Costa Rica Prep: Yoga
On Friday we leave for Costa Rica. I’m looking forward to finding pura vida through massage, hot springs, yoga and surfing. My expectation is that any cellulite I might currently have from crawling the craft brewery scene on weekends (and the occasional weeknight) will magically disappear through a lack of stress and daily fresh juices. To prep for my new zenned out lifestyle, I started going to yoga, thankfully through a free pass from a friend.
Class “C1” for all levels would be my first class. I never know how intense yoga studios will be, so I like to ease into their beginner class and see where that leads. Slightly less intense than I was expecting, we paused throughout the class for the instructor to show us different moves with the correct posture.
I thought, “I could do C2”, so the next night after work that I was available, I headed to the studio for “C2”. Now, for my first class, a towel was provided free of charge as a courtesy. But for any other class, a towel would be $1. I had forgotten to pack one, but am too cheap to pay $1 to rent a towel (even when my yoga is free, or perhaps especially when my yoga is free), so I entered the class with my yoga mat and water bottle. The instructor mentioned that the back of the class is hotter, so I set up shop as close to the front as possible. Being raised in Minnesota, my body possesses limited tolerance for heat.
With a whir, the black tubes overhead filled with air and heat started to blow down on me through little holes in the canvas. I looked around and saw people stretching, deeply breathing this hot, suffocating air in. Since I go to yoga to get stretched out, I didn’t feel a need to stretch before class started.
We started on our backs and after a handful of forward bends and halfway lifts, sweat began to drip down my face. With a damp hand I attempted to wipe away the large drops that were beginning to drip into my eyes, taking with them pigments from my mascara. My face a tomato, and my eyes starting to look like the devil from irritation, we twisted and turned and stretched and hugged our knees into our chest. With each downward dog, I looked more and more like someone from the underworld. The light makeup that I wear to work stained my face so unattractively I resembled an ugly crying Kim K. My raccoon eyes looked down to my cotton leggings only to find they had turned into something resembling an ink blot test. No perfect butterflies to be found in their pattern, simply a personal perplexion as to why certain areas of my legs soaked through while others (much smaller in size) remained almost dry. I tried to return to my intention of “peace”, but as it became harder and harder to see, all I could think was “eyes”.
By the end of the class I couldn’t down dog at all because my pruney hands slipped in the puddles of sweat at the front of my mat anytime I tried to put pressure on them. Despite being a hot mess, I folded up my mat after our “namastes” ready to return for another class thinking my only barriers to a true yogi experience were a towel and makeup remover.
Cue Monday and plans with the friend that had given me the two week free pass. We planned to participate in another “C2” class and this time I was prepared. I wore stretch shorts instead of stretch pants. I took my makeup off before class. I brought a beach towel for my mat and a hand towel for my face. I had water. I even stretched a bit before class started. As we ramped up, I felt strong. The beads of sweat that grew all over my body messaged to me that I was working hard, toxins were leaving my body. And then after core, during our twists and back stretches, I started to feel a bit nauseous. Hating to be the one to not be able to complete a pose, I pushed through for a little while, trying the easier modifications to help me catch my breath and regain composure. The only problem was that any time we stood up, I started to get all woozy – little black dots invading my vision. Child’s pose. As embarrassing as it is to go into child’s pose when everyone else is doing standing stretches, it would have been worse to pass out. As they switched sides, I tried to join in again, only to find that I was still lightheaded. Back to child’s pose. I sat in child’s pose for a good twenty minutes until essentially the end of class, participating only when the poses were close to the ground. The teacher closed with “gratitude that your body is strong enough to practice yoga”, and then added, almost as if reading my mind, “gratitude that you showed up, even if your body is not.”
Not wanting to walk home in booty shorts, I changed into running tights, which was a struggle since my body was weeping sweat. I rolled each leg up like I would a pair of tights and inched them up my thighs. The rear ended up being the biggest struggle and I had to leave with saggy pants only because they wouldn’t go any higher until I cooled down and shrunk back to my normal size. Too lazy and scared to attempt to gracefully remove my lulu lemon top, I put the flowy cotton long sleeved shirt that I had worn to work over my tank and called it a day. Within a couple minutes my work top was sending subliminal messages to the world through its own ink blot patterns.
After I got home, I put in a frozen pizza and cracked open a beer. I earned it, I told myself. Or is that not how pura vida works?