Livin’ la vida yoga

By: Strickly Speaking - Kasie Strickland

Like most other women, I have a stash of yoga pants in my dresser.

I was presented with my first pair by my mother as a gift after I told her I was expecting my second son, Sam. And they were awesome.

Soft, comfortable, stretchy waistband — what’s not to love?

After Sam was born they became pajama pants and I have since added to my collection of what I affectionately refer to as my “lounge wear.”

Yoga pants are my go-to for sleep, house work and rainy days on the couch. Basically, as long as I’m not planning on leaving the house, that’s what I’m wearing.

But I had never, ever, worn them to do what they were designed for: Yoga.

Until this week.

I’ve always been intrigued by yoga but had been reluctant to try it. Basically, I thought of it as new-age hippie stuff. You know, something vegans did when they weren’t braiding each other’s hair or gazing at crystals or singing “Kumbaya” … I don’t know.

Still, despite my preconceived notions, I was determined to give it a shot and when a friend told me there was a class starting up at the Dacusville Community Center, I decided to go.

On a whim, I asked my mother-in-law if she’d like to go with me.

Plans were made, yoga mats were purchased and at 6 p.m. that night, we set off down 135 from Easley to make our 6:30 class.

Now, I should mention at this time the flyer for the class said it was “Hot Yoga.” Naively, I assumed “hot” meant it was upbeat, or trendy or (fingers crossed!) the kind of figure I could expect after regularly attending.

Nope.

That room was 95 degrees.

As if that wasn’t enough, there were these mist humidifier thingies and scented oil diffusers placed throughout the room. Basically, it was yoga in a sauna.

Determined to make the best of it, I bravely unrolled my new mat on the floor and (having never attended a yoga class before) just started copying what the people around me were doing.

You know, fake it ‘til you make it.

I should also mention with this being the first class, I assumed it was for beginners. Well, if it was, than I am in serious trouble — because I had no idea what was happening.

We began in “Child’s” pose, which is where you kind hunch down on the floor with your knees tucked under you and your arms out in front. It gives you a false sense of security because I was like, “Well, this is easy. I can totally do this.”

That would be the last time I thought those words.

Five minutes in, sweat was pouring off my brow and I was struggling to maintain my “Peaceful Warrior” pose. My mother-in-law, citing the heat, bailed on me for the comfort of the air-conditioned hallway. I didn’t blame her.

As much as I would have liked to have joined her, apparently my stubbornness outweighed my desire for cooler air temps. It wasn’t dedication that kept me in that room, it was an absolute refusal to be shown up by the tanned and toned 20-somethings around me who gracefully flowed from pose to pose.

Some poses I was OK with, others … not so much. I learned that I’m much more comfortable with my left side than my right and I’m more flexible than I had previously given myself credit for.

On the downside, I also learned I apparently have the balance of a drunk 3-year-old.

Still, I was pleased I managed to keep up with the class and although my (I can’t remember what it was called) “Something-Cheetah” pose was certainly not up to par — I still held it for the full four breaths before returning to my very acceptable Downward Facing Dog.

Progress!

As the class was ending, we were rewarded with an ice-cold, lavender scented towel that offered a welcome respite from the heat.

Leaving, I met up with my mother-in-law in the hall who looked very relieved to see me alive and promptly confessed she had been “praying for me” the whole time.

I think it helped — and I hope she keeps it up — because I’m planning on going back next week.

Namaste.

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Strickly Speaking

Kasie Strickland

Kasie Strickland is the managing editor for The Sentinel-Progress and can be reached at kstrickland@championcarolinas.com. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not necessarily represent the newspaper’s opinion.

Kasie Strickland is the managing editor for The Sentinel-Progress and can be reached at kstrickland@championcarolinas.com. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not necessarily represent the newspaper’s opinion.