“Hi, excuse me. Are you Theresa?”
“Hi, I’m Allie. You the instructor, right?”
“Yes! Nice to meet you. Is this your first time doing Pilates?”
“I tried Yogalates once. It was hard! I’m super inflexible, it’s a problem.”
“That’s OK! This class will be more about our core, anyway, but just go at your own pace with the stretches. That’s why we’re here – to get better.”
“Oh, thank goodness. I swear, Theresa, this class had me trippin. Thought you was gonna be all up in my jock, mad cause I couldn’t stretch it out.”
I had this conversation Monday afternoon, 15 minutes before my first Pilates class. I had gone early to meet with the instructor and tell her about my disflexability. Theresa had made me feel better; she knew I was stiff, and she was willing to roll widdit.
By the time the rest of the class had showed up and we got started, I was feeling good. Though I knew it’d hurt, I also knew it was good for me. The first move Theresa had us do was a warm-up stretch. She had us sit with our legs sticking straight out and our backs perfectly erect. Then we had to reach our arms out and lean forward, making sure our backs and legs stayed straight. Everyone in the class seemed to be handling the position just fine.
I was dying.
I am the stiffest person I know. When I tell people I can’t bend over and touch my toes, they say, “It’s just because you have long legs.” No it ain’t, mofo.
Just because I’m tall doesn’t mean I have long legs. I actually have disproportionately short legs. I’m approximately one-half torso, one-quarter neck, and only one-quarter legs. If anything, my goonly torso should make it easier to touch my toes. It don’t.
So, while I struggled with the simple warm-up stretch during Pilates class, I noticed that good, sweet Theresa kept on looking in my direction. I thought she would offer encouragement secretly directed toward me. Instead, trick started laughing.
“This isn’t supposed to be the hard part, Allie! Everyone, look. Look how dumb Allie is. That girl right there, with the red shirt and goonly torso. Look!”
And that’s exactly what everyone did. They looked at how dumb I was, and they all started laughing.
Fitness classes generally go this way for me. In college, I tried out Butts and Guts and Yogalates. I had to stop going because the instructor got too pissed at me. Every time I tried a move and messed up the form, the instructor would come over, yell at me, and yank my limbs into the right position.
Last winter I signed up for a 30-day trial at a bikram yoga place in Portland. Bikram yoga is 90 minutes of yoga poses in a 105-degree room. Imagine contorting your body in painful ways for 90 minutes, while breathing in hot, butt-flavored jungle air. That’s bikram yoga.
Surprisingly, it’s not that awful. I mean, it’s the worst thing in the world, but after it’s done you feel like you just did something good for yourself. You feel like Bill Murray at the end of Osmosis Jones. You know, right when he’s about to die and his daughter cries into his mouth and Osmosis Jones the white blood cell gets swept away in her tears and he carries the hypothalamus chromosome back to Bill Murray’s hypothalamus and saves his life.
That’s what bikram yoga feels like. Like all the sweat you just sweated saved your hypothalamus. Probably Bill Murray’s hypothalamus, too. I like that feeling.
What I don’t like is when yoga instructors step all over my bidnass. And by my bidnass, I mean me. I don’t like it when yoga instructors step all over me during the middle of class. They seem to do it a lot.
During my 30-day trial at the bikram place, I only saw one other yoga-goer get treaded upon, and only one time, but I got stepped during almost every class. The instructors would walk right over to me and start dancing jigs on my feet and legs. I’ve done some Googling on the matter, and I haven’t found any explanation for it. Alls I know is that fitness classes ain’t for me. It’s sad, really, considering my aspirations as a child.
(Warning: Actually, this is actually the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever shared on this blog. Who would’ve known that whoa-ing lessons could be so mortifying?)
In case you don’t have Shazam, the song I’m singing during the dance routine is Lil Kim’s “The Jump Off.”