Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Namaste, Jackholes (see also: Why Yoga is Not For Me)

I'm willing to bet that half of you who read this are already thinking about how much you love yoga, and that you can probably convince me to love it, too. You may also do nifty things like use those spiral environmentally friendly light bulbs that don't put out any light, or eat things like meat substitutes and kale chips. Let me go ahead and forewarn you: my mind cannot be changed on this one. I still buy real light bulbs, and the only things I have ever purchased at Whole Foods are birthday cards and beer. I have tried to wrap my mind around why this bendy, stretchy stuff is so popular. As someone who is both impatient and a skeptic, I can tell you now that standing on one foot, concentrating on my inner being, and repeating "om" are never going to be a few of my favorite things.

Let's start with the fact that I hate to exercise and generally prefer to get the whole thing over with as quickly as possible, not taking ten deep breaths while I try to wrap my right elbow around my left foot. The whole yoga thing just moves way too slowly. My mind wanders to things like: how many calories am I not burning right now? Why is tangling my body in a human knot supposed to be peaceful? I'm bored. And, since everyone is barefoot, I also wind up assessing everyone's state of pedicure neediness (most of whom are in dire straights, by the way). Where is the jumping, the intensity, and my guilty pleasure Whoomp There It Is workout music? Frankly, I am suspicious of any form of alleged exercise during which I believe I could leisurely enjoy eating a doughnut.

Then, there are the poses. So many poses. The skeptic in me cannot be silenced while all these hijinks are going on. Let's examine just a handful, shall we?

 Chair pose: Has anyone ever actually sat in a chair this way? The only time I would ever sit down with my hands reaching for the sky is if Keeping Up with the Kardashians was on and someone was dangling the remote control over my head, refusing to let me change the channel. I would reach that high to get away from Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, and kompany. My own personal chair pose looks very much like someone reclining in a lounge chair with a daiquiri in hand. And I can hold that pose for quite lengthy periods with no problem. Talk about stamina.

Cow: Yes, there is a pose called cow. Really? Isn't it enough that I am here, standing on this giant place mat, trying my best to exercise and lose weight, putting up with all these yoga shenanigans? And now you have to go and call me a cow? This is doing some serious wonders for my self-esteem. For the next pose, why don't you have me squeal and roll around in some pretend mud and call it pig pose? Or put a saddle on my back, ride me around the room, and call it horse? Mooove out of my way, I can't take much more of this. As a side note, and for reasons I cannot explain, this pose also makes me think about chocolate milk every single time. I can't help it--it would go great with the doughnuts I could be eating.

Plow: Yep, you are seeing that position correctly. I have no idea why it is called plow, unless that is what they will have to scrape you up with once you're finished. To obtain this very relaxing pose, you just put your legs over your ears until your feet touch the floor. At my house, we also call this "broken neck," or "snap your spine." Doesn't that feel great? Kind of puts the "oh my" in om, right?

Reclining tortoise pose: Sure, this one sounds like it would be right up a lazy lady's alley. How hard can it be to make like a turtle who is lying down? Um, look at this picture. What has happened here? I prefer to call this one the Exorcist, since I am pretty sure that the only time I have seen someone contort like this has been in movies about demonic possession. I guess after you manage this one, you can tell people you worked out like a fiend.

Corpse: I almost hate to disparage this one, as it is one of the few poses in which I am actually good. Your trusty yoga guru will try to get all flashy and call this one savasana, but its real name is corpse pose (you can't fool me with your yogi mind tricks). See, you lie on your back like you are in a drawer at the morgue, and fitness ensues. You are literally being asked to play dead. Are you kidding me? I tell you what: since we already went through that cow name-calling incident, why don't you change the name of this one to beached whale and just say what you really mean? This one is so easy, I can do it in my sleep. In fact, I do.

While you are channeling your very best dead person, you will inevitably be told how important this last pose is, to ready you for going back to the real world. Someone will tell you to clear your mind, and at this point my very bored brain starts singing very un-yoga like songs such as that 90s song by En Vogue, Free Your Mind, or Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. I believe this serves as final proof that good ol' yoga is not for me.
There are so many more things about this zen craze that drive me just plain crazy, but I don't want this post to feel as long as a yoga class, so I will spare you the details. And I'll pass on any more yoga, until they decide to embrace the madness and let everyone eat doughnuts and drink chocolate milk during class. Then it might just be the kind of workout that helps me open my third eye (which, like my other two eyes, probably needs Lasik). That, and replacing "Namaste" with "Frankie said relax."

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