Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Open Up and Say Om

My dad and my daughter engaged in a spontaneous session of yoga on Sebago lake one summer while we all looked on, not wanted to interrupt the moment to ask for a better shot.

I love yoga.

No, I mean, I really love yoga. I don’t love it like a trendy exercise you do with the ladies around town before lunching. I love it like a mistress, a sinful activity I sneak out of the house to engage in. I love it like a crime. I love it like a love song.

I don’t even wear cute workout clothes and have a fancy mat. My $5 mat came from Job Lot and my yoga pants – which I wear every single time I go to yoga class and pretty much all the time besides that – were on sale at Marshall’s for $11.99.

Having discovered yoga, blessedly, when I was 19 years old, I've been in a strange courtship ever since and I struggle to find ways to describe my love affair with yoga without sounding inauthentic or glib.

For many years, when I had nursing babies and it was difficult to escape for the 2 hours a proper yoga class demands, a trip to the studio was the only rare gift I gave myself. Lying in savasana, quiet and still at the end of class, the guilt would rush against me and I would be desperate to get home to the baby who needed me ever so slightly more than I needed that time away.

And so my practice over the years has been fleeting, but I am on a path right now, finally finding my way home.

In the time since those babies, now fresh-faced and forward-thinking real live actual children (how th F did that happen?), there have been late nights waiting for my husband to get home, without a babysitter to call on. There have been umpteen colds and viruses and mommy-don’t-leave-me’s that have tightened the leash around my being, keeping me rooted, unable to think outside the four walls of my home.

Then came soccer teams and school projects and kindergarten open houses. I almost forgot about yoga, maybe going to class sounded a little bit like a chore. Just another demand on me. No thanks.

A few weeks ago, after years and years and eons and eons of only an occasional very convenient class and some pathetic self-led sessions on the wood floors of my living room, I bit the bullet. I bought an unlimited monthly pass at Central Mass Yoga Institute and I have been attending yoga classes – HOT yoga! – 3 or 4 times a week. I even attended another friend's class through her studio in Harvard, Mass. It’s indulgent and delicious and feels somehow sinful, that I am doing something so centered around my own wellness and so…so...selfish? No, loving.

It’s difficult to deem yourself worth that time, that money, that private space. I blink only half an eye at my daughter’s monthly triple-digit TaeKwonDo tuition, yet I wrestle with myself over the cost of a single yoga pass card. I throw birthday parties, take my family out to dinner, and buy new clothes for my husband, but over the years I have systematically denied myself the luxury I have come to covet most.

No more. From now on, if you're looking for me, I'm on the mat.

For any local Central Mass residents, one of my favorite yoga teachers is leading a $5 community “Hot Power Yoga” class the next two Sundays – March 11 and 18 at 4 p.m. at their studio in West Boylston. I highly recommend giving her class a try and supporting a great cause at the same time.


  1. Have you ever read "Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses" by Claire Dederer? It is a memoir that discusses her journey through yoga as well as her marriage/kids. I loved it.