Finding My Chi

I am going to a yoga class this morning. I’ve been doing yoga off and on for the past several years — more off than on due to time constraints, but I love how regular practice makes me feel. I also love the non-competitiveness of yoga. A competitive person by nature, yoga is not a level playing field in which I can one day hope to “win.” I am not, and will never be, one of those women who can put her leg behind her head — Mr. Dingo has made peace with that — but in the classes I’ve attended, it’s feeling good in your own skin that is cause for celebration and not whether you can braid your hair with your toes.

I am looking forward to starting yoga again. The years and calcification are catching up to me. I move with all the stiffness of a zombie; not one of those new fangled George Romero Dawn of the Dead (2004) fast-moving zombies but one of the Night of the Living Dead (1976) ghouls — arms fully extended, knees locked. I’m too young for this stiffness but I’ve always been this way. At five years old, while other girls were aspiring to be the next Nadia Comaneci (yes, I’m that old) or starring in Swan Lake, my dance instructor told my mom that, “Dingo’s talents lie in other areas.” She did not specify exactly what those other areas were.

Although Mom tried to hide it, I could tell she was crushed. Not because she had the stage mother aspirations of the other moms at my dance studio, but because she loved making the costumes for my dance recitals. She truly missed her calling. Mom belongs in NYC making costumes for Broadway. Still, there were days in grade school when I thought that going to school dressed as a pirate right down to the eye patch was a bit much. And, in retrospect, my mom standing in the hall for costume changes — going, for instance, from the Cat in the Hat for English to a pilgrim for History — now does seem excessive.

Years later I discovered yoga. At that point it wasn’t that I wanted to look like a Degas portrait as much as I wanted to be able to bend over and tie my shoes without pulling a muscle. Yoga was incredible. It took me months to gain flexibility but my body felt good. I felt good. So I’m off to the yoga studio this morning. If I haven’t sprained my fingers or torn a ligament, I will give you an update later this evening or tomorrow.

For now, meditate on the peaceful expression of the Yoga Frog gracefully executing Tree Pose on my terrace.