Sunday, April 1, 2012


The world is full of mysteries, conundra, enigmas. I accept that not everything is knowable, and that the unknowable makes life interesting, injects it with wonder.

But there's something I really wish someone could explain to me:

What the fuck is the deal with yoga?!?!?

I took a beginner class over ten years ago. OK, yeah; it felt good. But it was boring. BO-ring.  Now, as I experience more aches and pains, I'm told constantly by yoga devotees that I Must. Do. Yoga.

So I've taken two classes at my gym, classes that are described as being "good for beginners." And when I'm done, yeah, I feel good, my body feels aligned and relaxed and present and all those great things.

But I can live without the things I have to do go get there.

Today I was on the treadmill, happily racing along, Irish Folk Rock from Detroit in my ears, when I noticed it was time for the yoga class. I thought about it, and decided that as much as I was enjoying the run, I needed to do something about my kinked neck. So I just stopped, got off the machine, and headed to the exercise room. I grabbed a gym-supplied mat that smelled of feet and sat my sweaty ass down, trying to ignore the combined stench of strangers' feet and crotch sweat.

I spent the next hour rotating my arms outward, spiraling my thigh muscles, paying attention to my belly button and breastbone. And my breathing. And keeping my shoulders down and my feet aligned with the mat, and my hips tilted and my toes tucked. Aside from the fact that when I try to do these moves it really hits home that I'm a short chick with no torso who feels like a garden gnome; for someone like me who has a hard time shutting her brain down, there are just too many things to concentrate on at once. I like running and biking because I like the rhythm, the ease of focus, the heartbeat. It's meditative for me; simple. Yoga is like trying to perfect several chapters of the Kama Sutra when all I want is a nice straightforward fuck.

The instructor says things like, "And now we'll do a modified Eagle Pose," and I think two things:

One: "What the fuck is an Eagle Pose?!?!?"

Two:  "Eagles mate for life. Oh, that documentary on them was good, except it broke my heart when the female was found dead and the male finally had to abandon the clutch of eggs to go in search of food and a new mate..."

Every pose: Monkey, Bridge, Triangle, brings a similar rush of free association. And frustration.

I have several friends who are really into yoga, and they get defensive and talk about how they can't live without yoga. They get offended in the way that some people do when I say that Glee is a moronic show with clearly fake musical numbers.

And most of the women I know don't do anything physically challenging but yoga, and not in the cover-of-the-magazines-at-Whole-Foods-checkout yoga. They have flabby arms, are overweight, and act as though any kind of cardiac endeavor is beneath them and their chakras. They drive everywhere and spend a lot of time smoking pot or sitting on their couches.  I might have tight flexors, but dammit, I can carry furniture. I have yet to have someone say, "Hey can you come over and help us with a Cobra pose?"

Because then I'll start on Rikki Tikki Tavi....

1 comment:

karen said...

I really enjoyed yoga whilst pregnant, but I really don't want to go back. Just another gym experience, methinks, and I don't really love exercise for the sake of, well, exercise.

Give me commuting by foot or bike any day and DON'T remind me it is "good exercise" and I'm good. Can I get a witness?!