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I Practice Rock Band Instead of Yoga

  • April 6, 2009

When the offspring started school last fall I decided I would start attending yoga class with Amy. I tend to be a bit high-strung, and hyper, and thought yoga might chill me out a little. I’d always been a cardio queen and I thought practicing yoga would be a healthy alternative to banging away on the StairMaster for forty-five minutes while I read Us Weekly. I bought a pink yoga mat and thought about all the new yoga outfits I would buy.

I imagined I’d feel a bit like Jennifer Aniston, or Gwyneth Paltrow as I breezed off to class in my yoga capri pants and ponytail. I’d probably have to call around to find a place that had lots of classes because I’d be so dedicated to my new yoga practice I wouldn’t want to skip a single day. Bikram, Ashtanga, Hatha, Vinyasa, hot yoga, I’d try them all until I decided on a favorite.

For my first yoga class, I wore a baggy pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt. Even though I was sure I’d love yoga, I wanted to get a feel for the most comfortable yoga wear and thought I’d see what Amy and some of the other class members recommended. I also paid for an individual class versus a package even though I knew I’d be totally in love with yoga after my first session.

The instructor’s voice was soothing and calm. It was quiet and there were candles and soft music. The class lasted an hour and at the end, we laid on the floor in the dark covered with blankets to keep us warm. Everyone seemed relaxed and refreshed when the lights came back on.

Unfortunately, I’d never been so bored in my entire life.

Seriously, for me it was like watching paint dry and I don’t think you’re supposed to be all “clock-watchy” in yoga class. And the poses were really uncomfortable. I hadn’t yet lost the twenty three pounds I’m no longer carrying around so perhaps I was not as bendy as I’d be now. I also failed to achieve any kind of zen-like state but that was probably because my sweat pants were wedged pretty far up my ass crack after the instructor asked us to do something I’ll call “pretzel pose”. I wondered if Jennifer or Gywneth had ever given themselves a wedgie in yoga class.

I think I’m just incompatible with yoga and maybe my inner chakras can only be balanced by faster and louder methods. I know there are several different types of yoga and there is probably a kind I’d enjoy more but I just don’t have the motivation to find it. Amy loves yoga so I’m kind of disappointed that I don’t like it as much as she does as it would have been an activity we could have done together. I gave up on yoga and went back to my cardio workouts.

One night at Julie and Dean’s we played Rock Band. I had never played and failed out of the song a quarter of the way through. I was on guitar and couldn’t believe how fast the notes appeared on the screen.

The offspring really liked Rock Band so we bought it for our house. Matthew and Dave hooked everything up to the old big screen TV in the basement.

Matthew instantly became proficient on the drums, utilizing skills inherently present in most nine and a half year old boys. It took me a little longer to get up to speed on guitar but I was surprised at how well I was playing in just a few days. Until then, I’d been convinced that I didn’t possess any eye-hand coordination at all.

Matthew and I played a lot over spring break. We had our favorites and we also started playing the World Tour option which allowed us to unlock new songs. One Friday night Matthew and I unlocked new songs for an hour and a half until he told me he wanted to go to bed because he was really tired (I kinda wanted to keep going but it was 10:00 and past his bedtime).

I noticed that the more I played the guitar, the more I was unable to think about anything other than the notes coming at me. I am the queen of multi-tasking but with Rock Band I have no choice but to focus because if I’m not paying attention, I will miss a note. I can’t answer anyone’s questions and I don’t want to carry on a conversation either. I can feel my mood improve after playing one or two songs and I can sense my whole body relaxing. I asked Julie if she noticed playing Rock Band relaxed her and she said yes. I told her Rock Band could be my yoga.

Matthew and I played after dinner one night last week. He left after a while to go play outside with Lauren. I kept strumming and when I finally came out of my zen-like trance I was shocked to discover I had been playing the guitar for almost forty-five minutes straight. And P.S.? Metallica’s “Battery” is really hard and requires super-human concentration.

You would think I’d play worse when I’m drinking but add wine and I become the housewife version of Eddie Van Halen. One or two glasses of cabernet sauvignon and all of a sudden I’m not missing many notes at all.

We’ve never had a video game in our house before. It’s not that I’m against them or anything but since the kids had never shown much interest I didn’t think there was any reason to bring one home. But Santa brought the wii and wii fit for Christmas and we’re slowly buying new games for it.

Rock Band is great because it’s a family friendly game and it’s something Dave and I can play with the offspring. And it’s a hell of a lot more fun than playing with Legos or something from My Little Pony.

I still do a lot of cardio. Frankly it’s the only thing that keeps me sane and if I didn’t do it I’d probably need Prozac. But I’m also realizing how effective a video game can be in quieting all the clutter in my head.

Matthew and I played alot of Rock Band on Sunday and I didn’t feel guilty at all since it snowed the entire day. Matthew wanted me to challenge myself by playing on medium difficulty since easy is getting, well, pretty easy. I’m not that good, but I’m getting better every day and will probably play on medium difficulty from now on.

It’s going to take a little longer to master Metallica though.

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