10 Weeks 10 Dates #3: Wholesale Yogaby: Julie and Zane on 2010-06-16
What do you get when you mix 2 hung over daters and a waterside sculpture garden? Apparently, inner peace. This week Zane and I participated in free Saturday morning yoga at a nearby sculpture garden in our city of Astoria. We stumbled upon it the week before while going on our monthly "free sample breakfast" at Costco. The two unlikely neighbors balanced our love for mass quantities of economical goods and the downward facing dog.
The year-round sculpture garden showcases some of the most challenging and forward-thinking outdoor art in the city, or to put it less generously, a lot of strange crap. As a fan of marble sculptures I found it difficult to wrap my head around the complexities of the big grey square, or the car placed on a pedestal and painted gold to look like a trophy. The park's main attraction is the interactive art of people bringing their dogs to do what they do best; I feel it sums up the theme quite elegantly. Thankfully the park is large enough that it can easily accommodate a large Yoga group seeking peace of mind, without threat of laying on a piece of...art.
Showing up with mats in tow and the creases of our bed sheets still fresh on our faces, we again found ourselves not sure of what we were getting into. We came across two other women in the park laying out their yoga mats in the grass and decided to set up camp uncomfortably close to them in hopes they too were here for the class. Luckily they were, as were 50 other menopausal women and hippy hipsters alike. They came in endless droves, along with a sprinkling of men to probably pick up some new sex moves. P.S. The "Eagle" would probably land you in the hospital. No wonder they're endangered.
...but really who couldn't use a little more flexibility here and there? Getting hot and limber would seem to be the only way to really kick off a steamy date. Then again, lying in a park amidst a sea of crunchy, new-wave women doesn't really play well with those kinds of objectifying and lascivious intensions.
Eventually a woman arrived and greeted the mass of Zen seekers, she set up camp in front and began instructing us on breathing. Part of me wished she was just some stranger who walked in off the street and saw people looking for a leader and an opportunity to touch strangers and not be questioned. But alas, credentials or not, she knew what she was doing and led us on a journey of self-awareness for the next hour.
Fending off a sore lower back and a light-headedness that could only be blamed on having sat through Sex and the City 2 the night before, I tried my best to be committed to the activity. Julie and I were no strangers to doing Yoga, however this was our first time doing it in public. Focused on not presenting myself as a newbie I may not have appeared as chipper as the other Yogis, since glancing at me reminded the instructor to tell the class they really should smile more.
I don't know what it is about me and instructed physical activities, but there always comes a time when the instructor must manually adjust the way I'm doing something. During ballroom dancing the man grabbed my face from behind, and on this occasion I had my hands stepped on to teach me to be the best downward facing dog I could be.
Legs bent, heads flush with the rush of blood, my arms arched in ways I don't think they were intended, yoga to me was a task of endurance rather than relaxation. My favorite pose was lying at the end and "reflecting." I could reflect all day, in fact I think I've become somewhat of a reflective expert. By the end though, I felt very stretched out and ready for the day. Watching Zane wobble beside me as I struggled to keep my "tray table" up and my "seat" in its full, upright position made me feel better.
It should be noted, Yoga is not for the faint of heart. Seriously, there was one position that we were told anyone with high blood pressure or bulging disks should sit out from. The affects of Yoga are very relaxing, though the road to get there is fraught with bends and balancing acts that will not come easy to some. Often, I found my leg trembling beneath me as I tried to maintain a calming, one-legged pose. Needless to say, I could definitely use more physical activities in my day-to-day life, but given the fact that I don't consider myself really to be out of shape, it should come as a warning to anyone overlooking the face that it is technically "exercise."
I never realized yoga came with its own Grey's Anatomy of definitions; here are some of the parts of my body I worked today that I didn't even know existed:
"Belly Button Muscles"
I could have sworn it was all a ploy to get us to model for some artist hiding in the bushes, crafting little figurines out of macaroni and pine needles.
Before long the lesson was nearing its end. Right away I noticed that the sore lower-back I had been suffering from all morning was gone, completely. Before we were to be sent on our way, the instructor stressed the importance of a relaxation period. Despite the start of some light sprinkling of rain all in attendance stayed. Given the option of either sitting up in with legs crossed or lying down we made the all too simple choice and assumed the position I like to call "The Nap."
Once the class ended and we finally woke up for the day, we wobbled our tired warrior legs next door to do a more familiar exercise: scoring free samples. Costco is great for those with large families or an unhealthy interest in mayonnaise. Being just the two of us with an "apartment sized" a.k.a. elfish fridge, we only buy the long-term necessities here. Soap, Shampoo, Tostitos Queso dip. We pride ourselves on never using a carriage and only buying what can be carried in our warrior arms. This limits the cost of our trips to under $100 typically. This Saturday, we really didn't want to buy anything, but couldn't help but go for the loaf of garlic bread for $3.47. Namaste.
It was too bad the samples didn't come out until after 11, because it made us look like creepy sample fans, camping out an hour early to get the first taste of next season's Chex Mix.
The sample stations were just being set up, so we did a couple loops and scored some cashew clusters. In terms of samples, this Costco trip rated a 2. Last time we were here we had a full 12-course meal while lugging around a 10 lb box of tofu. Who says we aren't Zen??
This was a perfect way to start the weekend! Free yoga is available all over if you look closely enough, and the energy of the crowd is much more relaxed than a studio class. I loved it, and it was nice to walk out of the park calm and in touch with ourselves. Plus learning to open your hips can never hurt! I give this date a 9.8! The other .2 would be tacked on if Zane had let me buy the 20 lb flat of Costco cupcakes, but I digress.
One might think that all this bending and stretching would make for a pretty hot date, however, in context it is not an instant hit for pairs. There is little, if any connectivity during the instructional session, and those of you who are worried about their image may find themselves in an awkward position, especially if you are not particularly coordinated. Negatives aside, Yoga is a fantastic practice that will make you feel wonderful. While it should become a weekly ritual for people to rejuvenate themselves, I feel it is better suited as an "appetizer" for the main date. I would say this idea makes for 6 deep breaths out of 10.
About the Authors
Julie and Zane have been dating 2 years and have moved a combined total of 5 times. After moving in together for the first time, they began a blog entitled Hers & His to record their adventures of living together and to avoid having to repeat stories for their parents. They enjoy exploring their city of New York, Law & Order: SVU, Sushi and Jeopardy. Julie works in marketing and Zane is a video editor. They are the proud parents of a handsome little kitten named Buster. Even when life becomes as mundane as it can be, they always find a way to make it feel epic.