. I’m praying the whole time, and the heavenly choir’s singing, “Hallelujah!” Like our claps for my granddaughter, I think they’re saying “good job”. And I smile.
After yoga class I limp to the car, thanking God that we got through another session. I’m not sure if it could be compared to Paul’s race to the finish line, but I am persevering. Yoga is a lesson in and of itself. It’s also another time I use to thank Jesus for all He’s given me, even the sagging parts, shaking limbs, and weak wrist.
God bless you!