Vacations are only successful if you break routines and try new things, someone once told me. It’s good advice that I solemnly repeat, with eyebrows waggling, to My Love whenever we throw down (waggle) our baggage (wagglewaggle) on the bed (wagglewagglewaggle) at our latest holiday destination.
She always obliges immediately, offering to swap sides of the mattress we sleep on.
Hence, I enthusiastically supported My Love's decision to spice up our annual beach trip this year by bringing in an outsider to loosen us up.
Yes, she hired a yoga instructor who makes house calls.
Morning stretches on the warm sand.
A symphony of seagulls and crashing waves in our ears.
The scent of undispersed BP crude lubricating our lungs.
If anything, it would have to be better than my last attempt at yoga. (For those to lazy to click the link, that consisted of me prone on a cold basement floor getting the heebie-jeebies, via grainy videotape, from a sculpted and oily yogi dude with a hipster ponytail who kept urging me to get in touch with myself and breeeeeeathe.)
This go-round, we started with a perfect harmonic convergence. Not between body and spirit nor, more likely, my body and alcoholic spirits. The great unification occurred between our scheduled yoga time and high tide.
As my swimming skills are suspect, we immediately moved to the second-floor deck of the beach house. This higher elevation should have offered us a stellar view of the Atlantic waters gently caressing the shore or, at a minimum, the waters carrying off the lounge chairs we had left a too close to the shore overnight. Instead, the rising sun blinded us as it focused down like God's own laser pointer.
"Petey? See these two?"
"Which two, God? Those freaks Heidi and Spencer at it again?"
"No! Right there! No! There! Those doofs on the deck! Jesus!"
"Not now, Dad! I'm trying to, uh, take the shower!"
"Sorry about that, son. And drop it. You really think I don't know what you're up to just because you pulled a few clouds around you?"
When I managed to see through my own perspiration and stench, I focused as best I could on our instructor. She was what you'd expect: toned, tanned, voice like liquid Smart Balance "butter." She also had a slight gap in between her front teeth. This made her bear an uncanny resemblance to the sister of a friend of mine, assuming said sister had giving up her habits of eight reality shows, two packs of smokes and case of Miller Lite a day. This image, along with my complete lack of coordination, contributed to an incongruity between my mind and body that not only prevented me from focusing on my breathing while trying to fold and unfold myself like an origami crane but also made briefly forget how to breathe.
INSTRUCTOR: "Breathe in. Feel your bellybutton rise slightly with the motion."
UNCOOL BRAIN: Wait -- wait! My bellybutton's going down. Quick - exhale. Exhale and reboot.
INSTRUCTOR: "Now, slowly breathe out through your mouth. Notice your bellybutton as it falls slightly."
UNCOOL BRAIN: Exha- … ack! No air! Inhale, inhale! Through my mouth or nose? Why is my belly button moving the opposite way again? Is it? AHHH! I can't feel my belly button! Where is it?! AHHH!
(Ironic realization: As a blogger, you would think I'd be better at naval gazing.)
At last, something started to click.
A warm, soothing calmness flowed through my limbs. My eyes closed, and I listened for my own heart beating.
And there it was: low, steady, pumping, thumping like a 10-year-old girl bouncing up the deck stairs, one wooden tread at a time …
"Daddy," Thing 1 called, "do you know where there's a plunger?"