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Some friends and I got together last Friday to try out the Restorative Yoga class at my gym. Now, like any self-respecting 26-year-old, I’ve spent plenty of time at yoga. I’ve sat cross-legged on more mats than I’d like to count, groaned my way through a series of Downward Dogs, and uttered Namaste with the best of them.
Except that I was the worst of them. I can’t do Downward Dog and my mind races right through the class’s most meditative moments. The minute I get to yoga, I flash back to my anti-athletic youth—chosen last for sports teams and faking injuries to get out of running laps. Then I think about all the work I have to do and how I’m going to pay my bills. By the time my 10 minutes of meditation are over, I’m in the middle of a panic attack complete with a fluttering heartbeat and the sweats. At least I look like I’ve had a workout.
That’s why Restorative Yoga is so good for me. My gym advertises it as more relaxing than sleep. And it’s just about as strenuous, too. Restoration Yoga involves lying face down on a pile of blankets, turning your head from one side to the other. An instructor slowly makes the rounds, lightly rubbing your back and spreading a blanket over you if you’re cold. It’s heaven, if heaven were naptime.
In fact, my only problem with Restorative Yoga is that I find the name deceptive. It isn’t exercise. It’s a way for young professionals, primarily women, to have an hour of infancy, curled up in a fetal position while a nurturing mother figure caters to our needs.
Which is why I don’t think men should be the only ones accused of arrested development these days. When the movie Knocked Up came out, critics seized on the guys reluctant to give up their pot and porn. The Nation’s Katha Pollitt wrote, “the real subject of Knocked Up is the immaturity of men: only under the most desperate circumstances will they put aside their bongs, or their porn, or their even more idiotic friends.” Perhaps. But I think women have their Peter Pan moments, too. Just take the estrogen-fest of Restorative Yoga.