Giga Om

Finding center amid uncontrolled chaos

As I write this, my fiancé and I are in the midst of trying (operative word) to write our vows. It’s surprisingly difficult, made worse by all the people who say, “But you’re a writer!” as though encapsulating love into a few pithy, hopefully somewhat entertaining sentences is something any writer has ever actually accomplished.

In fact, I could be writing my vows right now. Instead, I’m writing this.

Maybe part of why the vows are challenging is that there’s just so much else to do. There’s the wedding, which we’re planning ourselves. (Word to the wise, which I ignored at my own peril: Get a wedding planner .) There’s the decision to move out of our house in Santa Fe two days before the wedding, and then to move across the country to San Francisco two days after the wedding. It’s hard to tell which of us has it harder: me, starting my new gig the day we arrive, or him, having to find a gig the day we arrive. And then there’s Steve, our dog, who in the height of irony happens to have a hormone disorder that impedes his ability to deal with stress.

It’s like some kind of bad joke that, on top of all this, I thought it might be a good idea to add just one more thing: yoga.

I’ve dabbled in yoga before, but I was never a convert. Struggling to breathe in a hot room? Ick. That’s why I live here, not in Albuquerque. Moving slowly? Nah, I’d rather run. Listening to New Age mumbo-jumbo? Definitely not for me. Also, I’m not a fan of the show-offy workout: I don’t wear makeup to the gym, and my T-shirts never match my socks. When friends invited me, I smugly told them that I “don’t do yoga.”

Then, a few months ago, something changed.

The first time I walked into

(333 W Cordova Road, 986-0362), things didn’t look good. It was fancy, and there was soothing music playing. People padded around in their bare feet, calmly greeting each other with perfectly toned arms. I felt ugly, sweaty and fat.

However, it’s no secret that I’m stubborn and not into the whole backing-down thing. So I marched up to the counter and prepared to shell out too much money.

“You should get the 7-day pass,” the receptionist advised. (First-time locals can attend unlimited yoga classes for a week, for just $7—half the price of a single drop-in class.) I did, and—also being cheap—embarked on a yoga-packed week.

At first, I was awkward as a baby walrus on a Jet Ski. From the back of the room, I tried to mimic the toned-arm girls as they did push-up-style poses and other intimidating things. My arms wobbled and collapsed like Jell-O. I fell over unexpectedly, once onto my face. I sweated profusely, turning my borrowed yoga mat into a Slip ‘N Slide. I’ve never felt so ungraceful.

This is exactly what was attractive about it, though: I could see exactly how far I had to go—and how badass it looks when you get there. And unlike with our unending list of Things To Do Right Fucking Now at home, I couldn’t force myself to go faster. I had to be patient, practice, and work slowly toward a less-awkward yogic existence.

Also, there was shavasana—“corpse pose,” the moments of lying on your back, eyes closed, having just made it through what usually amounted to a tough workout. Kids get to do this (and, lucky for them, it’s generally followed by snacktime), but adults usually don’t. Lying there like a corpse in the middle of the day—more than the New Agey wisdom (which there’s plenty of) or even the poses themselves—is a sweet, wonderful way to feel like things are going to be OK.

And just like that, I was addicted. I go to yoga almost daily now, slowly working my way toward crow pose in the face of total chaos.

And it kind of works. Just recently, as I sweated out the previous night’s poor decision-making, I realized that there’s one thing that, despite or because of all the chaos, makes me feel truly calm: the fact that I’m marrying the most wonderful person in the world. Namaste, rest of my life.

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