I fought the floor and the floor won.
But I digress…
This morning, I showed up at the studio to be greeted by a guy with a serious camera and “We are filming a video today. Sorry for any inconvenience.” signs taped all over. As that camera followed my backside across the entry way to check in, I really hoped that that side of my body was red carpet ready, because it was definitely getting the treatment. I checked in as quickly as I could, grateful that the crew seemed set up in the front of the club and that they weren’t going to be filming the yoga class.
Still, if there’s anything I have learned in this life, it’s to take nothing for granted. There was a little voice giggling in my head. It told me to run far, run fast. I ignored it.
Following through with my desire to attempt a more difficult class, I signed up for “Mindful Flow.” Years of yoga practice has taught me that anything that sounds innocuous usually isn’t, and this class is no exception. This is a lot of strength movement(the flow part) done incredibly slowly (the mindful part). Kind of like if Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger decided to teach Yin Yoga together. In short, it resembles something that is done to either Navy Seals or prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
It is, essentially, a beautifully choreographed march through hell.
And 24 women sign up twice a week to do it. They grunt, groan, some cry, and yet they hold these poses. Anyone who calls us the weaker sex is full of it. At any point, you can find at least a third of the class in less strength oriented positions. By the end you can find more than a couple curled up on the floor in child’s pose. All in all, it’s a wonderful class.
I got there early, and found a spot against the back wall. I always choose a wall position. It can aid in balance, and often a teacher will want the class to work with legs up the wall. I like to plan ahead so I don’t need to move my mat in the mad dash for wall space. I found my place and all was well.
Or so I thought.
The first idea that I got that everything was not copasetic was the sound of heavy equipment banging and crashing outside the door. Then the cameraman lumbered in and asked if it would be ok to film the class. About half the class agreed and about half the class looked like they wanted to disappear. I was never more grateful to be in the back. But distance wasn’t enough, I learned, as he picked up the camera and aimed it right at me. Or so it seemed.
I resigned myself to an hour of sweating on video.
If only it were that simple.
We did a derivation of just every strength pose available. We saluted the sun (complete with Vinyasa), we were warriors–both free and bound, we were Eagles, chairs, you name it. I only wobbled off the mat once. I did not fall, just lost my footing on that pesky ankle and needed to take another step out. All in all, I held my own in a class that was so difficult that two folks left halfway through.
Until we got to the inversions. Instead of doing a deep lunge, I noticed the bent armed frogstand (aka, Bakasana, or the crow pose) my neighbor was doing. It looked so easy. So, of course I had to try it.
And it was totally simple. I stacked my wrists under my shoulders, bent my elbows, brought my open knees up and dropped those knees over those elbows like magic. My body was born to do this pose. I held victorious, suspended, in yoga wizardry. Just like a bird. Right up until the moment that my body decided that it couldn’t fly; that this pose was too simple and that I must be doing it wrong. As I tried to adjust a fully functional center of gravity forward, it happened…
Head first and thunk. That’s right. Faceplant. On the hardwood floor. Because I was too far forward on the mat. As my two nearest neighbors gasped. And the cameras ran.
Yep. I live for days like this…
I quickly moved back into a less lethal position and finished the class. Because it was so crowded and I was in the very back, only two people knew that I was the one who fell. Well, two people and a cameraman. With a camera. Oy.
Long story short, I have a little blue spot on my right cheekbone and a silly putty egg sized swelling above my right brow. Fortunately, my bangs will cover it until it heals. Until then, I have it to remind me that, in yoga, as in life, when something works and doesn’t hurt, then don’t “fix,” it. Because it’s not broken. Because I can fly. But something might really break if I mess with it. And that something might be my head.
Oh, and I spoke to the folks in charge of the video and was assured that my fall wouldn’t be on the final cut. As I said, Cali people are just nice people. I am very grateful. But if they had insisted on releasing it, I wouldn’t have minded too much.
Because, when you’re a redhead, it’s go big or go home.
Thanks for reading.