Wednesday was a big day of almost-firsts. In the morning, I went to my first yoga class in *cough* four years. I haven't been since moving to Australia, but my neighbourhood/suburb has more than its share of yoga studios. At 9am I looked up the studios near me, and found a 90-minute, $12 beginner session starting at 9:30. I packed a bag and got there just in time, and it was excellent.
We "ohmmmed" in what sounded like harmony. I only had my form corrected once, in cat pose. The only time I felt fully ridiculous was when we did alternate nostril breathing. I mean, really - you cross your index and middle fingers and put them on your third eye, which leaves your ring finger free to block one nostril and your thumb to block the other. I caught the eye of the girl next to me and it was clear she was also trying not to giggle.
Our instructor, Dan, used the "correct" term to explain the other type of breathing we learned - it meant, using the muscles you'd use to clear your throat. But the correct term didn't mean anything to me, so I was glad when he added, "Some yogis call it Darth Vader breathing." Aha! I can do that.
The best part of the class was definitely the relaxation at the end - once again, the "correct" term is beyond me. Dan got up very quietly while the rest of us were resting on our backs, eyes closed. I heard music, and after a moment, realised it was live. Not only was Dan singing to us, he was accompanying himself on his guitar! And it was great. Live music for a cool-down in yoga class was definitely a first.
This post is interrupted by a photo of my new shoes, which I purchased on Wednesday - but they are not an almost-first. Aren't they cute? I love the cutouts. They're mostly for work (the six weeks I have left, anyway) and I can see myself wearing them with a favourite casual dress as well.
My evening brought another almost-first: driving lessons! I drove a teeny tiny bit in Canada but never liked it, and I still recall how shaky my legs were after my first lesson. At one point a well-meaning guy friend tried to teach me how to drive his truck (sorry about the gear box, Brhett) and a short-lived boyfriend tried once too, in a department store parking lot. Both lessons ended in frustration and were never repeated.
Since Jody and I bought a little manual hatchback ('08 Toyota Yaris) in February and I applied for a Queensland learners license, last night was our first chance to take me out to practice. Since I've never successfully driven a stick shift, and never driven on the left side of the road, we knew we couldn't just start by driving to somewhere. So we found a deserted stretch of straight road along the river, and I practiced starting. Shifting into first. Applying gas and shifting into second, then gearing down and coming to a stop. Reversing. Of course I stalled, but it wasn't as terrifying as my first-ever lesson. Jody explained things when I asked, and otherwise said very little, to allow me time to think. Almost-first lesson with a gear shift? Success!