YMCA: My First Yoga Class

The yoga room is upstairs behind the cardio chamber of horrors. Silvery mirrors line one wall, and the opposite wall is entirely glass, overlooking the deep lap pool. Sunlight pours in the hazy winter windows, reflecting off the turbulent blue-green water, making undulating patterns of  light and shadow onto the high wooden beamed ceiling. I watch the patterns as I lie down on my rubber mat and take a deep breath.

It’s been at least 15 years since I’ve been in a yoga class. Lately I’ve been amazed at how many things I enjoy happened  ten or more years ago. The entire last decade has been dedicated to birthing babies and learning to be a mother. I exhale deeply as my thoughts spin out and circle near the beams above.

The teacher bounces in full of energy and friendliness, and if I kept my eyes closed, I would swear Ellen DeGeneres was talking. It’s pleasant and comfortable. The floor creaks near my head and Ellen folds herself up next to my mat and introduces herself. In a room full of thin, pretty and bendy women, I feel out of place on my mat near the water-view wall but she congratulates me for being there. Her eyes are kind and she is off like a hummingbird to the next new person.

The class begins with a traditional Vedic chant, which I haven’t heard in  years, but is especially beautiful. No matter what name human being give him, God is always God. She starts calling off asanas and I fold my body into a downward dog. I am big and bulky and clumsy, but I can do it. I can do it, and I can hold it. My t-shirt flops in my mouth and messes up my breathing, and I remember why yoga needs fitted clothes. I am not ready for fitted clothes, but I remember anyway.

My shoulders and arms are screaming, and my legs are shaking as I fold into a child’s pose. Relief. I am veiled in a thin sheen of sweat, but I feel so good. I love this. I love this so much more than counting the minutes on a treadmill. I know I need both, but I will always love this more.

Ellen then asks us to grab a person we don’t know and work partner asanas. The woman next to me introduces herself. She is a grandma, but looks 20 years younger. I compliment her sparkling eyes, and she tells me it’s yoga- and to keep coming. We link arms and do some back breathing. We spend the rest of the hour going through a series of bow poses, and my entire body is screaming with the exertion. But it feels fantastic.

Time to lie down. With a series of chimes Ellen closes the class. I open my eyes. The patterns of water and light are still dancing on the wooden beams, but my troubled thoughts have disappeared.

I was worried I hadn’t gotten a good enough work-out, but I had to grab the kids to catch Beanie’s bus. There wasn’t time to jump on a machine and get my heart-rate up. Now, thirty-six hours after the class, I shouldn’t have been worried- I am still so sore I want to cry. Good tears.

8 thoughts on “YMCA: My First Yoga Class

  1. Yay! Awesome!
    I went my first day to the Y yesterday, I lasted 10 minutes on the elliptical…today I can hardly walk! I’m excited to go back tomorrow.
    You inspire me, thank you!


  2. I want to take a yoga class. Maybe in the fall. I’m taking a weight lifting class this semester and I’m really excited about getting re-aquainted with those muscles.
    Good for you, doing something just for you is so good!!

  3. I’m constantly amazed at how hard it is for a mama to carve out time to take care of herself. I’m so proud of you!

  4. i know! that’s what’s so great about yoga–you feel so recentered and wonderful, and it’s not until later (for me, when i walk up the stairs) do you realize how much work you did. I agree w em–good for you on making the time to take care of your body and spirit.

  5. Child pose is sooo good. I think the reason I love it is because it is the restful stretch after all the hard poses. Hopefully the child pose of your life is in sight 🙂

  6. Almost three years and no other comments? I’m glad I stumbled upon this site. I am a 57 yr old Navy veteran, and a lifetime member of the YMCA through the M.O.V.E. PROGRAM at the Lebanon VA Medical center in Pennsylvania. Tracy, when I came across your comment that,”No matter what name human beings give him, God is always God”. I had to leave a comment. As a Born again Christian, and Biblical researcher, I have found numerous statements that say YOGA is of the Hindu faith. Read “Hindu Wisdom;Yoga”. The mantras you say, and the “down dog” position, are nothing more than calling upon their gods in a worship stance. No wonder the ReMin in 2000 wanted to take the “C” out of YMCA. The “C’s” should be aware of Deuteronomy 13:13. The YMCA should stay at it’s roots.It can still welcome others of different faiths.

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