My first time being a Gorilla Yogi

I have a friend named Heather who is living out the cool-urban-tatooed-pierced lifestyle that I always pined over in my adolescence but never quite made it into as an adult. 

This may be how I feel on the inside...but yeah, I didn't turn out to be that kind of girl.

It seems as thought I have been forever cast as the suburban friend to all nice hipsters and punks that cross my path, and I’m trying to learn to be cool with that instead of wishing I was a different kind of person. <Sigh.> 

 Anyway, this friend had mentioned to me that she was part of a group of people who met monthly and had entire yoga classes outside in really public areas of the twin cities – parks, busy streets downtown, zoos, anywhere!   They were called Gorilla Yogis, and the next meetup was in July at a very busy public park.  I immediately got all excited and wanted to jump right on that bandwagon – I love all these things! Yoga AND being outdoors AND non-mainstream activities?? I’m there.  But then I wondered….Am I going to feel secure enough to get out there in my spandex and join in with people who were probably going to be a lot more fit than me?  My old junior high gym class insecurities popped up, and my “doing physical things in front of people who are thinner than me” monster who has been following me since I was 13 woke up.  I suddenly felt disappointed and kind of tired. 

I thought about it for a few more days, and I realized that one of the major things I really dig about yoga is the ability to let my body dictate how far into the practice I am able to get.  That is to say, everyone who was going be at an event playing up how great yoga is was going to be working at their own pace and doing things as they could – it is a practice that centers on the self and your own improvements after all.   Also, I figured it was going to be pretty hard for anyone to be judgy or snooty when we all have our asses up in the air doing our best downward dog. So why not?  I decided to go, and my friend and I showed up on the day of the event with our yoga mats, our water bottles, and yes, our spandex. 

It was great. 🙂  The energy of the crowd was more focused on having fun and doing fantastic yoga in front of the packs of families and seniors walking by than it was on ranking their fellow yogis on how good or bad they looked or practiced.  It was, in fact, so supportive that I didn’t even get self-conscious when people would stop on the sidewalk and take pictures of us, or when old men would sit on park benches and watch the group of 50 or so people all standing with their hands in prayer pose.  I was good!  I felt happy to be there, and glad I knew how to do most of the poses from my workouts at home.

That is, until I did something crazy to my right leg.

I was happily moving from pose to pose, enjoying my flexibility and the camaraderie of group yoga, when something inside my hip got very mad and let me know about it.  Here, this is a picture of me at the event:

No.  Not the super fit woman in black leading the class.  Look again.



Yes, there I am in all my pink and black outdoor-yogi glory.  This pic was pre-injury, and I’m looking pretty relaxed and flexible here.

10 minutes later, as I was transitioning into Warrior 2 position, there was a loud and concerning *POP* that came from my right hip joint and I’m pretty sure I made a noise like “aaahck”.  Thank goodness I had already made it into the next pose, the shock of whatever my body had just done left me standing there with my arms spread out thinking “I wonder if I’m going to be able to stand up straight with everyone else when it’s time to move?”.  Luckily, I did manage myself out of the spread-legged pose as the class moved into a standing forward fall.  I had no idea what could have made the horrible sound… my hip joint? A tendon? A ligament? A hamstring? And why the pop?  I still have no idea.  But I do know that once the class was over and I was relaxing on my friend’s couch a few hours later, I was considerably more sore and stiff and sporting a noticeable limp when I got up to go home.  Pretty hot.

So now here I am, a month and a half later, and I am really missing my yoga!  I have tried to coax my body into it slowly by breaking out an old favorite yoga DVD, but that right hamstring is having nothing to do with it.  My left leg, no problem!  I can stretch and bend and lunge all day long.  But that right one…well, she’s still mad at me for trying to do yoga on lumpy grass and overextending myself.  I can’t decide if it’s better for me to try to stretch it slowly and work my way back into it, or leave it the hell alone and just focus on the nice easy movements that come with running.  It appears that moving my leg forward and backwards = no problem; moving in any sort of leg spreading/triangle shaped pose = massive ouches.   Maybe pilates is the answer!  I remember a nice stretchy pilates band in my workout room, that sounds just about perfect for a gimpy leg.   Hmmm…

There is another Gorilla Yogi event coming up, and I hope I will be able to go.  But if not, I can’t wait until next spring when I can start it all over again.  If things go as planned, I will be a smaller version of myself and I will try to remember to take things nice and easy so as never to hear a horrible pop coming from any part of me again.


One response to this post.

  1. Hope your right leg will realize what it is missing out on, Gorilla yogi-wise.


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