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I am...a New Yorker
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[Previous entry: "Understanding, But Not Condoning"]

Thursday, October 3, 2002
No Yogi, But I Tried
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Drinking...
Still not enough water.

Sweating...
And it felt good.

Quoting...
"and the rain pissed down upon me
and washed me all away."
-Nick Cave, via Fang

Hearing...
"Piano Man" cranked from a parked car on West 8th. How I adore Billy Joel's songwriting and voice.

Sirens all afternoon and wondering what it was. It's been that way for a year; that and stopping and looking when a plane flies overhead. A shooting at the U.N.

Spotting...
One gubenatorial candidate, apparently heading for the office of another.

I am...receiving all these lessons this year. Last night's was a doozy.

It was library night, the one weeknight on which my local branch was open late. Most weeks I swing by the library to return items and pick up more books, videos and DVDs. Last night I returned several overdue items I kept forgetting to take back. I know, bad library patron! I am the most forgetful person on earth, always have been.

I walked crosstown to pick up the present I painted for Fang on Friday night. Her birthday is a week from yesterday, so I really need to get it sent. Since our Christmas presents have been Russianed for over 9 months, I figure I could at least get the birthday presents to her on time. I compromised by not wrapping anything. Keep in mind that Halloween is really Fang's Christmas, so she gets two care packages this month; Christmas is more important to me than to her.

But I digress...(which, incidentally, should be the name of this journal sometimes).

As I passed the candle store and noticed, out of the corner of my eye, that the layout was different. I backtracked and walked in. Turns out the rear 2/3 of the store was converted to a yoga room. I looked around for a bit and the owner mentioned that there was a free yoga session just starting.

I've always been curious about yoga, but never got around to trying it. I really regretted not going up into the mosque on September 11th, because exploring different forms of worship has long been on my list. I wasn't raised with an agenda. Rafe asked why I was at the mosque, as if I was only there because of him (when, again, I'd invited him) and I was there for my own curiosity.

I didn't let this new opportunity pass me by. I took off my sandals and went in. The instructor welcomed me, introduced herself and began to explain the exercises we'd be doing. The focus of the exercises was prosperity, which is certainly something I need to attract into my life at the moment. I'm catching up from those months of unemployment, but I could use a few freelance editing, writing or web projects by years end to get me through the pinch.

During the first exercise, we chanted "har," which means "God" or "creator." There is a slight rolling of the r at the end, which made it sound, to me, like "hard." I found this both frustrating and amusing. Frustrating because it was indeed hard for me to coordinate my breathing, speaking and movement. In a later exercise, we were to do all of this, plus keep our eyes closed but focused on the third eye. I found this nearly impossible.

Funny, because here I was doing a form of exercise that is so much about focussing one's mind and I was not only having difficulty doing that, but also kept hearing the chant as something negative. Obviously, that's not conducive to the positive energy flow the exercise was meant to promote.

Actually, that exercise wasn't the really har one. There was one in which we waved our arms over our heads, fingers open, arms crossing each other alternately. It was only 3 minutes, but my arms began to burn and then went numb about halfway through. I pushed myself past the 2 minute mark, sweat beading on my brow.

My legs were asleep by that time and I kept going. I put my arms down briefly during the last 30 seconds, but I'd pushed and pushed myself further than I had in a long time. I know 3 minutes sounds like nothing, but the exercises were intense, plus the chanting. It felt like more of a workout than I get with hand weights and not just for my arms, but my entire body.

One of the pre-tax benefits at my job is a gym membership and I've been debating about signing up once I'm eligible in January. It is expensive, but will help lower my income, so I can qualify for low-income housing.

In the meantime, I'm going to try some meditation and yoga classes, something I'd been thinking about since a Time Out cover story about a month ago. Oddly enough, I had free gym membership at the old job, but I rarely had the time or energy and the last thing I wanted was to spend more time in that building.

I was reminded that I don't so much hate exercise, as dread injuring myself yet again. Between the abuse and many silly injuries over the years, I've come to regard my body as a vessel of pain. Although my arms and legs registered discomfort last night, I pushed myself and felt all the better for it and not just for the endorphins.

[Next entry: "Remembering Parts"]
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Replies: 2 comments

Not all yoga involves so much chanting. :) I agree with you though; the chanting kind of yoga (and from what I can tell of the exercises you have described) is (in my opinion anyways) the hardest form. So if you got through it, you're one up on me. My first class in that style, I ended up laying on the ground for the last 1/3. But, the class WAS two hours...

Posted by Erica @ 10/04/2002 05:51 PM EST

Thanks for the info. It was just sort of a fluke -- walking in off the street like that. This wasn't a beginner's class and I'd done nothing to warm up.

I DO like the idea of doing things aimed at mind, body and spirit and also that are low-impact. I've injured my knees and ankles in many falls, twists and silly accidents over the years, so running and competitive sports are not the place for me to start. The activities I'd had in mind were yoga and swimming.

Nice links of blogging Ericas, by the way!

Posted by Erica (I'mEricaOnline) @ 10/06/2002 10:43 AM EST

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