Ok, so I've been meaning to blog about this yoga thing for two whole weeks already so I am just going to frigging do it!
But first I have to explain to you about Wing Stand. Bear with me.
(I know this is kind of long and there aren't many pictures, but as a personal favor to me, will you read the whole thing? Thanks, you're a pal.)
Ok. Wing Stand.
Do you remember Unicorn Stories Episode 2: To The Moon? The one that my Unicorn *Hearts* Moon project from the book is based on?
Well, I never said much about this before, but one of my and Beth's favorite things about that episode is what we refer to as 'the breakout star of the show: WING STAND!' aka Wing Stand.
Do you have any idea what I am talking about? Remember when Unicorn needs to get up to visit his love, the moon, and all of a sudden Wing Stand just waddles onto the scene...walks right up to Unicorn and is conveniently selling sets of wings for just 5 cents?
Here, just watch it again, ok?
So ever since we made that episode (almost a year ago now? What?) we always refer to things that just work out or show up when we want as Wing Stand (Blank).
It goes like this, you say, 'Oh, hmmm. I wish I had This Thing I Need or Want.'
Then there is this goofy innocent sound effect that goes like this: Doot-dee-doot-dee-dooo....
Up comes walking Wing Stand Thing I Need.
A recent example: When we were in London, we had decided we wanted Indian food and just moments after we set out in search of vittles we happened upon this great little Indian restaurant. Like, immediately after. Wing Stand Indian Restaurant. We actually said, "Oh, Hi Wing Stand Indian Restaurant!"
Another: Just got an email from Beth after she read my last post talking about tomato plants and she's all, 'I have some Wing Stand Tomato Plants for you.' Someone gave some to her husband and they have been sitting on the step waiting for a home which Beth was reminded of when she read about me getting my jollies off of sniffing tomato plant leaves.
Wing Stand Tomato Plants. Doot-dee-doot-dee-doo.
They just showed up right when they were wanted.
Now, hold that in mind while I tell you a little of my yoga history, ok?
I have been practicing yoga on and off for 20 years now.
Let's be honest, mostly off.
But yoga is in me- I am a yogi, whether I am physically practicing the postures or not- and when I do it I feel like I am home.
I went to my first class when I was 15, with my 23-year-old-boyfriend. I loved it. Growing up, I didn't play sports, dance, ski, ride horses, nothing. Never. But I loved this yoga class. I remember being in knee-down twist and the teacher came over to adjust me and he said "You're really flexible in this." I only went to a couple more of his classes but it stayed with me.
I used to stretch a lot in high school, like, just by myself, in my room. Maybe it was after those classes.
I thought it was so cool how I could just relax into a position and just by staying there and breathing, slowly my body would sink deeper in and release and I could reach further than when I started. I still think that's awesome. I remember telling my friend Jake about it and showing him by having him stretch and see the difference after holding it for a little while. This was all 1990-ish.
In 1997 I went to Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. I did a 3 month residential volunteer program that used to be called the Spiritual Lifestyle Program. After that was over I stayed on for another 2 months.
Crafty side note: I made my first quilt just before I went there because I wanted to bring one with me! This is me on the front lawn of Kripalu with my quilt:
I have so much to share about my time there (like how I gained 35 pounds in 5 months) but for now I'll get on with my yoga history.
Since 1997, I have gone through periods of practicing and then it falls away... then I find it again... then I leave again.
In 2000 , I started doing Bikram yoga. I might have been consistent for 6 months. In 2002 I was working out a lot at the gym doing lots of spin classes, pilates, yoga and lifting weights. Again, for maybe 6 months.
In between I might have gone to a class here or there.
A few years ago I was practicing power vinyasa yoga 2-3 times a week for 2 years. That was the most consistent I'd ever been and it was so good for me. I fell out of the habit and have gone back for a few weeks or months at a time since.
I have been wanting to develop a strong practice again. Like, a lifelong practice. I talk about it and think about it all the time. It's just something I want in my life.
Ok, so that's my yoga history in a nutshell. Now, I have to break off again for a moment to tell you a little bit about Delia.
She's one of my favorite customers, a psychotherapist who works from an office just around the corner.
A couple of summers ago, when I was just setting up the shop and hadn't even opened yet, she popped in to say hello and tell me how excited she was watching my little shop take shape and how thrilled she and her associates were about what I was bringing to our little (tiny!) West Barnstable community. She has this charming South African accent and exudes joy and peace and is always wearing some fabulous floaty linen pants or gorgeous earth-toned sweater.
One day she came in wearing the most amazing thing and I had to take her picture:
She is just a neat lady.
Last summer she brought me organic strawberries that she got for me at a roadside stand just to thank me for being here. See what I mean?
In the fall she came in to tell me that there was an office available in the building she works out of and wouldn't it be amazing if it could be a yoga studio? Or something? So we were talking about that and how wonderful that would be and I even mentioned it on facebook and talked with some of my yoga teacher friends about it. A few weeks went by and I told a few more people about it but nothing ever came to fruition. I let it go.
Last month Delia stopped in to chat and she told me that a Bikram yoga studio was opening up in that spot by her office! Which is 3 buildings away from my house!
Doot-dee-doot-dee-doo: Wing Stand Bikram Yoga Studio!
I was like, whelp, looks like I'm going to start doing Bikram yoga again!
Megan, the owner of Bikram Yoga Cape Cod, stopped in to introduce herself and I told her how happy I was that she was in our little area and that I wanted to go and hey we should document my progress getting back into Bikram yoga so people can see what it's all about and we can get her some more students and we can call it Bikram-ize Me and we can take measurements and pictures and I'll blog about it and yeah, woo!
So I went to class the Saturday after my return from England and after class as I am laying there, spent and sweat-drenched, Megan mentions: hey everybody this is Melissa and we are doing a documentary on her Journey To Perfect Health with Bikram Yoga!
And I was like, oh, I guess I'm actually doing this then!
Which is awesome because if she hadn't taken me up on it, there is no way in hell I would be on my 16th class in 17 days like I am now!
Yes, today will be my 16th class!
I had committed to 5 days a week but decided to try to go every day, figuring I would end up missing a few anyways. But I only have missed one day in over 2 weeks! In Bikram yoga sometimes they do this thing called a 30-Day Challenge, which you can probably guess is doing Bikram Yoga for 30 days straight. Or 30 classes in 30 days. If you miss one like I did, you can double up one day to make it up, which I will. Because, hey. I'm literally halfway there, I may as well keep going, right?
There is also a 60-Day Challenge, which was just written about in Oprah's magazine. It's a great article, you can read it here.
So, there. I've finally explained about Wing Stand and my yoga history and what I'm up to. Now I can get on with reporting about my experience. But I'll have mercy and end this post now. I mean, you're probably asleep by now.
But first, tell me: do you have any experience with yoga?
And I don't want to hear "Oh I'm not flexible, I can't do yoga" because that's like saying "Oh, I don't know French so I can't take French lessons."