Prepare for Cobra
Ok, so that isn’t a photograph of a cobra, but it’s the closest thing I had on hand. I guess I was no more prepared to post a photo of a cobra than I was to execute the cobra yoga pose last night. And yoga (along with some other things) is what this post is all about. The photo is rather apt, however, seeing as it’s a cookie I baked (a squirrel with white chocolate monster fangs, clutching a stolen marshmallow heart) and cookies are another thing this post is about.
Once upon a time, I boasted an excellent lifestyle, including yoga five or six evenings a week, mostly at home in my dollhouse-size living room and once or twice at V.’s excellent class across town. Then came summer, and with it a string of evenings so gorgeous the BBQ called, casting its voice over the sound of my creaking joints, utterly drowning them out. All day I sat indoors at a desk, and while the sun shone brightly into mid-evening, I chose lounging over steak and white wine instead of stretching peacefully on a rubber mat. That clack clack clack sound? Oh, that’s nothing, just my spine telescoping into itself from all the desk-hunching.
Further compounding my yoga aversion, in harvest season, each Tuesday I pick up a CSA vegetable share, the drop-off location exactly one block from my home, and exactly thirty blocks from the yoga studio, affording me exactly ten minutes to cycle uphill, fridge the veg, then get to yoga on time. After three weeks of this pace, I realised I was winding myself up just getting to yoga class, and needed the hour to bring myself back down again, effectively ending up in the same uptight condition as before I attempted to go to class to stretch and let go of my day.
Add to this a week at a cottage where I tanned myself a reckless shade of fawn, a flat bicycle tire, and another cottage trip. That time, there was less tanning but more sitting…since I broke my toe while packing to head up north. Yoga + broken toe = bad, bad news and an air-tight excuse to be a lazy bum all summer long.
Then, summer ended. Then, I tried to get back on the yoga thing. Then, excited to achieve a pretty decent downward dog, I re-broke the toe during my first class back on the mat. This time, I conceded broken bones require time to heal…and, they heal in their own good time. So, more lazing around commenced. Sticking close to home, I entertained myself in the kitchen, heavily supplementing my evenings with pastry and white wine. I perfected my shortbread recipe, and my pie recipe, and my jam recipes, and my almond-flour chocolate cake.
By late September my foot felt sorta ok, so long as I didn’t stretch or bend my toe “like that”, so I signed up for Tuesday hatha classes again, and was about to attend the first one when finally…FINALLY…after months of searching, I landed a new job, complete with raise, new location (even closer to yoga class!), new hours, and new dress-code. After six years at an office that enjoyed perpetual Casual Friday, I hauled out blouses, skirts, trousers, pantyhose, high heels. And, after six weeks spent sitting on my ass, I discovered the summer had been mercilessly unforgiving in the clothing-size department. The first skirt nearly murdered me, and the next trapped me till I sat on the floor and peeled it down my legs like shucking an ear of corn. That took the shine off laziness pretty fucking fast.
I considered my options:
1. buy a whole new office wardrobe
2. hoist myself into a “foundation garment”
3. go! to! yoga! class!
A wild and pricey shopping spree would be rather fun, but seemed a bit short-sighted and indulgent. Fashioning myself into a secretary-shaped sausage each morning was just plain undesirable. Which left declaring the Season of Super Fucking Lazy over, and ushered in a new era, one of spine-stretching, leg-raising, arm-reaching, breath-huffing, mind-clearing goodness. And so, I prepared for yoga…
…which is how I found myself in snug leggings and bare feet, atop a purple squishy mat after work last night. “Prepare for cobra,” ordered Vince, and, shushing a breath deep enough to expand my shoulder blades, I slowly straightened my arms.
I felt about a jillion years old, and while it was a cinch to clear my mind of just about everything else, I was plagued by a nagging inner voice which, if it had a body in addition to the ability to speak in my head, would have shaken its finger while it admonished, “you are a terrible person who treats her body terribly! Tsk tsk tsk…” By the end of class, my arms and wrists were aching and I felt like I might need to dial 911 and have the ambulance come help tie my shoes and button my shirt. “That’ll learn you to be sedentary so long,” the voice nagged, and the lesson didn’t end there. The next morning a man on the streetcar poked my bicep to signal he wanted to pass, and I thought he’d given me the touch of death. And, crossing my legs in a meeting felt like dislocating a hip.
Much as I joke about being a stiff old lady who deserves every inch of reduced mobility she receives due to excessive sitting, slouching, cookie-shoveling and yoga-skipping, it actually felt pretty horrible and pretty good, realising how ill-prepared I was for cobra. Friends and I joke about the partying we could once subject our bodies to and how easily we bounced back. An all-nighter followed by a double shift at the pizza delivery place and then another night of pounding cheap hooch in a parking lot before smoking joints and staying up to watch the sunrise, and then making it just in time for a Monday morning lecture. Dancing till 1AM at a trashy club on a Thursday night, and pulling it together for a mid-morning meeting. Attending a Saturday family brunch on two hours of sleep and still processing that last round of scotch. And so on. I’m plugging my ears against the little whispering devil who thinks parking myself at a desk all day and on a sofa all evening is a great plan, and next week, I will see that cobra coming.