Yoga: Not “just like Pilates.” At all.

I will apologise at the off here because I don’t know if this will end up making any sense but I need to vent and process this out of my head.

I’m sat in my car outside our new gym (part of a Holiday Inn hotel) while Paul is carrying on with a yoga class inside. “Why?” you may ask. Well, let me rewind a bit.

We changed gyms a few weeks ago because it got to the point where I could not cope with the constant clanging and banging of the weight lifters in our massive gym, even with my ear plugs, and I was not about to start wearing frickin’ ear defenders in the gym (a. They pinch my head when worn for too long; b. I didn’t want to stand out). Also, the high number of “roiders” (big muscley guys) and their predisposition to wearing stringer vests with no antiperspirant deodorant was enough to make me gag… There was one particularly hot afternoon about a month ago where Paul said to me, “Do you smell burger relish?” I did, but it wasn’t burger relish; that was the lovely stank of B.O.

Paul agreed to look at another gym on the opposite side of the roundabout from the one we were attending because he knew (from previous membership) that it was a lot smaller and thus would be quieter than the much bigger one. We looked at it and we liked it, so we signed up. On reflection, the reason we stayed at the big one longer than I would have liked to was because we really enjoyed our Pilates classes on a Monday night with our lovely instructor. Thankfully she does classes locally in village halls, so we’re going to start attending once a week.

Looking at the class schedule at the new gym, we noticed a class called Pure Balance and asked what that entailed. We were briefly told that it was “like Pilates but focusing a bit more on strength” (whatever that means). We had a wacky week last week because of the bank holiday last Monday, so we thought we’d try it out this week on Wednesday (today). When we were in this Monday, we asked to put our names down and the guy behind the counter said that because the instructor was away, this week it would be Yoga. I was hesitant because my only ever previous experience of yoga ended badly (I tried a yoga DVD in my bedroom of my undergrad on-campus apartment in 2006 and nearly pulled out my back), but Paul said that we should just give it a go. 

BIG. EFFING. MISTAKE.

At the start, she asked if anyone was new, so I awkwardly waved my hand and said that we (Paul and I) usually do Pilates. I think she said that we’d find this “a bit different” because you tend to hold poses for longer in Pilates. And by “longer”, it’s practically a minute versus the split-second hold-and-change that was occurring in front of me.

For someone who has difficulty processing a lot of language at once, let alone from someone unfamiliar, doing something that I have no real previous experience of, it was a perfect storm – a recipe for disaster – and led to the classic “fight, flight or freeze” survival mode. I first froze, then I fled.

This was after less than ten minutes.

I could not understand what she was saying, in so much that I was trying to process whatever she was saying whilst watching the accompanying actions, but I could not move that fast and I could not keep up. There was no way that I could last a full 55-minute class of this. So I folded my mat in two, picked up my FitFlops and tiptoed out of the room… from the front row, furthest away from the door.

Good grief.

I had to move quickly before I burst into tears and inadvertently turned it into a full-blown meltdown. Hence why I’m now sat in my car, writing this blog on my phone whilst waiting for Paul to come out so we can go home.

It’s certainly not the first time that I’ve been this embarrassed, but it’s been a long time since I’ve felt this deeply, horrendously embarrassed.

I’m mad at myself for not being flexible enough, not fit enough, not quick enough to pick new things up. Annoyingly, despite Paul’s more apparent social traits which point to him being an Aspie too, he can just dive right in with classes like this. He was away like a seasoned professional while I felt like a beached whale flopping about on the mat next to him. It was horrible.

So, I think I will wrap it up there and maybe have a little cathartic cry before he comes out (or not, because I am in a public car park, after all). I’m thankful that I have my blog to decant these thoughts out because it would’ve been horrible being sat here doing nothing for the better part of an hour waiting.

The moral of the story: don’t believe anyone who says “Yoga is just like Pilates.”

Update [20:30]: After Paul came out to the car, he said that he understood why I left, but wouldn’t you know it, the pace of the class slowed down after I left and was “actually quite relaxing by the end”!! Rage!! Frustration!! And stupid me, I sat in the car with the ignition on (after putting the windows down) and it nearly flattened the battery, requiring a bump start to get us home. Seriously, FML. It’s a good thing that I had a reasonably good day today at work, made better by a long conversation with a colleague who was keen to get to catch up with me following my final appointment (as we’ve not been able to catch each other over the last few weeks for various reasons). We had such a lovely talk and it made my day to know that she was thinking of me that much. I’m trying to focus on the good and not dwell on the bad. 🌸

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