When I walked into my Health Biology class last Friday I didn’t expect much more than the usual sit-and-pretend-I’m-paying-attention that I usually participate in from 9-9:50. Don’t be fooled by my pretentious capitalization of Biology, I’m not a science major. This is one of those classes where no one wants to be there and the teacher knows it. All the tests are take home, we have fill in note sheets. It’s more like a 6th grade English class except with less talking. Virtually no talking. Actually, besides the hunky silent-type athletic guy in the back of my class, I can’t confidently say I even know any of my classmates’ names. So anyway, when my professor said Friday would be spent as a “relaxation day” in Valerie-speak that means, “Sit in silence, think of food, leave class.” So thanks for the free points Professor So-and-So! You would think by now I would know how off my women’s intuition is. The last time I had a correct instinct about anything was when I called Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens breakup. And that was more the wishful-thinking-so-it-will-come-true kind of thing.
So now that it’s established that I’m delusional college student with no aptitude for predicting the future, let’s continue to explore the world of my idiocy. So I walk the overly long distance to the classroom above the fitness center. If I had any foresight at all I would have known that the proximity to the fitness center was a serious omen. I mean, I tend to mentally censor the word fitness from most sentences. Which come to think of it, the distances between classes may be so long as the school’s passive aggressive way to make us exercise. (And PAY for it. I PAY to walk approximately 10 minutes to every class. Oh, America)
So I enter this small-mirrored room. If you’ve ever entered a room with mirrored walls and feel anything like me, you can’t stand the repeated reflection of that heifer staring back at you. Mirrored rooms: destroying self-esteem and motivating private exercise since the beginning of time! I grab a purple yoga mat, which is about as thin as my nerves at this point. I sit down as the room starts to fill up and suddenly the lights go out. I am beginning to understand what it feels like in those cheap horror movies when you know something bad is going to happen but it’s too late to turn back now.
There are Christmas lights hanging from the ceiling and marimba and maraca music playing from who-knows-where. When my professor enters and places her mat in front of us I am immediately rethinking the stylish, albeit long, grey maxi skirt stretching to my ankles. There are 3 key regrets from this yogaxperience (how I will heretofore refer to the yoga debacle) I’ll start with the most awkward and excel to the most laughable. If the goal was to give me abs induced by laughter: achieved.
1. The Howling Cat
I am not including this solely because of the reference to cats. It’s a primary yoga pose. I call them poses because they are motions only doable by the women on America’s Next Top Model because they are the only ones with limbs long enough. With hands and feet planted on the ground and rear end directly facing the sky, you move your head up and toward the ceiling as slowly and agonizingly as possible. Never did I think my love of felines and my hatred of ridiculous exercise would be molded into one embarrassing activity. But there’s a first time for everything.
2. Put My Leg Where?
Contrary to the way I talk about it, I am relatively fit. I eat pretty well and am more flexible than the average Walmart employee. So when I’m in my floor length skirt and my professor says lift your left leg vertically above your head, I start to rethink my boycott of high school sports. It’s not until you are forced to put your leg above your head for a grade that you start to honestly assess your priorities. In that moment, my number one priority of becoming Brad and Angelina’s nanny was knocked down to number two with “get my leg to the floor as soon as possible” taking the first place.
3. Guided Imagery
I’m a speech person. I can always go for a delicately crafted guided imagery story. You are floating in outer space, you are sleeping in a field of daffodils, you are playing Monopoly and not being bored to death. That kind of thing. So anyway when we get to the actual relaxation part of this yogaxperience, I’m thinking, “Cool, we get to lay here and take a mini nap while listening to xylophones.” There I go again, thinking I have this keen sense of the future. Just when I start to get comfortable (as comfortable as one can be on one of those parchment paper mats) she does it. With the soothing voice of someone who’s participated in one too many Pilates classes, she starts her guided imagery. While lying on a hardwood floor where countless other bodies have lain, besides “There’s a rat in here!”, the last thing you want to hear is, “Now place your body in corpse position.” Since I’m fairly confident that most bodies in that position are actually dead, I immediately felt the opposite of relaxed. But when, to this room packed with corpse-like bodies hears the professor say, “You are lying on a beach. The sand beneath your back. You’re staring up at the sky and hearing the tide come in.” This does two things to me. First, instead of making me feel like I am in the Caribbean, it simply makes me wish I was in the Caribbean, making the floor feel harder and the practice more ridiculous. Second, makes me think that if I have to be a corpse, at least I’m a corpse with a nice tan.