Thelma is Back…Laughs and Happiness in YogaLand

Yes, I have returned from my Thelma-Minus-Louise adventure, therefore not pulling the last stunt that Thelma and Louise did over that canyon. I also did not shoot out the tires on any 18-wheelers (as previously mentioned) or get a hickey from a young cowboy. My weekend was far milder but just as satisfying.

I went away for the whole weekend. Alone. And to a yoga retreat center. It’s at this point that some of you will roll your eyes and make a hasty exit, I’m sure. But I loved every stinking minute of this trip. This was actually the first time I have travelled by myself on a weekend getaway since becoming a Mom. 11 years ago. And granted, it was only a 3-hour drive to my destination, but in the life of a busy Mom, we have a dog-life vs. human-life thing going on here. 3 hours driving alone listening to my own music, stopping when and where I choose=1 day. Basically, I felt like I was away for about a week.

As I reported when I returned home (trying hard to keep that yoga-calm vibe going!), the weekend was a perfect blend of being calming AND stimulating at the same time. How often does that happen on a trip? I’m honestly not sure where to start with this little recap of mine, there’s so much to tell. How about we dive in like this…

1 Building, 400 StoriesIt is the biggest yoga and holistic retreat center in the U.S. I think someone said that the dining room accommodates about 400 people, and I think all 400 of them were there this weekend. It was a hive of activity. My husband got me a gift certificate to Kripalu (that’s the name…Kripalu) for Christmas and promptly asked if I wanted to go with a friend, my Mom or whomever. No offense to anyone, but I wanted to go alone. To experience it for the first time myself, at my own pace. I also felt like I needed a weekend to just regroup, refocus, concentrate on my wants and not hear anyone call my name for a few days. In short, be completely selfish for 72 hours. Luscious, delicious, amazing hours…oh, did I say that out loud? Well, that’s just what I did. Me, myself and I scooted up to the Berkshires and took on Kripalu in my yoga-outfitted self. I tell you, it was the best people-watching ever. Sitting in the dining hall that first night…well, I could have sat there for hours and been totally entertained. If with nothing else than trying to figure out all the stories for all the souls that were crammed in there getting their quinoa and roasted veggies. As a side note, I think I ate about 10 days worth of vegetables in those 3 days. You can call me Miss Antioxidant. So, the people. There were old (I want to be doing yoga and looking like you when I am that age), young (how the heck are you affording this?), couples (aw), some folks who seemed to be in the midst of battles (cancer…oh my…), earthy-crunchies (thank goodness they say in the brochure to not wear heavy perfumes etc. because I KNOW you’d smell like patchouli), the yoga-moms (pants, tops, yoga bags all look expensive) and everyone in between. It was quite the assortment and I tell you, they were all as nice and social and smiley as can be. Great bunch of folks all getting their yoga on and learning how they can make the machine that is their body run to it’s best potential while expanding and calming their minds and hearts in the process. A good common goal, eh?

The YogaWas awesome. I took a variety of classes, from nighttime yoga (yes, I fell asleep for a short bit and woke up not totally clear on where the heck I was) to 6:30am yoga (surprisingly enjoyable, despite yawning my way through it). BUT I did not snore like the guy in my meditation class. There’s always one dude who snores and one dude who grunts in every class. And usually they are somehow within 3 mats of mine. I swear I should start winning the lottery more with these odds. The snorer was loud. Loud to the point where I had to start giggling. In such a quiet place, he might as well been snoring with a megaphone perched on his lips. And the grunter in the yoga class. Yikes. That’s all I can say. I know he was just doing yoga, but he seemed to be enjoying himself A LOT. More giggles. I’m happy to say that I have returned home feeling mighty bendy and like a million bucks from all the yoga that I did. My bod is thanking me right now for making it feel so good. Gotta love yoga. You just have to.

Fears-I discovered that there are 3 fears at a place like this. Thankfully, they did not come true for me, but for some, well…
1. Drooling during your massage. Hallelujah, I had a massage! No, I did not drool but came close. I’ll admit it. Barry, my long pony-tailed older surfer-dude masseuse became my best friend on Saturday night when he pummeled my over-yoga’d muscles into submission. I find the whole masseuse thing a bit bizarre in that, hey this is a stranger. I met him exactly 10 minutes ago and now I am in a dimmed room with him, I am buck naked with only a thin sheet between us, he’s got his paws all over me in a good masseusey way and you know what? He could have set fire to my toes and slipped off all of my rings and I would not have cared. He was the man. Stranger or not. I love you, Barry. So why is it so hard to just say Hi to someone you don’t know sometimes or make eye contact? Hmmm. A question. And about the drooling…there’s that point when you are on the table, face down in that little upside-down horseshoe cushion when you just get SO relaxed. And that drool from your open mouth is RIGHT THERE. And somehow, by the grace of God, you SNAP back into clear reality JUST in time to SNAP your mouth shut and save yourself from drooling on Barry’s foot.
2.Tipping over during yoga class. Again, didn’t happen to me (I had good ju-ju this weekend) but during some of those balancing poses, you realize you are about a millimeter from tipping to your left and thus setting off this human-domino effect of bodies. The fear keeps your muscles stiff and on your own mat.
3. The MOST horrifying…The Fart. In yoga class. Yes, the yogis will gingerly and sweetly explain that it’s your body just functioning how it should but really, you DO NOT want to be that guy. I’m happy and amused to report that it did happen (TO SOMEONE ELSE) in one of my classes. Picture it: about 50 bodies. 5 rows of 10. Everyone aligned and doing their bendy things. Everyone on your mat, people! Bring your knees to your chest….and…..RRRRRRRIIIIPPPP! There she blows. This lucky soul was about 2 rows over and one row back from me. And mind you, this was not a small Beep or a Toot, this was a “granola-for-breakfast” *bwaaaaamp*. Priceless. Thankfully, out of my range because at that moment, I heard my husband’s words: “There is nothing funnier than a fart.” Nope, nope there isn’t. And I am doubly lucky because we swooped right into a pose where we had to bury our head between our knees and that was a good thing because I totally lost it. Laugh city. “April, get a grip, you’re an adult! It happens! It’s yoga. It’s natural“, I tell myself. So much for THAT. I can’t contain myself and am laughing myself silly all hunched in a ball. Mind you, relatively silently, which is even harder, because I’m trying to not further humiliate the farter. Karma will get me. So much for “Moderate Yoga”.

There’s more to tell, obviously, but that’s a good start I think. More tomorrow on what I learned and what I took away from the whole experience. Then, we’ll shift gears and get some good recipes out there for the upcoming holiday weekend. Sound good? Great. Have a wonderful day everyone! Jai Bhagwan…which is the Kripalu equivalent for “Namaste”.

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