I Survived Yoga

Happy Belated St. Nikolaus Tag!

Okay, so it was yesterday, but yesterday, I went to yoga, and narrowly escaped with my life, so please forgive me for not writing this last night.

Let me back up.

On Monday, nothing interesting happened.  Most of my classes were canceled, because we have multiple teachers out sick.

On Tuesday, I woke up, did the usual things which people do in the morning, and headed to work.  I didn’t get out the door before turning around, and returning to my room to trade my flats for boots.  This is what I saw:

Snow!  It snowed on Tuesday, and on Wednesday and on Thursday!  Lots and lots of snow!  I think we received about 4″ in total snowfall.  It was so pretty.  I told ALL of my students how EXCITED I was about the snow.  They were less impressed with it, and a little bemused by my reaction.  That’s okay!  I will be excited enough for all 300 of them.  ^_^  And we are supposed to have even MORE snow on Sunday!!!

Yesterday morning, I awoke to yet another surprise:

(in front of my door)

My roommate, Lukas, decided to play St. Nikolaus the night before, and left fruit and chocolate in front of all of our doors, sitting on pretty squares of tissue paper.  I was utterly charmed.  In Germany, December 6th is St. Nikolaus Day, and it is traditional for German children to put a shoe or boot outside their doors, on the night before.  During the night, St. Nikolaus leaves candy, chocolate, and maybe an orange in their boots.  Only if they were good, of course!  Bad children might find a piece of dry wood in their boots.  I completely forgot to put a shoe or boot outside my door, but the good St. Nikolukas came, anyways.  =D

Thursday evening, I went to the fitness center to try a yoga class.  The previous night, I had attended a Pilates class, and liked it very much.  My impression was that Pilates and yoga are somewhat similar, so I was looking forward to trying yoga, too.  I had no idea that this class was almost my doom.  Now, I would like to be upfront and say that I have never done either Pilates or yoga, before, and I wanted to do something new.  (Apparently, living in another country, on another continent, is not enough “new experiences” for me.)  I should have paid more attention to the word “POWER” in front of the word “Yoga”.

POWER-Yoga.  Recognizing me as a new, unknown pupil, the instructor asked me to move close to her, front and center of the room.  Great.  Right in front of everyone else is exactly where I wanted to be.  That is why I originally laid my mat down discretely, in a back corner.  The instructor, Nadja, was from Russia, and had so much energy, I swear she vibrated, a constant hum of energy and alertness.  For the following hour, she guided us through the class, barking out orders with a forcefulness that I drill sergeant would envy.  Every other pose or action, I was doing something wrong, so she directed a lot of that forcefulness at me.  Sadly, the combination of physical exertion and trying to convince my body that yes, it really could fold that way, managed to mute my babblefish.  Each time she corrected me only verbally, without demonstrating, I could only stare at her, blankly.  I think at one point she asked me if I was from Egypt, but I’m not sure, because that would be a very odd question to ask.  I mean, Egypt?  Really?  (So far, Germans have mistaken me for Irish and Czech.  And perhaps, Egyptian?)  I was also terribly embarrassed, not just by the Russian Nadja yelling at me every few minutes, but by being surrounded by a bevy of middle-aged women, who were all executing the movements and poses with ease and precision.

POWER-Yoga is… much more intense than I was prepared for.  Within the first 15 minutes, I was sure I was going to die.  I wanted to crawl away, whimpering.  Instead, I set my feet together (“SPANNUNG!” Nadja cried, for the nth time), and breathed.  Einatmen, ausatmen.  The minutes crawled by.  SPANNUNG!  Einatmen, ausatmen.  Please, just let me die here.  SPANNUNG!  Einatmen, ausatmen.  For the next 45 minutes.  And then we were released, free to drag ourselves to our water bottles and collapse.  I managed to do a good walking-upright-human impression, on the way home, rather than the expected mortally-wounded-crawling-human impression, so I was rather proud of that.  And there you have it, the reason why this blog post is a day later than I originally intended: POWER-Yoga kicked my ass.  However… I survived.

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