Thursday, July 8, 2010

day 31: i put my foot behind my head

I have never been one to plan or consider consequences. Instead I sort of shrug and think "we'll see how this turns out" before staying up until 3 a.m. drinking a bottle of wine and drunk-dialing everyone I know, climbing to the upper branches of a tree in the park, or eating leftover Indian food before spin class.

And since I'm about to turn 28, an event about which I am irrationally terrified, I have a feeling this tendency toward extremes is just a part of my nature. Sure, it leads to some pretty fantastic mistakes, but it also leaves me with endless opportunities to surprise myself.

Yesterday I decided to walk the five miles from my apartment to my office. Five miles really isn't that far, though in a place like KC where everyone drives everywhere all the time, people tend to both worry about your safety and assume you're crazy when you tell them you're going to walk from Midtown to Brookside. 

And in my case they might have good reason, because instead of my brand-new $80 hiking shoes I decided to make the trip wearing flip-flops. Sure, they were the fancy Orthaheel kind that are supposed to be good for your feet, but about 2.5 miles in I began to suspect, like the bad guy who turns to dust after picking the wrong Jesus goblet in Indiana Jones, that I had not chosen wisely. But it was too late to turn back, so despite the protests of my toes I sucked it up and finished the trek.

And it was fine. Six months ago before I became an exercise junkie it would not have been fine, but yesterday evening I still felt good enough to go to yoga class at Scott Fitness.

Bernie is the only yoga instructor who has not terrified me. He wants students to push themselves, but he is encouraging instead of threatening, and instead of staying at the front of the room balancing on one hand with his feet in his armpits while telling you you're doing it wrong, he gently helps you correct your mistakes.

After six months of going to his class fairly regularly, I am more comfortable with the rules of yoga, similar to when I learned the rules of baseball and suddenly knew what to do without thinking about it. An inherent knowledge of the rules has allowed me to transcend them, in a way, and experience a greater sense of freedom and enjoyment while seeing how closely I can get my body to resemble a pretzel.

So when, after a series of preparatory poses, Bernie encouraged me to put my foot behind my head, I totally fucking did it. And it was awesome. I didn't know my body could do that; even as a kid, when, as Bernie says, we routinely did crazy-ass yoga poses without even knowing it, I could never get my foot behind my head or do the splits (god knows I tried).

self-illustration of yoga

So in the spirit of eating too many jalapenos, cutting your hair yourself, flipping off every cop and drinking from every geyser, and genrally being extreme in a good way, namaste.

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