I used to go to this really amazing yoga class taught by an instructor whom I absolutely adored. The class had everything going for it. It was well organized, near to home, affordable, not too serious, focused on developing skill, and I had company in the form of a dutiful friend to join me every week. The instructor was a charismatic middle aged woman who was by no definition thin. She was strong. She was bendy. She was my god damnend hero.
The class followed a pattern: sun salutations followed by standing balance poses. Then came core work, back bends, inversions, a static stretch or too, and then shavasana. We were encouraged to try new things, and were given helpful instruction, props, and even the guiding hand of the instructor. Under her tutelage I learned to wheel (but not to deal) and even started to headstand. Plow pose was a regular part of her practice, and it became part of mine too.
Now, being of comic book proportions, inversions always bring me a fair amount of self-motor boating (because gravity is a bitch) but plow was the WORST. The curled over chin-to-chest posture made for some serious laughs (once my airway was clear again). It was fine. I’d rock and roll upside down and my tits would fall down towards the earth. A quick shake of my chin and they’d part ways and head towards my ears.
Of course, this was 9 years ago. A shoulder injury sidelined my practice for a while. My local yoga studio closed and the instructor disappeared from my radar. Other classes just weren’t as fun. It wasn’t you, yoga, it was me.
I tried again over the years, but it was never the same.
Lately I’ve been working yoga back into my activity rotation, by taking in 1 or 2 classes a week since January. My super swanky gym offers tons of classes of varying styles all included in my membership and it’s been going well, generally. I’m sticking to the beginner stuff, not wanting to get discouraged by feeling like I can’t keep up, but there are some more advanced things that I miss. The classes I’m taking don’t offer a lot in the way of hands on instruction, and they do none of the fun inversions.
“So, how do I get from where I am to where I want to be?”I thought to myself. Clearly the answer was to start trying stuff more advanced poses on my own to learn it all again, so that when I’m prepared to jump into more challenging classes I’ll be ready.
And then I stalled for a few more days. I mean, googling is the same thing as practicing, right?
Last night I bit the bullet. I was still dressed in my workout gear, though by 10:00 pm. it was scented with grilled chicken and sweat. I made some space on the floor and set an intention to try shoulder stand/modified plow, and a modified head stand. Head stand came first and it was an abject failure. My feet slipped on the dog scented carpet and I had trouble stacking my hips over my shoulders. I gave it a couple of good attempts to see where I was at, without judgement (who the fuck am I kidding, I was totally judging myself) and then I moved on. Next came shoulder stand. I tried it the proper way, using only my core to pull my hips skyward but 2 fucking inches does not a shoulder stand make. Fine. Let’s rock and roll our way up. 1-2-3…almost, 1-2-3…better, 1-2-3….eeeek, hold it! This is good! Legs up, core engaged, neck long, now drop your toes towards the smelly dog carpet, and a little chin wiggle to move my boobs to either side of my cheeks. Wait…I CAN’T FUCKING BREATHE!
Motherfuckingfucker who put these tits in my face and why aren’t they moving? Seriously, the space between my boobs became a vacuum that pulled my face in and wouldn’t let it go. I rolled out of the pose and contemplated a coroner’s report saying that I accidentally suffocated on my own breasts.
Why didn’t it work? What had changed? I’m fatter, sure. But not by a heck of a lot. I counteract that by wearing a better sports bra now then I every did before. The thing is built like a flak jacket. It holds my boobs high and tight and doesn’t let them get wild and out of hand, god bless it.
I tried the posture again, and again I nearly died. It must be the fucking bra.
By then I was exhausted, winded, and while buoyed up by being able to do a shoulder stand, I was blue (figuratively and possibly literally) from nearly suffocating in the process.
Until last night, I’ve never thought that a good bra might cause more problems than it’s worth, but tonight, when I try the poses again, I’m going to find a spot where my feet can grip the floor, and I’m going to ditch the flak jacket.