Looking in my closet, I’m trying to pick an outfit that says, “I yoga, I’m cool too.” Like my first day of school, I’m headed out the door with a green shirt (signifying my heart Chakra?), a notebook, yoga mat and a belly full of butterflies. As a man, I feel very exposed as I prepare for this course and the words, “What are you getting yourself into?” reel through my head. Seriously, all I can imagine is a room full of crystal owning, tambourine playing yogis, clad in orange sheets asking me about my energy level and what my favorite flavor of tofu is. To which I would obviously reply, BACON, as everything tastes better with bacon.
Arriving at the location, I’m pleasantly surprised to see zero orange sheets and actually, normal looking people. I also quickly notice that, aside from a mentor who has already been through this, I’m the only guy in the group, which I figure is a good thing. The last thing I want right now is a pissing match over territory. Surrounded by 10 ladies, ego or not, I’m the last guy to back down from a fight. Do yoga people fight or is that against the rules? Regardless, showing up is half the battle, and so far, I’m still alive.
Elka quickly moves through introductions and everyone but me has some experience. But, I hold my butterflies down and repeat what the theme of the conversation seems to be, “I want to grow, learn, expand, and drink the universal nectar and…” As I go through the motions of fitting in, I start to wonder why I’m really here. There is no doubt I feel a pull to understand yoga and what it’s about. I also feel a void within myself that yoga is somehow going to fill. But, with butterflies flourishing in my belly, I’ll just stick to the talking points. With her thick Brazilian accent, Elka would say, “Dis is juss jor ego Adrian, don’t holl it back.”
The thick of this day starts out once the Prayer to Ganesha is passed out and practiced. Two hours ago I was pumping myself up with Dr. Dre and now I’m in a circle, hands in prayer position over my heart chanting 5,000 Sanskrit? As I said, I am not one to back down, but this is a little interesting to say the least. As if Elka is reading my mind, she explains that Ganesha is the remover of obstacles and we want to invite him into our consciousness so we can break down our personal barriers. As Elka explains, “This is a journey of trusting yourself and immersing yourself into the experience along the path to self-discovery. Allow yourself to surrender to this process so you can grow as a person. And remember, WE ARE JUST GETTING STARTED!”
As I look around the circle of my new group, I feel a slight sense of connectedness. Much like boarding an airplane together without really knowing our final destination. We’ve picked our seats, fastened our seatbelts and just started reading the safety manual as we ascend into the night.