Thursday, April 26, 2012

Best class at BYU.

Did I tell you guys? My mom, my brother and his wife AND my cousin all graduated from BYU last week! Sadly, I could not be there to cheer for them due to performing with EVMCO the very same day. I was really looking forward to getting some fudge from the Bookstore, having a J-Dawg and stuffing my face at Guru's.

(Apparently, all I did at BYU was eat.)

Anyway, in honor of their impressive accomplishments, I've decided to tell you about my most favorite-ever BYU class. It's been three years since I donned my navy cap and gown and pranced across the deJong Concert Hall stage to get my diploma. Remember?

Such a great day.

I can't say I loved every class I ever took at BYU. Some were downright pointless (American Heritage, I'm talkin' to you). Many were dampened by my morning sickness and a constant urge to vomit. Others were made miserable by my gigantic belly and accompanying sciatica. But there were a handful of courses I truly loved and would take again in a heartbeat if given the chance.

Today, I will tell you about the best one of all: Flexibility.

I was six months pregnant with Bubby and a sad sack of pathetic. It was Summer term, and I was in need of a few credits in order to maintain my scholarship. Being so large and in pain, I knew I didn't want to take something serious, or something that would require a lot of studying and homework. So I turned to the physical education classes, only to quickly realize I could not participate in any of them.

Except two: water aerobics (which was full, plus I didn't own a one-piece) and flexibility.

I'd heard the flexibility class was highly-coveted amongst Zoobies. I wasn't sure why -- girls in tight pants in provocative poses, maybe? -- but as soon as I saw it had ONE opening, I snagged it up. It wouldn't be available for long. God was definitely looking out for me that day.

I contacted the instructor and she thought the course would be low-impact (read: easy) enough for me to complete in my current state of gestation. I was so pumped! I was going to become so limber I wouldn't even need the stirrups during my next obstetric examination! And when it came time to push out my baby, I'd just collapse into a split and there she'd be.


Little did I know how absolutely radical this class is for pregnant women. Seriously, they should rename it "Third Trimester Bliss" because that's what it was.

The class was an hour long, but we got 10 minutes at both the beginning and end to change into our BYU-issued gym clothes. So that left 50 minutes of class time. We'd all meet our super-sweet instructor on the track in the Smith Fieldhouse to take a one-lap leisurely warm-up walk. Then, we'd head upstairs to the dance room where the real fun would begin.

Each of us would locate a squishy blue yoga mat in the back of the classroom, roll it out onto the floor in our desired spot and stand on it. The teacher, a cheerful, blond, 20-something master student, would then lead us in some very basic stretches while she discussed a health-related topic. One day, it was the benefit of eating nuts. Another, it was the crucial importance of drinking water. It was never anything scary or difficult to comprehend, mostly just common sense stuff. And the best part was, we didn't have to take notes or even remember these things. She assured us, it was "just for our information."

After about 20 minutes of stretching and smalltalk, the instructor would turn off the lights and put on some soothing music. We would then get cozy on our yoga mats and proceed to take a 15-minute nap while Dido or Kalai serenaded us to sleep.

Ok, you can stop laughing now. I'm not kidding.

I vividly remember the first day we had naptime. It was only about a week into the semester. For our lecture, we discussed the benefits of taking a 10-15 minute nap each day. The teacher told us that 10 minutes of napping buys you 3-4 hours of added energy. I was perplexed by this fact but I totally ate it up. Who wouldn't?

After our stretching and nap lecture, the teacher informed us she was going to provide us with this blessed naptime from here on out. During class. "Students are so busy and don't even have time to eat, let alone take a nap!" she chirped. How noble of her! As a pregnant woman, I was especially grateful for this unexpected benevolence. I may have even cried in hormonal joy.

At the end of the nap, the teacher would kindly wake us by turning the lights back on, one by one so as not to startle us into wakefulness. She really was a sweetheart.

Then, we'd lazily meander back to the locker room -- or in my case, to the bus stop -- I never bothered with bringing my clothing back and forth. I figured no one would care to see my inflated Beluga whale body in all its glory so I changed at home. Brilliant, because it meant I got to leave 10 minutes early every day.

The final exam was the crowning jewel of Flexibility. The teacher handed each of us a sheet of paper a few days before our exam was scheduled. The paper had about 10 questions on it, and each one inquired about something we had "learned" during our lectures. I momentarily panicked, thinking, She told us we wouldn't need to remember that stuff! LIAR! But my anger was quickly replaced with relief when she began to tell us each of the answers. "Just memorize these questions and answers, and be prepared to fill out this exact sheet again in a few days!"

It really was that easy. We even took our tests on yoga mats for old time's sake.

I don't know if BYU still offers Flexibility, or if it's still this easy, but I think every student should try to take it. I mean, you get to wear comfy clothes, stretch, learn about some inconsequential health topic, take a nap and earn half a credit for it. It basically rules.


  1. I didn't attend BYU, but while I was pregnant (at BYU because my husband attended) with my first, I found an old VHS of Denise Austin doin' some sweet 80s aerobics for pregnant people. I did it every other day (I walked from Wymount and up around the temple a few times on my other days - I don't want you to think I wasn't a really active, fit, super special and amazing pregnant person. Because I was. But just once - not the other times.). It was total Cheeseville, but the reason I did it was because it has stretching/meditation/naptime at the end of it. I was very eager to be a good pregnant person, so you KNOW I had to follow Denise's instructions to take that calming nap at the end of our barely-raising-my-hear-rate exercise! If I had known about Flexibility I would have for sure taken it, though. Let's hope this course still exists.

  2. I took flexibility for half a semester (long story involving babies) and I LOVED it! We didn't nap (boo!) but my grown adult professor did talk about different health things. Like how all the football players were required to take the class, and sustained significantly less injuries while they were in it. Some took it every fall semester every year! [sigh] I loved that class.

  3. Now that just rocks! What a class. I suddenly fel old- this August will be ten years since I graduated from BYU.

  4. I love that you called it naptime. :) Totally awesome.

  5. This woman is revolutionary and we need to get her on TV and in schools everywhere! I love the sound of this class.

    What a cute graduate you were and I'm sorry most of undergrad was spent feeling queasy :( That is the WORST feeling in the world.

    When I did my summer session at BYU I had a wonderful, sweet blind professor who I just adored. Another professor wore awesome ties and honestly just kind of loved on us (not in a creepy way.) He would tell you the answers to the quizzes from time to time, just to be nice. I was only there for a little bit and had three instructors, but they were so wonderful and sweet!

  6. Who was your teacher? I'm looking into filler classes (as a freshman) and this sounds fantastic!!


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