It was a cold Saturday in late February. A light wind whispered through the bare tree branches. I walked into the Box like many times before, ready for the team WOD. I thought I was ready for the yoga class that followed. It was just going to be some sitting cross-legged on a mat with some light stretching, right? No sweat. I can handle that… I was wrong.
We lost a good man that day…
I had seen that CrossFit Frederick had a new yoga instructor, Gabby, running classes on Saturdays at 10:15 AM. Over the years I had heard several people at the Box say “I wish they had yoga here.” Many were really excited to hear that yoga was coming to CFF. I figured a yoga class was like what they showed on TV, a bunch of people sitting quietly on their mats doing some gentle stretching. At the time, my shoulder was really sore and I figured some easy stretches would be good for it.
We cleaned up after the team WOD; I downed a quick shake and unrolled my mat. We had a good turn out for the first yoga class, about 15-18 of us. Gabby got right into it. I don’t remember the first stretches we did, but I’ll never forget the core work that came next. Leg raises… A lot of them. All the way up to 90 degrees and 45-degree and 15-degree holds. A slew of expletives were expelled from our mouths as we gasped for air, abs on fire. Gabby cracked a smile. Not a wicked “Amanda” smile, but more of a “who are these people?” smile. I guess CrossFit types blurting out 4-letter words aren’t her normal clientele. She offered the encouragement that we were almost done… Almost done with the core exercises, that is.
We moved right into the next series of movements. I came to learn that this was “the flow”, meaning there is no stopping, just transitioning from one series of poses to the next. We did many Chaturangas, a sort of push up movement, and upward and downward dogs, variations of pikes and planks. The repetition gives you plenty of time to get comfortable with the poses, and that was good because they were all foreign to me. I lost track of time, but I guessed we had been there awhile by the growing pool of sweat on my mat. But we weren’t done just yet.
Lunges, twists; balancing on one leg. I can’t remember how many times I had to use my arm to brace my fall. I felt like I was miserably failing a roadside sobriety test. The poses gradually increased in difficulty, but there was always a way to scale it to your ability, and you could take a break if you felt you needed to.
Next up, the crow pose where you press your hands to the ground while leaning forward and balancing, resting your knees on your triceps, with your feet off the ground. I wasn’t expecting to be able to do it, but I tried. The fact that my arms were slick with sweat did not make this any easier. My knees wanted to slide down my arms. I was shaking, waiting for the face plant, but it never came. A brief victory. For a moment, I considered joining the circus.
But somewhere during all of this, a friend hit his wall. He was completely drained and spent the rest of the class sprawled out on his mat. Man down.