Resting as Hard Work
I remember the first time I did yoga. I don’t remember the weather outside or my mood that day or any of those other details that might help set the scene. I don’t even remember what grade I was in but at some point in my high school career, Mrs. Doyle, Penncrest’s infamous (in a good way!) phys ed teacher began offering yoga as one of our sports options. The girls flocked to sign-up and soon there were thirty plus hormone-laden teenagers crammed into the wrestling room under blinking fluorescent lights. I wish I could tell you something life-changing about this experience but all I really remember was listening to other girls chat afterwards about the awesome nap they’d had at the end of class (or Savasana, as it’s technically called). As a sleep-deprived overachiever, I was jealous. I had spent those last five minutes in the quiet vacillating between thoughts of how bad the room smelled (I think every part of that room was bound to be saturated with male sweat, no matter what cleaning techniques they used) and my to-do list for the day. It was entirely unfathomable to me that anyone had managed to fall asleep there, especially in just five minutes.
Ever since, I’ve had a mild obsession with really impressive nappers. You know those ones that can get in a few minutes of quality sleep anywhere? Like my neighbor in college who managed to sleep deeply during our eight minute bus ride to campus but never missed his stop, or those kids that could seemingly sleep through an entire class, feel rested, and still understand the lecture better than I did, or how about my city friend who naps each workday at lunch despite the blaring horns and shouts of everyday life near Times Square that percolate through the cinder block walls. My interest remains though I’m no longer so sleep-deprived and jealous. Perhaps it’s the fact that some people have figured out how to shut off their brains in the middle of the day. Or maybe it’s just their interesting and moderately productive use of free time. In any case, I doubt this is what Mrs. Doyle had in mind as a take-away from those classes. My first yoga experience definitely wasn’t a magical, soul-expanding breakthrough for me but it certainly was memorable in its own way.