Hubs and I have spent much of our relationship – thirteen years now! happy bootyversary, honey! – trying to come up with an exercise regime that we will actually enjoy. Separately and together we’ve tried going to the gym, walking, jogging, WiiFit, Dance Dance Revolution (that was me), swimming, ice skating… I like being active once I get going, but I generally find that by the time I’ve finished everything I have to do in the run of a day that I’m just physically beat. And Hubs is very tough to motivate.
We even got a dog three years ago, in the hopes that having a large smelly beastie in the house would force us to go for walks. Somehow we ended up with the world’s laziest Labrador, ever – we’ve actually got a dog who may be lazier than we are. Like us, he’s very enthusiastic for the first five minutes or so; then he starts walking slower, and slower, until ten minutes in he’s not walking so much as he’s sauntering. Zen maybe, but not any more exercise than heading back and forth between the dining room table and the dishwasher.
Once again this winter we’re looking for an activity. Because of Baby G, it has to be something we can do near the house. Preferably indoors, at least until it warms up a bit.
I used to dabble in yoga. I took several beginner and intermediate ashtanga classes before the kids started coming. I always enjoyed it. I’ve been saying for years that we should be practicing here at home, and we finally agreed to work together and try. I asked around for recommendations and ordered a DVD.
Tonight we fired it up. We were so keen. Keen, I tell you! We started the first pose. And then OH MY GOD it was like taking a yoga class all right. On speed. With that one Overly Competitive Student on the mat next to yours.
Lift your arms! Breathe! Bend at the waist! Lift your head! Straighten your back! Drop into that cobra-looking thing! Lift! And relax into downward-facing dog! And then return to your breath! BETWEEN EVERY POSE, WE DO THIS.
As mentioned, I had done some yoga before, but not at this speed. And not for some time. I could do it – just barely – but it was not graceful, nor did it have beautiful flow. Poor hubs, having never done yoga in his life, was totally lost.
“Oh my GOD my hamstrings!”
“Did you know I’ve never successfully touched my toes? Even as a kid?”
“What does that word mean?”
“Return to my breath? WHAT?!?”
“Why do we keep doing the dog one? Why does he keep saying relax into the dog one? THAT’S NOT RELAXING”.
Eventually we sat and just watched, hoping to get a better understanding of some of the poses. Then we tried to follow along with some of the seated poses. He did find those easier – and at least with the seated poses you can be looking at the TV screen, which is basically impossible with any standing inverted poses – but he was still struggling.
“I can’t sit like that. My balls are squished. Do I need very tight bicycle shorts like that guy’s wearing in order to hold everything out of the way?”
“Oh GOD look where his feet are.”
“Again with the toe-touching…”
And then, he broke wind. Really loudly.
I am here to tell you that nothing, NOTHING will interrupt your “mindful breathing” quicker than the person next to you letting out a trumpet blast similar perhaps to the angel’s horn on Judgment Day.
We both burst out laughing. The kind of laughing where tears stream down your face, and you can’t really breath anymore for laughing. The kind where you start shushing one another because you don’t want to wake the kids. The kind where the aforementioned World’s Laziest Dog actually bestirs himself to get up and leave the room because your lunacy is disturbing his sleep.
We managed to get ourselves under control just in time for shavasana. As we sprawled there, listening to the music and letting our shoulder blades slip into the floor, he muttered audibly “now this pose, I can do”.
We may not have done yoga. But we laughed together, and that left me just as relaxed and rejuvenated as I hoped the practice would. With a new baby in the house and other people’s kids here all day long, it’s tough sometimes to just be together. It was a fun half hour. And I daresay we’ll tackle it again (although maybe only the 10 minute version, next time).
Happy Valentine’s Day, babe. After all these years, you can still make me laugh. I love you.