So upset that I can’t even think of a good yoga pun, or “My White Girl Problem of the Century”
by Heidi Obermeyer
I just got done with my first ever yoga class outside of Colorado, as well as my first one in over a year. My how the time flies! Things I expected: I expected some Om’s, I expected to swing between excited to be on a mat and extremely depressed that I’m not nearly as flexible as when I was doing this more than three times a week in the summer of 2011, and I expected to see a sudden concentration of all the new age people of the Triangle area suddenly appear before my eyes. Something along the lines of this, just in a studio:
Like, oh my goddess. I was so excited. I just wanted to breathe in that hippie vibe, reach for my inner peaceful region, and just, like, totally go with it man.
On a side note, when I went looking for the above video, I also found this little gem. I am still all over Shit [blank] Say videos. So sue me. It’s maybe my favorite internet trend that has ever happened and I am not going to get tired of it for many moons yet.
Anyway, back to my yoga problems. Ugghhhhhh! The sadness! The disappointment! I will try and continue the story without losing what little inner peace I found in the last hour and a half of my life.
So I got myself together and decided that I was going to go to yoga (FINALLY) in Chapel Hill. I’ve been living here for 2 months or something (wow, that’s going by fast!) and it was time to get back into my exercise groove. I’ve been attempting to run, but after going back to Colorado and then to DC I was not feeling the jogging today, especially since I may or may not have eaten basically an entire half a container of chocolate covered almonds as
dinner snack. Running just wasn’t in the cards. Walking while flipping through my Spotify playlists searching for that pump-up “perfect track” (read: none of my tracks) maybe, but anything resembling self-motivated exercise was out of the question. It was yoga time. I especially love the last part of yoga classes where you’re not doing anything but lying there thinking about life. Indeed, this cartoon is an accurate representation of my thoughts during that final 5 minutes:
Lots of times when you’re a new student yoga studios say, “Hey girl! We saw you eyein’ our studio and you are totes invited to come and try a free class/week/backrub, so long as you someday agree to pay us over $90 a month for an unlimited membership that you will not use to the fullest after the free stuff’s over!” I was out looking for that special studio in my life. You know, one that would always be there through thick and thin, the one to charge my credit card and guilt me into going, even when I don’t want to take 2 showers today. It’s real love with this activity, I’m telling ya. I basically googled yoga in Chapel Hill and went to one of the first results that had an offer something like this.
Really quickly, let’s just go over a list of things I want out of my yoga experience:
1. I want my instructor to be so flexible and in shape that I will never achieve their level of fitness and oneness with the universe. Aka, their washboard abs should look better than the cover of the nearest fitness magazine and they should constantly be walking around either shirtless or in an interestingly-patterned sports bra to show me that I will never be like them. Putting me in my place is a good thing here. Let’s get my ridiculously high expectations out of the way before I even get onto the mat.
2. Ideally, said instructor should also have some sort of phsyical appearance that totally trumps any coolness levels I may ever be able to reach, probably via a huge back tattoo or one of those haircuts where half their head is shaved. Something that will make it so they can never work as anything but a yoga teacher or a cashier at Whole Foods when they’re not throwing pots in their in-home studio to sell at the farmer’s market.
3. I like my yoga hot’n’heavy. Okay, not like hot yoga hot necessarily, but my opinion is that if the room I’m doing yoga in isn’t any different from my living room besides the inspirational quotes you’ve scribbled on the walls then I might as well spend my $90 a month on a bunch of videos and namasté where I can take 10 steps and be in the shower afterwards. Just sayin’. This also applies to mirrors, so I can loathe my body for the first week of practicing and then admire how manly and strong my quads are becoming for every week thereafter. Massive quads from yoga? Check. Actually, extra check. Anything resembling upper body strength or tone? Somehow never.
4. As I mentioned above, I want mirrors. I lit-rally cannot see what I’m doing incorrectly if the only thing in my line of vision is the old mom in front of me going through a midlife health crisis but also skipping every less-than-easy pose. That’s just demoralizing. If I’m at least pretending to be holding up my own weight, then you can do! I believe!
5. As an amendment to the aforementioned super sporty instructor, I would also like at least 2 people in the class to be signficantly better at yoga than me. They are there to give me hope that one day, I too can be a super yogi and show off my rockin’ bod to a bunch of jealous and slightly out-of-shape college-aged people who don’t have the time or funds to attend class as often as I, as an old/employed person, am privileged to do. Take that, future people younger than me. You are now my grasshoppers.
6. This probably goes along with the whole heated room thing, but I would also like to get so sweaty during my yoga class that only 100% humidity on a 90 degree day would produce a similar level of disguistingness. This, of course, would probably not even take that much, because I sweat like a male marathon runner at the first sign of any exercise. Yoga is both for getting stretchy and for clearing out my pores.
7. In addition to their athleticism and hippie grace, instructors should also offer some words of wisdom at the beginning or end of class that somehow relates to everyone’s life. Like a personal story or a quote from the Dalai Lama about not hating China even though they took his country. Ideally, this would probably relate to something equally as serious in my life, such as not being able to find store brand coconut milk at Harris Teeter’s when I wanted to make curry yesterday.
These are things that I want in my yoga studio. And I don’t think that they’re too much to ask. Chapel Hill, I beseech you- where hast thou hid all thy sorority girls who attend yoga classes to tone their booties? Thy dreadlocked men, whose sweat would gross out even the most seasoned yogi? Bring me your directionless twentysomethings who have completed teacher training so that I can go to class at 9 pm, and make that class just full enough that I get a sense of camaraderie but mustn’t fear the awkward grazing of another’s hand when doing some weird lying down pose!
In conclusion, I don’t feel like I’m looking for much when I go searching for a few misplaced hippies in a college town to exercise with. Let this, ye wanderlust hippies, be thein call to arms- go forth, and make tons of money teaching really good yoga in a town that is not already completely saturated with excellent yoga, like a little enclave in the foothills of the Rockies called Boulder. You must venture out from your medical marijuana caves and season ski passes, and come forth to rescue the rest of us who have been forced to leave the bubble. I beg you, save me from this sad, yoga-less existence. I hear the pay ain’t half bad.
And after all that…
I guess this means that I’m going for a run tomorrow.