You can find the beginning of the story of my and Cheryl’s trip to the Lake Austin Spa Resort to celebrate the release of the novel Wallflower in Bloom courtesy of Claire Cook, Lake Austin Spa Resort, and Touchstone Books (Simon & Schuster) here.
Saturday, June 2
My mom and I were at Target a couple of days ago, standing in the camping section when two women walked by. These were normal, everyday women who were about my general size, height and weight wise, and maybe a little bit older than I am. One of them pointed at an end cap and said, “What about yoga? I could do that. That looks so easy.” I waited a full minute after they had moved on to snicker a little. Okay, a lot, and maybe it wasn’t so much a snicker as it was a cackle. No one ever said I was a nice person.
My mom, who is used to bizarre outbursts from me, gave me a look that said, explain yourself. So I did.
During our trip, Cheryl and I had done the yoga thing—not only had we done the yoga thing, we opted for water yoga because, you know, it’d be easier. I know now that this was silly of us.
I can’t speak for Cheryl, only myself here, but it’s a really good thing that I’d had a massage not ten minutes before we took our class, otherwise I’d have never been able to even attempt some of the stretches we were doing. If I couldn’t do a quarter of them while in the water where I was virtually weightless after a massage, I couldn’t begin to imagine how they’d be doable much less easily doable on land. And if I couldn’t do it, I had a really hard time believing that the woman who had deemed the stretch that the girl was doing on Target’s end cap poster to be “so easy” could do it either.
Please don’t misconstrue my statements here as an indictment against those women, yoga, or even the water yoga class that we took. Would I take the class again? Heck yes! I’d do it in a skinny minute. While it was mildly difficult and required some of the coordination that I have lacked all of my life, it was still fun. Of course, some of the fun could be attributed to my very bad habit of not taking some things too seriously. I know that seems a little at odds with all of the introspective ramblings usually found on these pages, but it’s true. I am a strange mix of contradictions. It works for me.
The class went a little like this:
After Cheryl and I had finished our massages, we somehow managed to change into our swimsuits and make it to the Pool Barn for our water yoga class despite the fact that we felt like wet noodles all ready. Fortunately, the Pool Barn was right outside of the main spa building, so we didn’t have too far to walk.
The two ladies that we’d shared a table with that morning were there and we met a few more of the ladies who’d been present at Claire Cook’s workshop the evening before. All of us made our various ways into the pool, beginning the class with a few warm-up exercises. We walked the pool forwards, backwards, and sideways in order to get acclimated to moving in the water. This part was easy.
After our warm-up exercises, we began by learning some basic positions, starting with the only position I actually remember how to do. Unfortunately, I don’t remember its name. All I know is that it’s now the position I revert to when my kids begin to drive me up a wall. Feet grounded, deep breath, hands at heart’s center, gaze focused, and breathe. I know all of you yogis out there are probably grimacing a bit. I’m certain I got something in that incorrect, but it works for me.
We moved from that starting position to another, and I fell over sideways…in the water. And I started to laugh. A lot. And then other people started to laugh. And I felt bad and apologized. In the moments that followed, I realized that if I was going to learn, thrive, just survive in this class, I was going to have to keep one rule steadfastly in my mind: Do NOT look at Cheryl. Every single time our eyes would meet, I’d dissolve in a fit of snorty, stifled giggles. Not cool or polite to the instructor at all. I’m still carrying a little guilt over that.
We went through several sets of positions, some fairly intricate—most that lost me completely, while there were a couple that I felt like I was able to accomplish pretty well. I know we did variations of the warrior positions, some sort of tree thing, and either a sun or moon salutation series. In the end, I was most successful at…floating while staying completely still. Yes, you read that right. I can float without drifting.
Pshaw, I hear you saying, that’s easy.
I thought so, too, but apparently not so. I lay there in the water on my back, eyes closed, peaceful as can be when something bumped into my foot all Jaws style. Then I heard a sharp laugh followed by a splash, and then a whole lot of women laughing. I opened my eyes and Cheryl had rammed into me and all of the other ladies were simply all over the pool. No one, save me, could float while staying completely still. The instructor asked me to demonstrate what I was doing, so I did, though I really had no earthly idea what exactly I was demonstrating.
Apparently, I have a talent. I’m glad I had the opportunity to discover it.
Thanks again to Sharon Rekieta, the fitness director for Lake Austin Spa Resort and our instructor for the water yoga class that afternoon. I had a great experience that will certainly stick with me for quite some time.