As you probably know by know, yoga is kind of my jam. I don’t pretend to be some kind of yogi expert, but I’ve definitely learned quite a bit in the past few years and yoga has become an integral part of my weekly routine. It had been nearly two months since my last yoga class, and now that I’m settling into life in Dublin, I decided it was about time to find a studio here where I could keep up my practice. I must have been in luck, because just as my aching muscles were beginning to protest the lack of attention they’d been receiving, our activities director sent out an email of events to attend this week. One was yoga.
Hurray! Seeing it on the list made my day, and I vowed immediately that I was going. Plus it was only for €3! That’s cheaper than most classes for sure, leaving me extra money for traveling. Italy, here I come. So two of my roommates, Abbie and Courtney, and I picked up some mats from the academic center. (Special shout-out to Ciaran for running upstairs to find some hiding in a closet somewhere when we thought they were all taken and my heart was about to be broken.) Around 4:30pm, we headed out to our 5:15 class, water bottles and mats in tow.
Supposedly this cheap basement yoga event was going to be taking place at another school just around the corner from ours, called uLearn. So we traipsed up their staircase and shyly pressed the little buzzer to be let in. I figured it would be simple. You know, walk in, ask the guy at the desk where the yoga class was, he’d point the way, and voila! Yoga!
I was wrong.
Our American accents stuck out like a sore thumb at what we quickly learned was some kind of English language learning school. “Do you go here?” the man asked in true Mean Girls fashion. Nope. We don’t. As we began to explain how we were sent there and where we attended classes, the look on this poor man’s face became more and more befuddled. Apparently this yoga class was a private class for uLearn students, and they only publicize it on their own blog and Facebook page, so how it ended up on a public events page that Ciaran then found and sent to us was beyond him. His exact sentiment was actually, “This is mental.”
So as the three of us stood there, awkwardly chuckling and trying to decide if we should just leave, he picked up his phone to find out if there might be room for us anyway. It was very nice of him actually, given that he easily could have just turned us away. When he hang up, he told us to come back in 10 minutes and they’d know if they could fit us. “Get a coffee or something.”
First of all, who drinks a coffee in 10 minutes? Not me. So we wandered up and down the street for a little while, pondering whether or not we should just turn around and go home, before deciding that, no, he was expecting us back now, and as uncomfortable as we were, it would be rude to just leave him hanging after all the trouble we’d put him through.
So we shuffled back into the uLearn facility, where he then pointed us across the street, told us to pay our €3 at the desk and they’d show us where to go. Yes. We were in. (If somewhat uncomfortable and feeling just a tad guilty.)
So we waited at the desk to pay our fee, shifting around in our shoes and trying not to be in anybody’s way, and were sent upstairs to an empty, and very small, classroom. There were already a few people in class when we went in and rolled out our mats, and as the room became more and more crowded I felt worse and worse. We were the annoying Americans who weren’t supposed to be there, taking up valuable space from people who were. I genuinely thought about leaving. It didn’t seem fair or right for me to be there. But after all that mess to get us into the class in the first place, it would have felt incredibly rude to just get up and leave.
So we stuck it out. We squeezed our mats together in the back corner and did our best to take up as little space as possible.
The class turned out to be really nice, taught in a Vinyasa Flow style mostly for beginners, a good pace for my unstretched and out-of-practice body. And I only bumped into the chair I was pushed up against once! Once class got going, I could hardly remember how out of place I felt. Just having a few moments to close my eyes and focus on my breath was magical.
I think that’s what I love most about yoga — how you can get lost in it. Some days are harder than others, sure. Sometimes I have all kinds of things racing through my mind and I don’t know how to cam down and just be. But last night I must have just really needed it, because I slipped into practice easily. My muscles were burning in this beautiful kind of way, like they remembered the poses and were crying out for more. The whole thing felt like it was a lot shorter than an hour, and I think that’s an indicator that it was a pretty good class.
As comfortable as I was in my practice, when I came out of savasana and closed with “Namaste,” I was simultaneously relaxed and hyper-conscious of the fact I didn’t belong there. So Abbie, Courtney, and I hurriedly packed up our things and pretty much bolted out of the building.
It’s all really a funny story, and definitely something to remember. But I can say for sure that we won’t be going back to crash anymore classes. We’ll find a different studio and have another experience. And as weird as this one was, I’ll remain grateful that I had it. There are some days when I practice yoga and fall in love with it all over again. Yesterday was one of them.
And if there’s one yoga lesson this class taught me, it’s that it doesn’t matter when or where you practice, so long as you do it.