Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Bakasana Attempt

I know, I know - the last thing I should be trying with my limited flexibility, horrible balance, and tendency to burst out laughing at any time, are complicated yoga poses.


(And this is sort of a secret confession of mine - so ssshhhhh!)

Whenever Brooke publishes one of her plethora of incredible yoga poses, without a doubt, without blinking, and yes, sometimes without thinking, I'll give it a try. Today was no different, as her pose was the Bakasana (The Crow).

Except, unlike a Crow, you perch on your hands. Crows are smart, intellegent creatures - they perch on their feet. As nature intended.


But I digress...

Thankfully, there usually isn't anyone at home to witness my antics - except for Tabbitha the fat, gray cat. And while her flexibility is pretty neat (hey 36 vertebrae, of course it's there!), most often she'll strike a pose while cleaning herself. Not all that appealing. Or lady like.

So Tabbitha will sit in a corner, watching me attempt pose after pose. If she could laugh, she would. But she doesn’t - because I feed her and clean her box, so by default she keeps quiet. Except, of course when I tumble over on my side - usually in fits of giggles - then she'll waddle her way over to comfort me. What a kitty.

But it’s for that exact reason (that I look without a doubt ridiculous!) that I practice my Brooke Yoga at home sans people.

Except for this morning.

I pulled up Brooke's blog, and was super excited (like a kid in a candy shop! or like when Nathaniel opens a new jar of peanut butter!) to see a new pose. Hoorrray!

Without thinking, without realizing, without a care in the world, I began pushing the furniture (notably the coffee table) aside, took off my glasses, and prepared for my latest yoga attempt.

"Uh. Are you okay?" Nathaniel looked up from his book, while sitting (where else?) but in his green recliner.

Drat! Nathaniel was in the room. Bloody hell!

Its one thing looking like an idiot on your own (or in front of a fat gray cat who loves you just as you are), but when there are human witnesses, well, that my friends, is a completely different story.

I explained to Nathaniel, showed him the pose that Brooke had provided, and his response?

"Go for it! I bet you could do it!"

Wow. Is this my husband? Has he been taken over by some alien life form? Not that he's negative, but he knows how inflexible I am, jokes about how I have a hard time reaching my toes (dude - at least I can SEE my toes!), and to boot - knows my propensity for laughter.

On more than one occasion, I have collapsed into fits of giggles.

NOT conducive to yoga, if you ask me.

To make matters worse – or funny (depending on perspective, of course) we decided to grab the camera, to "document" my attempts. The only problem with said camera - is that the flash takes a zillion seconds to actually trigger the shutter to take the picture. So - with a traditional camera, its one "click" and you're all done. Not the case with this one. It takes about 5 seconds of continual blinding flashes, and THEN the shutter clicks.

If you peruse the Camp HTFU photos, you'll see how the flash blinded more than one unfortunate camper.... (Saturday night at dinner. Poor Leslie, Mary, and Liz - all fell victim)

Table aside, I removed my long pajama pants and replaced them with my favorite "good luck" polar bear boxers. Good luck? Yeah - because I would need it now that my antics, er, attempt would be documented.

And so it began.

With the laptop in front of me, I careened my neck to see just exactly how Brooke had done it. Her arms looked straight, her rear was in the air, and she looked beautiful, comfortable, at ease. Her photo was breathtaking - she looked effortless.

A true mark of talent, if you ask me: an individual doing something incredibly challenging, yet making it look easy.

Like a virtuoso playing the cello (I could play like that!)

Like a speed skater gliding around a track (I could skate like that!)

Like Brooke presenting her yoga poses (I could pose like that!)

Yeah, sure, okay (wink wink)

With living room cleared of sharp objects, Nathaniel (literally) waiting at the edge of his green chair, camera at the ready, and I, sporting green polar bear boxer shorts (made for women, thank you very much), a pure heart, steely grit, and a good sense of humor (dude - I was ready to laugh!), we began.

Cue scary music. Like scary movie soundtrack music. Like fill-in-your-own-horror-movie-music. Good stuff. And appropriate.

The first try - well, too awful. Not even worth mentioning. There were two witnesses, one was my husband and the other was the cat. Good luck getting it out of the cat, as she's been instructed to attack any questioners. As for the husband, well - he loves me too much to divulge what happened. But if you buy him a few rounds of beer you might get a peep or two...

But he's been made aware of the consequences - and it involves something awful with his collection of Seinfeld DVDs. Enough said.

But, good luck my friends... No one is saying anything!

Second and third attempts got progressively better. In Brooke's photo, her arms are nearly straight - but as my butt has a problem staying up that high, I was forced to bend my elbows to allow my knees to rest on them (does that sound really wrong to anyone out there?) I was terrified of tucking my chin and starting a chain reaction that involved me somersaulting over and 1) killing the computer 2) killing the cat 3) breaking through the French doors and tumbling two stories off our balcony.

Not in that order.

Our apartment isn't all that big, if you get my drift.

Suffice to say, my chin did NOT remain tucked.

It kind of reminded me of swimming: tucked chin = straight back; un-tucked chin = curved spine. (And all of the Camp HTFU members can attest to how my butt drags when I swim. Try getting that puppy in the air over your head. Ha! No easy task, if you ask me. I should know. I was the sucker who spent a good 10 minutes on this pose before I could muster up the strength and balance to kind-of-sort-of-possibly-maybe-almost get it.)

However, thankfully the nature of this pose was such that one's chin wasn't meant to be tucked, but by default (because your derrière is sticking straight up for the world - significant other and fat gray cat - to see) your back is straight and butt ready for inspection (thank god my shorts provided adequate coverage. Well - that's what Nathaniel said... but he's a bit of a biased witness, don't you think? As my husband, what's he supposed to say? "Sweetheart - I can see everything that you've got and more. But - don't listen to me... hold the pose and let me get another photo.”).


Okay Sweetheart, whatever you say. Just hold the camera at the ready while I topple over, break the coffee table and maim the cat, and jet myself off the deck. I'm sure the picture you get will be priceless.

Don't really know which attempt I was on, but gradually I began to get the hang of it. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't fluid, it wasn't something that I would prepare to do for inspection - but it felt kind of neat... Hhhhmmmmm.

Nathaniel got more and more excited as I got progressively better.

"That's it!" He said, the pitch of his voice rising incrementally. "Just get your toes off the ground, and you're almost there!"

I grinned, in spite of myself. My arms were shaking, I could feel may abdominal muscles engaging at the effort, ant it was all I could do to not tumble on my side. I focused on the balance, but was afraid to lift my toes too far off the ground - I needed them for stability, for support. I was sure that the moment - the exact minute - that I pulled my feet up to my backside, I would loose all balance and collapse in one spectacular gaggle of giggles. And take Tabbitha and a chair down with me.

"Take the picture!" I shouted, arms trembling.

I could see the flashes, tried my best to hold the pose - but alas couldn't hold my balance.

Bugger. Didn't count.

"Look!" Nathaniel exclaimed. "You've almost got it! A few more tries and you'll have it down great!"

I just looked at him. Clearly he didn't know how I was feeling. Huh! Why don't you get yourself on the ground, your butt in the air, and then talk to me! But I internalized my thoughts, reminded myself of Beth's challenge, and smiled at Nate. He was being very supportive, was getting really into my attempts. Plus, he likes laughing – sometimes at my expense.

This was a GREAT way to start a Sunday morning. Hey – I aim to please.

Honestly, I thought he just wanted a good laugh. Yes, seeing my rear in the air would have been nice, but let's face it. We've been married for almost 5 years, have known each other for nearly 8 - there's nothing that we haven't seen. Boxer shorts or not.

(Mind out of the gutter, please.)

Slowly, but surely, during each attempt, I got stronger, my stability improved, and my butt got higher and higher in the air. Yes, I could really feel the fatigue coming on - and knew that I would need to "nail" this pose sooner rather than later, as I wasn't sure how much longer my arms and wrists could withstand the weight of my butt.

And through it all, Nathaniel snapped pictures. What a man!

Finally, I decided I was going to get it. I composed myself as best as I could, tried to stop laughing (the grin remained on my face, in spite of my best efforts), and mentally prepared myself for the challenge ahead.

Nate sat in the chair, camera at the ready. Tabbitha was safely tucked under the dining room table - watching - but at a far distance. The fear of her Mom squashing her (even though she IS a sturdy 18.2 pounds) had finally taken root and she sought shelter. (For her own safety, of course.) And finally, all the furniture (minus the vacuum cleaner) was at a safe distance.

Gumption was high, my steely determination was present, and I was ready. I took a few deep breaths, knowing that I would have to hold the pose for at least 5 seconds before the camera would "click". But being the determined person I am, I wanted to hold it as long as I possibly could.

Hands steady on the floor, I carefully balanced with my knees on my inner arms (above the elbows), all while keeping my head looking forward towards the French doors (and computer, where Brooke's pose looked effortless). Slowly, ever so carefully, I drew my right leg off the ground completely.

And there I was perched - both knees on my arms, hands on the ground for support. BUT - my left foot just didn't want to leave the relative safety of the ground. It kind of went against my instinct. There is, after all, a reason why we WALK on our FEET, not our hands. (Raise your hand if you get my drift).

Yes, my butt was in the air ("Just a little higher - come one! You've got it! Hold it you're almost there! Get your butt up - you can do it!" from the Peanut Gallery), but try as I might, my left foot was stubborn and had a will of its own.

And then, something amazing happened.

Something so wonderful, that I, myself was in disbelief. Nathaniel was momentarily speechless, and I think (yet I cannot confirm as I was doing my new yoga pose), that Tabbitha stopped cleaning herself to take a peek - something so incredibly amazing happened.

I found myself balanced, calm, breathing, and holding the pose. BOTH feet off the ground, knees balanced just above my elbows.

I was speechless (and for the ladies of Camp HTFU - you know that takes something incredible!). Yet in my head, I was screaming "Take the bloody picture you fool!", but all that came out was my labored breathing.

Nathaniel was just as taken aback. Mesmerized, he watched me balance for a few seconds, perched only on my wrists, knees balancing on my arms, my butt high in the air for the world to see. (Well, just him and the fat gray cat).

And then he aimed. He held the camera. And I could see the blinding flashes - all billion of them (or so it seemed.)

And then the final flash - brighter than them all.

No, I didn't die (it may have felt like it, but I promise you I’m still here, present, and accounted for). Didn't "walk towards the light" (duh! I was still holding Brooke's pose - remember! I was going nowhere very fast - sheesh). Didn't experience anything earth shattering. I just held the pose.

And the camera "clicked".

And still, I held the pose.

It was incredible, it was amazing, and it was so much better than I thought. What started out as a hilarious attempt to "do a pose", made me stronger in the end. It wasn't simple, and it would have been easy to give up along the way. Throw in the towel. Call it quits.

But I didn't.

I wanted to give it a fair shot, give it a try. And if I fell down, laughed along the way, well all the better. That's okay. Because that's what life is about. You fall down, you pick yourself up, and you keep going. And hopefully, if you can get a chuckle or two in edgewise and have the opportunity to share it with a few friends, it makes it even better.

Marit and her Bakasana. Turning red, and holding in her laughter in the process. Give it a try!


Beth said...

Marit!! I always try Brooke's poses too!! That's so funny! And they are always sooooooooo much harder than she makes them look. I'll get in the position that I think she is in and ask Oscar - do I look like her, do I look like her?!? And he's usually like "um...not even close!" :) AWESOME job for getting in that crow pose!

Anonymous said...

you have energy to do YOGA too, Marit? Hmmmm...I better re-think this week's workouts.
:) Jen H.

Train-This said...

This so does not suprise me!

:-) Mary

Brooke Myers said...

This seriously has topped all events within my day today.
I would have given anything to been there live watching you attempt and conquer this pose. Which I must say you did a damn good job with it!!

It's so much fun trying different poses and seeing what we can get from them - I too have to try and try again with some of these poses I see in books. Once you finally catch on it makes more sense, but while attempting it can get ya...

You reminded me of myself with the camera. I will yell to Nick hurry take the picture just as I fall or smash face on the floor..
You should see me when Nick isn't here (set the camera on a chair, press timer, run to the floor and strike a pose.. And sometimes this takes multiple attmepts amd multiple rug burns).

Thanks so much for having fun with the poses and trying them. I will try and get Nick to take more pictures soon to keep you posing!!!

Have a great week Marit and thanks for taking the picture.. While reading I wanted to scroll down to see if you posted one, but I couldn't stop reading and laughing.. SO much fun!!!

E.L.F. said...

Oh my gosh is that a DYSON vacuum cleaner in the background?

Ashley said...

Woo-HOO! With moves like that, and your pep... I'll make you a cheerleader yet!! Go Marit!

Pedergraham said...

I am impressed by that tricep popping out of your arm!
I wanted to scroll down, too, to see if you'd gotten the pose and the photo!

Ryan said...

No comments!

Kellye Mills said...

That's awesome!! I'm going to have some major bruises on my arms by the time I decide I've had enough of this one!

Mel said...

YOU DID IT.....I really wanted to see some of the falling down pictures to get the full vibe of the whole this photo you make it look too easy...we need the fail photo's that lead up to the win :)