I started noticing them everywhere, women walking around town, carrying their rolled up mats, preening in their yoga pants, looking a little flush, beads of sweat dampening their brow.
I watched them and wondered, “What are these women doing on those mats?”
When I realized it was yoga, my first thought was, “They got pants for that?”
You know something’s reached the level of “craze” when the craze gets its own pants.
And being the red-blooded American consumer that I am, I guess I had to find out what all the fuss was about. So Bovey and I signed up.
I’d say we’re a little late to this whole yoga thing. Not because we’re independent-minded enough to avoid anything too trendy or cool. It’s more to do with our disdain for exercise.
Lifting weights, running, swimming, walking, it all seems so utilitarian. At least yoga looked easy, seemingly satisfying my one exercise requirement that the activity shouldn’t actually consist of any real exercise.
Turns out, yoga is a lot more strenuous than I envisioned. After a couple of down dogs and half-strung bows, I was ready for a nap.
But the great thing about yoga is, each workout actually incorporates a little nap time. The napping comes during corpse pose and child’s pose, where you just sort of go limp and relax before the next down dog or until the yoga master wakes you up and says it’s time to go.
And there’s something spiritual about yoga that leaves me feeling Zen, like I’m sitting on a porch, watching the morning fog roll over verdant hills that stretch to the horizon.
I know I could probably pop a Flexeril — like I will on occasion when my back goes — and achieve this same loose-jointed, dreamy feeling.
But if I just pop Flexeril, I wouldn’t have the pleasure of rolling around on the cafeteria floor of our local high school, where who knows how many freshman have hurled their pepperonis.
One thing I’ve noticed about yoga class is mostly women attend. Have you ever seen a grown man yoga? It’s frightening.
At least the women move with grace and dignity. The men, with their hairy shoulders and floppy basketball shorts, look like they were in the building somewhere installing a sink and wandered into class on their way out.
But I can tell you from experience, one of the biggest challenges of yoga is the effort it takes not to fart in class. Our first time out, I prayed to the yoga gods, “Please, don’t let me fart in front of all these people.”
I don’t know if it’s particularly associated with yoga or if it’s because we go to class in the evening right after dinner, but when you roll yourself up like a sleeping bag, the air inside you has to go somewhere and exhaling isn’t the only place it escapes.
And being the yoga connoisseurs we are, Bovey and I can’t help giggle while watching each other flop and contort our unwilling bodies.
Apparently, giggling in yoga class is unacceptable.
We get some withering stares when we crack up, making me feel like I’m six again and back in church, sitting in the pew behind my parents, wrestling with my brothers, when my dad turns around and shoots us a look that says we’ll burn in hell if we don’t knock it off.
As I weigh the overwhelming scientific evidence that says exercise is good for me and my belief that most exercise is slightly more fun than mowing grass, which is why Bovey and I gave up single family home living and moved into a townhouse, where they deploy entire crews to mow grass, trim, weed, and fight off wasps and blood-sucking insects, while I float on my back in the deep end of our community pool, I suppose I can live with yoga.
I just wish someone would invent yoga pants for men.