“Mama in the Time of Corona” or “This is Your YOGA on Corona”
A SERIES, PART TWO. One woman’s take on modern life, a deadly virus, and the consequent what-the-F sandwich.
by Erin Ryan Burdette
Before the virus, I sweat copiously Hatha yoga 5 days a week at a nearby studio. In that retro Hippie playground, I could disappear for an hour, sweat, shower, and come out feeling better than I did on the way in. This helped not only me, but those I run into (literally, metaphorically) like in traffic and my husband and children. Of course, the studio, like everything else, is closed now (thanks, Corona!).
I explored the streaming class online from my studio but found myself missing the real thing, no doubt tangentially related to my absurd inability to find balance on the cramped upstairs media-room carpet. (It’s not shag, but damn, ya’ll.) Not to be deterred, I decided on the Peloton app. Turns out it’s not just for cyclers, yo! Who knew? I’m sure tons of people. But if you happen to be like me and clueless, in addition to cycling, fyi, Peloton offers classes in strength training, meditation, yoga, and stretching. Of course, they do.
Live various levels and classes featuring sparkly A+ teachers who give shout outs from the leaderboard to names like “CaliBoyMom72” or “LouIForgotMyMantra.” Sure, the yoga is more flow and power, more down dogs and warrior ones and twos to my usual 26 set postures, but what the hell, how bad could it be? Try something new! I chirp this internally much like I torture my daughter on occasion with comparable upbeat bullshit and understand viscerally how spot-on she is to find me tedious and annoying. Note to self.
Nonetheless. I put on my workout clothes, roll out my yoga mat, get my hair in a ponytail and turn on Apple TV. (Ironically, I happen to know one of the Peleton instructors from high school; he is in preposterously good shape that makes me want to stress cram chocolate, but that’s not important now.). My teacher pops up on the screen. She’s all health and smiles and cute yoga gear. And ya’ll, she is SO HAPPY to see me. God, I don’t want to disappoint her. I’m sweaty and apologetic and we haven’t started. LITERALLY NO ONE CAN SEE ME. My first sun salutation is shit, but again, I’m alone in the discomfort of my OWN HOME. Slowly as I move, my body starts to wake up, to remember.
I’m going for my warrior one the first time it happens.
The screen glitches where that little circle spins like it’s coming back any second. Only it doesn’t. It freezes. She stays unnaturally in her flawless frozen downward dog about two minutes just to rub it in.
“Honey,” I scream at my tech-worthy 16-year-old son downstairs, “help!” He appears eating a bowl of Mini Wheats, messes with the receiver a bit and shrugs, “don’t use WIFI, try cellular” before abandoning me. Teacher’s back in an impressive Chataranga, Nora Jones cooing in the background. I got this. Stretch head to toes — experience the first full breath I’ve had in —
My husband sticks his head in the door, “Don’t use the shower, I just poured in another bottle of Drano” before shutting me back in. I squash the urge to scream after him, “Would you call the plumber?” or the no less antagonistic, “How much money have you spent on Drano?”
I say none of these things. I’m a practitioner of yoga, for fuck’s sake. Deep breath.
She’s back, she’s blond, and her ponytail is inviting. “Lengthen from your core” and “Your hips are the basement of your house!” What does this mean exactly?
If she says anything about “junk in the trunk” I will not in good faith be able to continue. I cannot ask for her feedback, of course, as she’s not really here, just a frozen facsimile mid mega-smile with the swirly gray circle giving me the middle finger. I close my eyes just in time to hear my daughter scream incomprehensibly downstairs.
Chata FUCKING ranga, motherfuckers! Can I cuss on Medium?
Yoga flow, my ass! False advertising! Yoga stop and start. Yoga make me want to kill somebody.
Oh look, squirrel! Teacher’s back, who knows for how long — in time to say a couple phrases, “Get your blocks — shout out to NamaStaci for 100 classes!” NamaStaci? Screen stick. Again, she defies gravity.
As if she can sense I’m fondling the remote about to turn her OFF, she’s appears full force, “Your thighs are on fire!” Thanks. Her tenacity reminds me of Linda what’s her name used to be married to James Cameron in The Terminator. “Now into pigeon — ” she guides me, he voice oddly soothing, as. if it is only me to whom she is speaking. I know what pigeon is supposed to look like! — it’s important to remain positive — I kneel with some small semblance of confidence, get into position with my knees underneath my armpits, push myself up, balance a glorious split second, and fall forward on my head. It seems like I’m kidding but I’m actually not. I hit my ear on the corner of the TV table.
Now if someone had witnessed this farce with me (my big sister or my best friend) I would laugh uproariously despite my throbbing ear, bc I know that shit looked hilarious, but that’s like, the whole point, right — no one is with me, so this can’t be funny, so instead of laughing I want to cry. I want to shriek and kick and tantrum. I’m stuck at home and I’m alone and who knows for how long— okay, my family is here, but they don’t count, I’m the mom, the go to, not the other way around, and my husband, God love him, were I to tell him of wounded ear and pride, would sweetly suggest a walk, so rational and grounded: what am I supposed to do with that?) — meanwhile, I’m hungry and we have nothing but Trader Joe fish sticks not even ketchup and can’t hop in the car to the grocery. Everything has officially become a big deal.
I hate yoga, and stretching, high school and health, deep breaths, stress management, the aging process, the necessity of plumbers, Drano, carpet, fish sticks, NamaStaci and the goddamn fucking quarantine.
And there’s no one here to remind me that I don’t actually feel that way. That I’m lucky and STFU. You know?