On spending yesterday afternoon exercising

Six o’clock this morning, in bed. LISA and ERIK stir and begin to WAKE UP.
LISA: I dreamed I was roasting chicken and BBQ brisket, and eating little bits of the meat.
ERIK: I dreamed I was making waffles.
LISA: Really?
ERIK: Mm hmm.
LISA: Were they good waffles?
ERIK: I don’t think I got to taste them.
LISA: We must have gone to bed hungry.

There’s not a single muscle group on my body that’s not sore, except for my face. This is what comes of doing nearly five hours of yoga and dance the day before! One of my yoga studios, Precious Life Wellness Village, had an open house: $15 for up to five forty-five-minute classes, all in one afternoon, with nine to choose from. I may have been the only person who did all five: Auberon (pronounced like in Shakespeare), one of the yoga teachers, told me I was “a rockstar.”

I began with two vigorous yoga classes, Lorien’s vinyasa flow class (I know of no stretches more intense than her psoas stretches!) and something called Power Dub Step. You’d think two forty-five-minute yoga classes would be easier than one ninety-minute (my usual), but actually they’re harder, because you have to do the standing poses twice. Both classes did Suryanamaskar (sun salutations) with lots of chaturanga, and both did vasisthasana, which is one of the most strength-intensive basic poses. By the end of the second class, my face towel was soaked and I was ready to take a break, but when I heard Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” coming from Atreau‘s class, I had to go in. He was going to teach us MJ-style footwork, but since none of us had brought real shoes, he changed the program (damn! damn!!) — but we had so much fun, I’m *almost* not sorry. The members of the class were two dance teachers, a yoga teacher, another student and me… doing Jamaican dancehall dances: Willie Bounce, Tek Weh Yuself, and something else that I think (but the internet apparently doesn’t) was called Summer House. We faced a mirror the entire time but I still don’t really know what I looked like — I challenge you to watch those videos and try to imagine me doing the dances — but it was amazingly cool. We were all a little giggly and happy by the end, even the two dance teachers, who — of course — were fabulous.

After Atreau’s class I thought, what the heck, and just stayed till the end. I went to Qigong Dance, an interesting class taught alternately by a dancer and a qigong teacher. The calming tai-chi exercises were sooooo welcome at this point, and the dance prepared me for the next class, Silvestre Technique. Silvestre is a Brazilian dance technique based on ballet, modern, and Orixa mythology. The class made me feel like I was back in Graham classes because there were all these contractions! We did some exercises — lots of hand and arm gestures and some pliés — and then a bit of choreography, which I was surprised to find I could follow. I may try this class again sometime.

Being around lots of dancers again made me feel fat for the first time in months. We were standing in the Silvestre class facing the mirror and the tiny tiny teacher, and I could see that I was the biggest person there — biggest and roundest, since everyone else seemed to be stick-shaped with no boobs. These days, thankfully, I don’t usually feel like a huge person anymore, but in that classroom I really did. I gazed at my reflection and thought, “Is that me? Am I really that bulgy, is my waist really so shapelessly enormous, are my thighs truly so vast?” It’s hard to feel ashamed when one is having a good time and moving and keeping up better than some of the really skinny girls, but I did have a niggling anxious feeling which persisted till I got home. Then, as I showered and gently lotioned my tired muscles, I suddenly thought: “How dare I disparage this body when it has worked so hard and done so much for me all day!” So that’s where I am now: uncomfortably aware that there are still people and situations that can make me feel like a giant lump, but proudly determined to love and uphold respect for my body regardless of these. And hey, even if I looked like this when everyone else was like this, we both got statues!

After my shower, I was so exhausted that in spite of being ravenous I only ate one bowl of dinner. Then I spoke some words that have never before left my lips in this order: “I’m too tired to eat.” We went to bed at 8:30, and that’s how I come to be up this morning at 6!