So I dragged Ian off to a couple's yoga class on Saturday night. It wasn't hard to convince him to go. He had just taken his first yoga class a couple of weeks earlier, and he loved it. What's more, the two-hour couples yoga class was going to be capped off with an awesome Indian buffet, catered by Zaroka.
That's all he needed to hear. Ian was in. "Sure. Yeah. Let's go." So I signed us up, and off we went.
It also helped that our friends Jim and Jesseca were going to be there, too, although Jim didn't know that yet.
We arrived at the studio on Putnam Ave. It's a converted former firehouse with high ceilings and great, expansive hardwood floors. I had studied there for my 200 hour yoga teacher certification, and whenever I return to that studio it feels like home. I'm so comfortable there. At the risk of sounding like a dippy hippie, the place has a great "vibe". I mentioned this to Ian as we rolled out our mats and set up our little yoga nest for the night.
"Yeah, well...I'm sure this place was home to lots of stag parties and lots of bad things back in the day," he snickered.
"You know...do you have to go and ruin it?"
"I'm just sayin'...it was a firehouse, Moira."
The place was packed. They clearly overbooked, and the couple running the class even said as much. But we all managed to fit in--there's always room to squeeze one more body into a class. Space in yoga class is kind of like a loaves-and-fishes scenario. There's always enough, even when it seems impossible.
Bill and Kristin were a couple of cute, newlywed yogis running the class, and they eased us into the night with some simple poses. There was a lot of yoga-talk, obviously, with references to "heart-opening" and "energy" and even "the clear, cloudless blue sky of the heart".
Ian is not a macho man. Yeah, he's a gearhead, and yeah he loves baseball...and even hockey. But he prefers European bikes to Harleys. He's not much of a football fan, and although he LOVES Formula One racing and other European circuits, he never watches Nascar. In other words, he's a snobby gearhead. A snobby gearhead who likes nice watches, herbal tea, and a can of PBR. The guy is full of contradictions, which is one of the reasons why I love him.
And there he was: A snobby, tea-drinking gearhead in yoga class with his little fiancee who has been doing yoga for 11 years. There might be nothing macho about him, but he's still very much a "dude". And the dial on his dude-gauge was turned up just a little bit that night for the occasion.
Bill and Kristin brought us into easy pose (cross legged, or "Indian style"), facing each other with our hands intertwined. They then instructed us to bring our foreheads together and gaze into each other's eyes, as we contemplated our heart chakras opening. As we brought our foreheads together, the look in Ian's eyes was an unmistakable, "WTF?"
We pressed our "third eyes" together. "I wish Leo was here to see this," Ian whispered. Leo is the old and old-school bartender of Rudy's infamy. The thought of him witnessing this scene made me crack up. And of course, since the room of 60 people was absolutely quiet and peaceful, I couldn't stop laughing.
I tried to keep a straight face. Bill continued guiding us through a meditation of sorts. "Imagine the deep, blue skies of your partner's heart..."
Ian whispered. "Football. I need to watch football."
I was shaking with stifled hysterics, with silly noises escaping me like bad gas that has nowhere to go but OUT.
Bill continued on, saying something about the songs in our hearts.
"Nascar," Ian whispered.
That did it. It's a wonder I didn't piss my pants. I felt like I was back in Catholic School with Renee, trying so hard not to laugh during the consecration at First Friday mass. I could barely keep it together.
The rest of the night proceeded similarly, with other couples clearly experiencing the same, stifled--and in some cases, explosive--laughter during various poses. The first hour of the class went by quickly, and then it was time to give each other a Thai massage. It felt AMAZING. To cap that off with a full plate of yummies from Zaroka was just bliss.
Jim and Jesseca seemed to have a good time. They positioned their mats in front of us, and we chatted it up for a long time during dinner after class had ended. They had wisely brought clothes to wear out for a drink after class. Not us. We didn't think that far ahead. The Playwright across the street from the studio beckoned, but we didn't budge. Well, Ian didn't budge. "I'm not going out for a beer in my pajamas," he announced. Fair enough. Girls might look cute in yoga gear. It's a different story for guys.
We drove home, totally relaxed, yawning, bellies full of good food. There was something so absolutely beautiful about spending those two hours together on the mat, trusting that each would support the other in poses that were absolutely foreign to most of the men in the class. It felt great to laugh together over nothing but the pure enjoyment and silliness of each moment and pose. It was a real lesson for how we should approach all of life together as a couple. We can support each other and trust each other. We can lose our balance and get back up again. We can try new things and have fun with them. If something doesn't feel right to one or both of us, we don't have to do it. We can hold hands and laugh through it all.
And if we're at a loss as to what to make of a situation, we can always ask ourselves "What would Leo think?" If we still don't get an answer, we'll just throw on a football game.