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There are exactly three times in my normal life in which I feel graceful:
- When I'm dancing around my apartment to Postmodern Jukebox.
- When I'm scurrying over rocks while I'm hiking. Seriously, I've been told I'm like a goat. I think goats can be graceful.
- In my yoga class.
OK. Up until yesterday I felt graceful in my yoga class. Yesterday I felt more like "The Incredible Hulk." Louise smashed. Now I have a bruise on my ass.
Here's how it went down:
I went to my usual 5pm yoga class at my lovely, peaceful yoga studio in Chinatown. I like this studio because it's small, sparse, and after class I can treat myself to a giant, red bean jin dui (sweet rice ball) at my favorite Chinese bakery. It's calming to my mind, body, and stomach -- win, win, and win.
The class was going great. We were doing back bends and shoulder openers. I love classes like this because I have a weirdly flexible back and shoulders and I'm able to easily bend and fold and pretzel myself up with little discomfort.
I admit I got a little cocky. I actually remember thinking mid-class, "Chill out, Hung. Get that ego in check, or you're going to fall flat on your face." I wish I'd listened to myself, though it wasn't my face I had to worry about.
As the class progressed, my teacher started preparing us for handstands. I perked up. I really like inversions. I like the rush of watching the world flip upside down for a little bit. I'm typically fairly adept at them. Typically.
Being in a multi-level class, my teacher gave us a few options for the inversion ranging from simply doing a handstand prep, to getting our legs halfway up the wall at a right angle, to doing a handstand against the wall, to doing a full, unassisted handstand.
I'd like to note here that my clumsiness was in no way the fault of my yoga teacher. She calmly encouraged us to challenge ourselves but reminded us not to do anything we weren't ready to do. She offered assistance and checked in on each of us in the small class. I own my clumsiness.
Anyway, I went through the various stages, then, because I was having a good day -- feeling strong, feeling supple -- I decided to kick myself up into a handstand against the wall.
This was my fatal error.
As I flipped my feet up and found the wall behind me, I felt my left shoulder wobble. Hmm. Like I said I have really loose shoulders, shoulders that can do this:
Once in a while, like a hiccup or when you yawn really big and spit projectile squirts out of your mouth accidentally, my shoulder involuntarily does this thing that I can only describe as slightly sliding out of joint. Unfortunately, as I tried to right myself in the handstand, my shoulder did just that. And down I began to fall.
It happened in a split second, but I guess reflexively realizing what was happening, I curled myself up into a twisted little ball.
I heard gasps. I heard a BOOM. I was curled up on the floor.
Not being a stranger to falling down in public, I immediately sprang up, pointer fingers aimed skyward (???), and pronounced "I'm OK! I'm OK!" to my horrified class and teacher.
As everybody stared at me, and my teacher all but scooped me up and rocked me in her arms, I noticed some eyes going to the wall behind me. Turning, that's when I saw it.
The hole. The butt-shaped, butt level hole in the wall. I made a butt hole.
And that's when the tears welled up.
It's one thing to fall down in class, I've done that hundreds of times, it's another thing entirely to CAUSE DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY WITH ONE'S BUTT.
Thinking I was hurting, my teacher calmly asked me to sit down and started interrogating me about the state of my head, neck, and spine. "I'm fine, I'm fine, really. I just, I just, I broke Mary's wall!" (Mary is the studio owner.)
Assuring me that it wasn't the first time something like this had happened in a yoga class, and also assuring me that Mary would just be happy that I was OK, my teacher decided to continue on with class -- in a much more relaxing mode.
We lay on our backs, we stretched, we calmed our minds. At least, I tried to. Mortified and guilt-ridden over how much it would cost to fix the studio's wall (it's a small, local studio, really a labor of love), I tried to breath deeply through my lumpy throat and teary eyes.
Finally class ended, and I was swarmed with the other students making sure I was OK and telling me how scary my fall looked. I was grateful for the kindness from my classmates, but all the attention and fawning just made me tear up again. Not only had I fallen, broken a wall with my ass, terrified some of the newer practitioners, and disrupted class, but now I was crying amongst strangers. HUMAN FEELINGS IN PUBLIC, NOOOOOOOOOO.
I hurried out of the studio and immediately texted my husband to tell him we needed to get Indian food and wine that night so I could assuage my embarrassment.
Which brings me to here. My butt is a little bruised, and so my ego, but I'm still most certainly fine. I emailed the studio's owner, whom I know, and offered to pay for the fixing of her wall. It isn't very often in life that you get to write an email with the line, "I'm so sorry I fell and broke your wall."
But I guess I shouldn't be so surprised. Nobody else who knows me seems that shocked. When I texted my friend to share the horror, she was concerned, but she still said, "Of COURSE that happened to you. Was it high kicks this time?"
So yeah, I can be accident-prone. When I go too many days without incident, I begin to wonder. Maybe it's self fulfilling?
I plan to go back to yoga class tomorrow. I will probably choose to stay right-side up, and I will confront the Louise's Ass-shaped hole in the studio wall. (Another phrase one does not often expect to write in life.)
So that's my latest exhibition of klutziness. When I shared my fall from grace with the editors, I was heartened and encouraged by this response from Alison: "There is comfort in knowing others are out there breaking the world."
So how are you out there breaking the world? What are your klutziest moments? How have you embarrassed yourself lately? Tell us! Awkwardness loves company.