Frog Yoga

Like many little girls with generous, well-intentioned parents, I was sent to dance classes. Though I’m sure they were thrilled to see me prancing around in the spangly, sequined costumes of the 80s, even Underwater Saffron Snorting would have been a better fit; my coordination, grace, and desire were absolutely nonexistent. All of my unfortunate efforts to plie, shuffle ball change and tour jete resulted in what my brother joyfully called “frog dancing.” Happily, all of my spastic movements were lovingly recorded on BetaMax, captured by some unknown parent’s unsteady hand. The videos provide further proof of my insecurity; each performance recorded during those 6 garishly costumed recitals clearly shows me with my head turned to the left, staring desperately at whichever crimpy-haired girl I was next to for the entire number, so afraid I would make the wrong move. How I managed to survive those numbers without smashing into one of them, I’ll never know.

My yoga classes now are much the same.

*** **** **** **** **** **** **** ***** **** ***** **** inhale *** *** *** one, two, three, four, five **** exhale **** *** **** ***** *** ***** ****** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** right leg **** breathe while jumping **** one, two, three, four, five *** little downward dog **** **** **** one, two, three, four, five *** **** **** **** **** hands on the waist, right foot at 45 degrees, left foot at 90 degrees **** **** **** one, two, three, four, five **** **** **** **** **** **** exhale, inhale ***** ****** ***** ***** ***** ***** exhale while jumping **** **** ***** ***** *** **** ***** relax **** ***** ***** **** **** **** ***** if it hurts, do the easy pose ***** ***** **** **** one, two, three, four, five **** ***** ****** **** downward dog **** ***** ***** ***** **** **** ***** ***** good work!

I suppose I catch the important stuff but yoga is no joke; I constantly worry that the *****’s reveal something crucial. Certainly all of the relaxation benefits are lost on me; if there are beaches we are supposed to be picturing, I am picturing torn ligaments instead. I keep my eyes on the mirrors, on the students who practice silently alongside me. I watch my face in the mirror – reddened, bloated – as I hang it upside down, parallel to my shins. I invariably choose the “easy pose” as my instructor and the other students lift their legs and torsos above their heads. I topple over each time our feet must leave the floor. Did she say left foot or right foot? I peek at my fellow students. Usually I am right. Sometimes I am too distracted by staring and lift my leg instead of my arm.

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