Over the last couple of months, I have rejuvenated the joy of Friday by committing myself to a 6:30 pm yoga class which requires me to leave my office by 6. When I initially made the difficult step of returning to my neighborhood yoga studio after a nearly two year hiatus (after 4 years of weekly or even bi-weekly practice), I was frustrated with myself. I was weak and out of shape. I wanted to flow through my vinyasas fluidly following my breath. I wanted the coordination and balance of my prior practice to immediately be restored to me. That first class was the most difficult.
As I climbed the flight of stairs to the simple bamboo-floored studio above one of my favorite restaurants - Vynl - my cautious nervousness paralleled a day well over 5 years behind me when I climbed those very steps to try my first public class away from the privacy and security of my home yoga tapes. The entry foyer had changed. I felt a sense of pride in the studio's success demonstrated by the full schedule of classes, the wall to wall mats filling in the practice room and the inviting furnishings in the entry which was a stark contrast to the empty, chairless entry that greeted me in November of 2001. I attended my first yoga class during the first week the studio opened.
My return class was probably more difficult than my inaugural class all those years before. I fumbled and even fought to keep up, falling out of poses and struggling to keep my breath. My muscles ached for a week. But after just a couple of months of weekly practice, I have noticed significant improvement. My ability to endure an intense 90 minute class improves each week as does my strength, balance and flexibility. I love the adrenaline rush that comes after pushing myself into a new pose or flowing through a complex series. But my favorite portion of class and often the highlight of my week comes at the end: lying on my mat, spine nearly flush with the floor, each leg extended evenly with feet falling open, arms flopped out to my side, palms up; my whole body opened toward the heavens, waiting to receive. My mind has been washed clean of the week's cluttered thoughts, worries and fears as I focus exclusively on the air flowing in and out of my lungs in measured and even portions - my job doesn't matter, boys don't matter, nothing matters as my mind is freed for deep meditation. After a week of spending over 50 hours chasing papers around a desk and following 90 minutes of challenging, sweat inducing exertion, my mind is freed and I can slowly coax each individual muscle into letting go and melting into the earth in an extended chavasana........ I love Fridays.
Adding to the enjoyment of the class, my friend Brooke often attends the class as well. Afterwards we will grab a burrito to return to my apartment for a movie or brave getting dinner somewhere along trendy 9th Avenue where we won't look too ridiculous - or I should say, where I won't look too ridiculous. I don't like changing back into my work clothes after class because I'm generally too sweaty so my ensembles are often a bit bizarre. To spare myself the hassle of carting too much baggage around the City, I have resorted to storing my yoga mat at the studio and shoving my clothes in my over-sized purse. To make this work, I don't bring shoes, I wear whatever I wore to work that day.
Tonight I pulled my red trench coat on over my black yoga pants and tank top which wasn't necessarily my worst ensemble, until I slide into my black dress loafers. My hair is wet along my neck and forehead and forced into a sloppy ponytail with clips. I needed some groceries, so we decided to eat dinner at Whole Foods. After stepping into line to check out, I realized I needed to grab a bottle of water and asked Brooke to watch my cart.
I rounded the corner of the line and walked straight up to a boy I quickly recognized. A slow smile spread across his face when our eyes met. I met his smile and flirtatiously said "you caught me in my cutest outfit ever!" He responded with "no, you have caught me in my cutest outfit ever!" We chatted easily for a few minutes and I quickly explained away my bizarre attire as yoga related. It was easier to talk with him than our last meeting nearly two weeks ago when we met in the church lobby after months without contact. During that conversation he asked why he hadn't seen me around in the ward and I felt humbled and slightly embarrassed by my forced confession that I am now in the married ward - revealing my graduated-from-singles-ward-over-the-hill-spinster age.
Not wanting to end the conversation but feeling the pull of my grocery cart which was quickly nearing the front of the line, I invited him to eat with an undefined "us". I don't usually hope for the Whole Foods checkout line to slow down but this was one night I was disappointed with its efficiency. He was only holding vitamins, not food but he initially agreed but then declined after explaining he pulled an all-nighter at work earlier in the week and was exhausted. We said goodbye and I hurried back to my cart.
I suppose I should feel worse about a run-in with an attractive boy when I really couldn't look worse but the combination of my low-key post-yoga zen and the happy Whole Foods environment left me intrigued more than anything. After selecting a table, Brooke reminded me that I had previously felt a connection with him. I brushed off the idea but continued to think about how often I feel drawn to him. You see, he is the spark boy I met at my birthday party last summer. Our eyes were nearly locked throughout our brief conversation and although he declined to join me for dinner, I felt his reluctance had more to do with me already being there with an unnamed friend and his fatigue than a lack of desire to continue talking.
Maybe it is nothing, but to steal a phrase from Sex & The City: I couldn't help but wonder, is there a reason I keep running into this boy in particular?