I finally made it to the gym! I’m giving myself extra-credit for going in the evening, after a long day and just as the icy snow started to fall and mess up the streets. It’s much more difficult to get it together and go when I had no intention of joining a gym in the first place. Peer pressure to join and guilt about not joining and letting my body continue to expand at its current, consistent rate of growth. It’s not pretty. Even less pretty is the reflection of my body in the mirror just before the hot yoga class I took.
Body image issues? Absolutely. Who doesn’t have issues? That’s a rhetorical question. If you don’t have body image issues, you don’t need to share. Overall, I do think I have an objective view of myself. I’m not fat, but I’ve got a few extra non-muscular (read pure fat) pounds insulating me this winter, and I’m way out of shape. I’m 40. I’ve carried and birthed two kids. But beyond the excuses, there is the fact that I eat a lot and I’m not very active. Sadly, I haven’t yet determined what, if anything, I am going to do with all that junk-all that junk inside my trunk.
People don’t always see me as the walking pear that I am because I’ve got a little head. I know it sounds funny, but it’s true. A small head is as thinning as wearing black. That same optical illusion makes me appear taller, as well. I also look good in hats though I can’t usually find hats that will fit my unusually small head, and I am prone to hat-head. Shame.
I catch myself in the wall mirror of the studio. My belly is cascading over my workout shorts as I sit in Sukhasana Pose-or as anyone with pre-school children knows is really Criss-Cross-Apple Sauce Position. My tummy is a peculiar kind of soft. It’s beyond flabby. Basically, the only thing that’s keeping my fat from oozing out of my stomach is the layer of skin encasing it. Delightful.
The room is warm but not as hot as I anticipated it would be. In the Before Children Era (BCE), I took Bikram Yoga classes. The room was 110 degrees, and the class kicked my ass for 90 minutes. After every class, I felt completely rejuvenated, detoxified and strong. I hoped that this class would give me a similar feeling.
The room was not that hot. Strike One. The class would be an hour long as opposed to the 90 minute Bikram class. Strike Two. The instructor was, like the room, not so hot. I don’t mean that she wasn’t attractive. Not my type, but she was fine. I just mean that she wasn’t very good. She didn’t help any of us correct or improve our poses or talk to us about the benefits each pose was supposed to offer. She just kind of did her thing. Strike Three. But wait, there’s more, and it’s going to make me look bad. But hey, when has that ever stopped me? I couldn’t get past the instructor’s Jersey accent. As we sat in easy pose preparing for the session, she asked us to close our eyes and “rid ourselves of distracting thu-wauts. Try to focus on your breathe and not on the thu-wauts of the day”. What? I should rid myself of distracting thu-wauts? You mean like, “How can I relax when this woman keeps saying ‘thu-wauts?”
Throughout the class, I had to keep my mind off of other distracting thu-wauts, like “How many times does the guy on the next mat have to accidentally brush my extended arm before I can be sure he’s touching me on purpose. Ew.” “I’m so glad I didn’t have to pay extra for this class.” “I really need a pedicure.” The only thing worse than trying to suppress these thu-wauts was the horror of downward dog and all other positions that forced my belly to succumb to gravity and dangle off of my body and reach for the floor. I had nowhere else to look but at the pendulous mass attached to my midriff. I tried to adjust my waistband – hiking it up to hold my stomach in place. A temporary solution at best. In those moments, I swore off chocolate and chips, and I vowed to come to the gym on a regular basis, but I’ve already surrendered to chocolate Chanukah gelt.
My tummy wasn’t the only traitorous body part. I’m just not as taught as I used to be – anywhere. The combination of birthing children and foregoing my Kegel exercises makes sneezing and yoga dangerous activities. There are all sorts of charming phrases referring to the air that is expelled out of the lady-bits during yoga or sex or hanging upside down on trapezes. (I’ve only heard tell about the trapezes. Really!) My favourite of the many terms is “queef”. I think it sounds French, n’est ce pas? And while others figure out their drag queen names by pairing the name of their first pet with the name of the road of their childhood home (mine being Mitzie Rosemary), I prefer the name Queef Latina. Admittedly, I have spent too much time thinking about it.
I made it through the class with only a few beads of sweat to show for it. There were some poses that were challenging, and I know I did benefit from the class. It was no Bikram, but it was helluvalot better than sitting at home eating chocolate. I’ll give it another go with a different instructor and see how I feel. In the meantime, I’m definitely going to do more Kegels, and I’m not going to eat anymore Chanukah gelt….because I ate it all.