Tuesday, January 26, 2010

This Yoga Tale is a Bit of a Stretch

yoga pose fail Even in my athletic heyday as a teen (multiple baseball teams, singles tennis, pickup basketball) and my resurgence in my mid-20s to early-30s (multiple softball teams, doubles tennis, pick up another six-pack), I never suffered any serious strains or sprains -- a fact I attribute mostly to my notable lack of muscle mass.

Can't hurt it if you don't have it. That's my philosophy.

It's worked pretty well. While I was never the biggest or best player, my reflexes, hand-eye coordination and proper positioning always made up for my lack of strength and helped me through. For example, while I never came close to even three hopping the outfield fence in softball, I could consistently hit line drives up the middle, field several positions pretty well and regularly hit the cutoff man.

Then I hit 34 and -- BAM!


A routine ground ball one day attacked my left eyebrow, requiring 13 stitches.

Bye-bye, reflexes; hello, doom of middle age.

Therefore, I was not too surprised the day my doctor told me that my hips are tight.

"It's normal for most people your age," she said. "You need to stretch that part of your body more often."

Yet this doctor still refused to write a prescription requiring my wife to have more frequent and acrobatic contact with me. This, my fellow Americans, is the sad state of today's U.S. health care system.

Instead, the doctor told me I should consider yoga. When I asked her how a cup of milky bacteria was going to put the motion back in my ocean, she promptly ordered a hearing test. That's another story.

I had always read great things about yoga. Aside from the physical benefits, there is stress reduction, improving one's sense of awareness, the chance to wear pastel leotards -- all the good stuff. Game on.

As I am a bit reclusive, rather than interact with actual live people (or even dead ones as they are notoriously bad getting in or out of Downward Facing Dog), I decided to go the self-help route. I dug through my wife's pile of gently used exercise tapes and DVDs and found one titled "A.M./P.M. Yoga for Beginners." I dutifully waited until a few minutes before noon and turned it on.

rodney yee pretty boy This particular tape stars Rodney Yee, who I've since learned is some big-time yoga yogi to the stars, one of whom is Oprah Winfrey.

Had I known this at the start, that would have been my first warning.

Oprah goes through dog trainers and diet gurus like House goes through diagnoses. She has 37 kajillion dollars and none of these people can solve her problems so where does that leave me, a man who still regularly wears a jacket he bought back when The Hooters regularly had Top 40 hits?

Well, let's go to the videotape. (Seriously folks -- videotape! In this day and age! That should have been Warning No. 2.)

The soundtrack is a dreamy New Age love fest of synthesized strings, birdcalls and crashing ocean swells.

And there's Rodney, standing on the pristine sands, shirtless.

The tequila-sunrise sunrise is gleaming off his exceptionally ripped chest and abs. Even his very dated granola-guy ponytail, black, thick and luminous as a fresh puddle of Pennzoil Platinum European 5W-40, has the most awesome muscle tone.

(Swami Rodney, I also learned, dumped his wife then got in the Jackass-Boinks-Strumpet Pose with one of his students. Shoulda been Warning No. 3.)

As I lay down and tried to get in touch with my breathing, I glance up to Rodney for further instruction. There he is, lying in his painted-on Spandex shorts as the breeze caresses the beach and his impossibly sculpted physique and I'm thinking that here, alone on my cement-hard basement floor, that this is possibly one of the most uncomfortable and creepy feelings I've ever had in my life.

And I'm not even in the first pose yet.

Maybe the doctor will reconsider and at least write my wife a fairly persuasive Post-it Note.

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  1. The first warning should have been the word "yoga". But, seriously, I thought guys only did yoga to look at girls in skin-tight spandex. This... this is just disturbing.

  2. my favorite line is 'the Jackass-Boinks-Strumpet Pose with one of his students' - seriously - how do you come up with this stuff? LMAO.

  3. I love yoga, it is the best thing since Prozac!! And I get to oogle hot men. Hehe.

    The picture above of the yoga instructor who copped a feel - that is an epic fail!.

  4. How come I never get repositioned like that in my yoga class? Not to mention I've never experienced the Jackass Boinks-Strumpet pose. I think I need to lodge a complaint with gym management.

  5. Off to yoga or I would have a witty response to your repose. I'll meditate on this one.

  6. Wasn't Yoga the little guy who talked funny and taught young Luke?

  7. You could try the Wii. The yoga poses in that are great, but the machine itself is smug and judgmental.

  8. I have one of those home yoga DVDs too; the woman who teaches looks like hugging her would feel like embracing a lycra-wrapped bundle of kindling.

  9. You need a new yoga DVD. Yes - DVD.
    Best of luck on the post - it from the doctor.
    Apparently Sting does yoga and it's made his sex life AMAZING.

  10. So I dedicated my entire yoga practice today to your dilemma and came up with a truly enlightened awareness: I need to buy more Eggos.

  11. Well see u did it wrong! You have to go to a class full of people with the same purpose in mind...to find the one person that looks more ridiculous than them.

    Then it doesn't seem that bad!

    Try that and report! :)

  12. I'm new to your blog and just wanted to say that I'm 34, have 4 kids, and completely relate to what you write. Maybe that's why I find you so damned funny.

  13. okay i so LOL'd...i only wish i was flexible enough to do yoga....

  14. When I think of flexibility of someone my age. I think of Jackie Chan (55). Before the operation I was keeping up with numerous activities, but no more. Doomed, we are all doomed!

  15. I hear you're supposed to clear your mind when you're doing yoga, which explains why I have such a hard time doing it. I'm constantly thinking "Why am I doing yoga? Ouch, my back hurts! Do we have any cake left?" as I'm doing it.

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  17. You do realize it hurts for me to laugh, being only day five after having my spine ripped out and reinserted.

    Yet, I'm still laughing.

    And reaching for my pain meds, dammit.

  18. I'm disturbed by the notion of contorting my body into something called downward dog or upward dog...

  19. Wow. Good for you! I have ZERO hand-eye coordination or strength! Thus, I can't take yoga classes!

  20. I'm very uncomfortable with the thought of you laying on your basement floor watching a half naked man. It's not that I'm homophobic. I just don't like the idea of one prostate man goggling another prostate man while alone in a basement.

  21. I have these fantasies that involve yoga but none of them involve a DVD.

  22. Yoga is a strange sort of a creature... And the instructors tend to be strange sorts of creatures too.

  23. Yoga is great. Now, I've never tried that AM/PM stuff you mention so I can't comment on that, but I love yoga; if I didn't do it I'd be decrepit by now I'm sure. Anyway, that being said, you have a real talent for humor. I wish I had that. My writing, by comparison, is quite dull :-)

  24. I recently picked up a couple yoga DVDs (because no way in hell am I going to a class). I have RA and it's supposed to help with pain.

    One of them?
    Yoga for Inflexible People.

    Turns out, I am flexible. It's the balance thing that is the issue.

    Good luck with the hip loosening :-P

  25. Someone in that picture probably just farted, and is trying to stay really still so that no-one guesses it was them.

    At least doing it alone in your basement you'll be spared those indignities. That is - if you every get past downward dog and into hep cat!

  26. Dude, you wrote about spandex, milky stuff, poses, and doctor notes all in one blog post. I'm yours forever.

  27. i enjoyed reading this blog, gave me a good laugh. I am trying to do yoga (well, yogalates) and I just cannot. It hurts me to even look at people stretching into positions I'm sure God never intended because they are simply not necessary. Health 'experts' tell us to have more sex; the doctors should prescribe it too!


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