Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How To Suck At Yoga




Most of you know that I abhor working out with the burning passion of a thousand white hot suns. Sure, I enjoy the byproducts of exercise: health, better sleep, not looking like a narwhal in a tank top, but by and large I am a lazy bastard and my preferred method of exercise is jogging my memory to remind myself how much I fucking hate to exercise then lying on the couch watching “19 Kids And Counting”.  Admittedly, I am a better mom when I exercise.  I don’t know if it’s the endorphins or just the time away from them but an hour on the treadmill makes my short people significantly less annoying somehow.  Sadly, despite my hearty protestations and raging sense of denial, my knees are 41 years old and they can only take so much pounding.*

*That’s what she said.

My friend Kelly is really into yoga, as is her hippy-dippy husband, Todd.  Kell swears that yoga is a panacea for all ailments, both physical and psychological, but then again she also subscribes to the whole gingko-biloba-feng-shui-free-range mentality that all things organic and alternative are good and all things processed and FDA-approved are bad.  To me, this kind of thinking is more simplistic than the plot line of an ABC Family series, but to each their own.  I guess I can see why yoga would be appealing to many: you gain flexibility, meditate on your breathing, and possibly learn how to go down on yourself.  That may actually be the reason why it’s so calming.  God knows if most men could lick their own balls there would be a lot less violence in this world.

So I went to a Bikram yoga session with Kelly and all I can say is Ho.  Ly.  Shit.  Never again, folks.  First of all, I was crammed in that room for over an hour, nose to nuts with the unwashed masses, breathing in their unmentionables whilst squatting with arms entwined like an orangutan with osteoporosis.  The last time I was in that position was 41 years ago in the womb.  And the smell?   The room stank of a hearty amalgam of asparagus, patchouli, and tacos.  And as there was no actual food present in said room I could only surmise that it was the heady stank mélange of 35 people in a 160 degree room.  Granted, I did feel pretty tall and Stretch Armstrong-y after class but as the only thing I loathe more than exercise is social interaction, I decided I could practice yoga in the privacy of my own home.

 STEP 1: CLEAR YOUR MIND

Sit quietly on your mat and stare into space.  Close your eyes partially and find a spot on the carpet or wall to gaze upon. Continue to stare at the spot.  Think about the spot.  How did it get there?  Will it come off?  Who made the spot?  Oh, shit, there’s another one.  How did that spot get on the. . .oh yeah, that’s where I tripped last week and spilled my coffee.  Mmmm, I could use a cup of coffee right now.  Ooh!  And one of those cake pops from Starbucks!  I wonder if. . .what?  Oh, yeah.  Clear my mind. . .stare at the spot. . .shit, I need to clean that off.

STEP 2: VISUALIZE YOUR MANTRA

Find a phrase to listen to in your head to better gain enlightenment
Try to choose something Buddhist-y and repetitive like Om Mani Padme Hum (“All Hail the Jewel In the Lotus”), or Brong Brong (“I Am Imitating a Doorbell).  You may wonder if monotonous droning can be at all effective or fulfilling, but it seems to have worked quite well for Tom Brokaw and Nancy Grace over the years.  Those are two enlightened mofos.

STEP 3: BE MINDFUL OF YOUR ACTIONS

As you raise your arms think “I am lifting, I am raising”.  When you walk, think to yourself “I am lifting my foot.  I am placing it down, I am shifting.  I am moving”.  This practice is also quite effective in other areas of life.  For example, riding the bus.  “I am shoving.  I am scowling.  I am giving the stink eye to the douchewand hogging two seats”.  Or shopping.  “I am spending.  I am ignoring my financial obligations.  I am putting my needs first.”  Just remember to take joy in each step.  Remember, the path is the goal and the journey is the destination. . .especially on the bus.

STEP 4: CLEAR YOUR MIND PART 2 – ASK THE UNANSWERABLE

Throughout history yogis have spent hours clearing their minds by pondering such questions as “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”*

*A kind of whooshy, smacky sound, but you have to do it really fast.

 or “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”*

*Technically, no. All sound is sensory receptors in your ears that perceive vibrations in the air around them that your brain perceives as sound.  Therefore, sound only exists if there is an organism present to take that stimulus and turn it into a thought process that perceives sound.  Otherwise, the tree just makes empty vibrations.  What?  Shut up, I am not a geek. 

For me, I tend to focus on the truly unanswerable questions such as “How did ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ get renewed for another season?” or “What’s the deal with Kevin Costner?” That shit can really blow your mind, yo.

STEP 5: CONCENTRATE ON YOUR BREATHING

Begin with a simple contemplation, the Sutra of Breath.  On each inhalation think “I am breathing in.  I am taking in oxygen.  I am calming my breath”.  If you start to feel tightening in your chest and a roaring in your ears, exhale.  This is known as the Sutra for Not Passing Out.  Then begin to count your breath.  Tell yourself “I am numbering my breathes. I am mindful of the number.”  If you’ve been breathing for a while and the number doesn’t get higher or you lose count that’s OK.  This is known as the Sutra of I Was Told There Would Be No Math.  Finally, do not forget to freshen your breath.  Be ever mindful of oral hygiene and the liberal application of Tic Tacs.  This is known as the Sutra of Having Garlic Chicken for Lunch.

STEP 6:  ACHIEVE THE LOTUS POSITION

Recite to yourself “I am flexible.  I am a bending willow. I am strong.”  Then cross your legs, positioning your feet atop your thighs.  This is known as the Lotus Position or padmasna, which is Sanskrit for “Holy shit, I have just dislocated my femur”.  Once feet are in place, pull your toes in as far as possible while saying Namu Bai Datsu which is Sanskrit for “I am not flexible.  I am not a fucking willow. I am in need of urgent medical care.”  Do not panic.  You may never walk again, but you are now in perfect harmony with the universe.  Huzzah!

I get the basic concept of yoga.  It teaches one to unify the mind and body, while separating the self from attachments such as dignity and self-respect when seen doing a Downward Dog with your junk hanging out.  But for me, the thought of that much time inside of my head is terrifying.  I’m a twisted, hot mess up there, y’all.  One hour of silent contemplation for me is like watching a six-hour David Lynch/Quentin Tarantino film fest and no one comes out alive.  So in the meantime I’ll keep puttering along on my treadmill, ignoring my aching joints, and seeking my own Path of Enlightenment through my Holy Trinity of Starbucks, Target, and Nathan Fillion.  Namaste, party people.

PS: For those of you who didn't know, yesterday was Nathan Fillion's birthday.  I hope you all celebrated accordingly.

45 comments:

Angie said...

Namaste, Hot Stuff!

Ally Gregory-Moore said...

I'm a fit person. I actually enjoy exercise. However, I loathe Yoga. I have tried it over and over and over again. I just can't focus on my breathing for that long. My mind is not that quiet.

Tainted Fibers said...

God knows if most men could lick their own balls there would be a lot less violence in this world.

Truer words never spoken. I went to a yoga class on Monday myself. I am about as flexible as a steel rod.

Jen said...

Back archaic, Chica. :)

Jen said...

"atcha". Fucking autocorrect.

Jen said...

Quiet and I are not synonymous either. Meh...

Jen said...

I feel your unbending pain my sister.

sars! said...

How I suck at yoga... show up. The room explodes with laughter at the idea of seeing me try to stretch.... It is bad.

Charity Woosley said...

I never have tried yoga. I'd be afraid I'd fucking fart and then laugh maniacally.

L-Kat said...

I love that you use the definition of sound as an argument for that damn tree question. If you're a geek, than I am too, because that was always my logic behind that question as well! :)

Jen said...

When I come to Californiia we can drive around and throw rocks at the yoga studios.

Jen said...

I wind up next to the farter. Every. Damned. Time.

Jen said...

Heh-heh, I'm glad I'm not the only one who over thinks this shit.

Erica Burns said...

I loved this post.. and I totally celebrated Nater-Tater's b-day by donating some water... it's what he wanted after all-- maybe I should've spent his birthday watching his take on "How to Nail Your Wife...."

Leauxra said...

I hate yoga ALMOST as much as spiders, as you can tell from my new coffee mug. It says, "NAMASTE, motherfucker".

Yoga= torture. Also kind of funny to watch. While wearing a gas mask.

Leauxra said...

I hate yoga ALMOST as much as spiders, as you can tell from my new coffee mug. It says, "NAMASTE, motherfucker".

Yoga= torture. Also kind of funny to watch. While wearing a gas mask.

Bobbie said...

You crack me up. I read everyday and its always just the laugh (more often than not-out loud) that I need. As a single mom too, you get me! I think I love you, and I don't even swing that way (anymore). heehee. Keep us laughing. Thanks hun!

Jen said...

That video never gets old. Never. I love him so hard.

Jen said...

Did you get the mug from Johi's Zazzle shop?

Jen said...

Single moms have to laugh or we'd lose our shit. I'm glad you're here! :)

Misty said...

I am NOT flexible, nor do I have the ability to balance. Yoga is a big fail for me. I was trying to do just one move on the Wii yesterday, all while my son was sitting there critiquing my pose and balance. It was just not for me. I went to a yoga class many years ago when I was younger and much more fit. Never again. The crazy awkward positions they tried to get me in? Please. Unless sex is involved, my body is not made to form those types of shapes.

Note . . . you are responding but not saying who you are responding to. Is that intentional or are you trying to thread comments? Glad I'm not the only one with commenting issues. :p

Jen said...

Misty- crap. Yeah, trying to thread. I give up on Blogger.

Ana said...

.. I didn't know it was his birthday but I was bored/ upset so I sat in front of my tv with a jar of nutella and a spoon and watched eight back to back episodes of Castle. I think he would approve (or smite me for my laziness..), I think this was acceptable, and now I even have an excuse for having neglected my homework for this impromptu marathon ;)

Meg said...

My husband always says if he could suck his own dick, he wouldn't have needed to get married... I was excited to try Yoga because I thought I was flexible. Turns out, I'm not.

lazysubculturalgirl said...

You just described why I took up Pilates instead -- all the core strength with none of the mumbo jumbo.

I saw a button on Etsy that I'm now coveting. It says, "Of course I'm out of my mind. It's dark and scary in there." This post made me think of that.

Brett Minor said...

This is great. Probably why I have never taken yoga. I don't think I could focus my mind long enough.

Jennifer Clark said...

I kinda like yoga. Of course, it's been years since I've done any. But now that my spinal column is all repaired and fused, I really should go back. I used to take classes with my mother-in-law. An automatic win: I was WAY more flexible! Monkey mind is a problem, but we are all works in progress, right?

Johi said...

I couldn't stop laughing after "God knows if most men could lick their own balls there would be a lot less violence in this world".
I'm going to have to go back and read this when I'm finished hyperventilating. Love you hard, Jen.

Tiffany said...

Oh, you are one funny girlie!
I did yoga for a whole twenty minutes one time. All I could think was, "This is stupid. This is stupid. This is stupid. Did I just moon that chick behind me? This is stupid."
I much prefer gymnastics (my very first blog post was about my gymnastics class) and martial arts (the kind where you beat people up for fun, none of this hippy slo-mo crap).
And for Nathan's birthday, I got us a compound in rural Utah. Lovely view, skiing, and public acceptance of sister-wivery. Soon, Nate, very soon... mwahahaha!

Mandi E. said...

I actually learned to enjoy yoga as a relaxation exercise when I was in massage school. It feels good to let your mind drift and stretch out those muscles, tense from a day of refraining from closed fist throttling of the people you work with.

The thing I did NOT like about it, however, were my hippy-dippy classmates who well and truly believe that holistic healthcare approaches are a replacement for medical treatment, rather than a supplement. Not to mention the stanky ho that refuses to wear deodorant because she believes it gives you cancer.

Andrea said...

Hmmm, I have a sneaking suspicion that my assumption that my Wii Fit yoga sessions were the real deal is incorrect! I heard a guest on Colbert say there was a yoga move that could kill you...'nuff said for me!

Jen said...

Sorry to everyone for my shitty lack of commenting today. I am attempting to figure out how to "thread" comments, failing miserably, attempting again, being thwarted yet again, contacting my blogger website, being told I "can" thread replies. . .attempting. . .failing. . .screaming Estonian obscenities at my computer whilst stomping my stiletto-heeled feet in vain. . .aaaaand, finally admitting defeat before shutting off my computer to my muttered oaths of hatred (in French at this point) before accepting the fact that I shall have to continue to reference every response I have. But you know what? I. DON'T. CARE. If you guys are willing to listen to this nobody spew her gar-bahzh into the universe every week then I would love nothing more than to respond to you individually. . .which I will do. . .starting with the next post. . .'cuz I'm lazy.

Wily Guy said...

I'm always up for a pic-a-nic basket, booboo!
Oh, you said YogA...

WG
http://itsmynd.com

chemgirljaime said...

I miss yoga.. I really wish I had the time/money to do it on a regular basis.. I'm sure it could help my mental state and physical as well.

that being said.. this was fucking hilarious.

WeezaFish said...

I used to yoga, many, many moons ago. I used to fall asleep. I'm a rebel, that's my problem. Anything that seems vaguely regimented or is something I "should really be doing" and I want to run in the other direction. I will, however, use my small children at home as weights to help keep the arms toned :)

NellieVaughn said...

I have been doing yoga since I was nine. Eh. Qi Gong and Tai chi is where it's at!

hoodyhoo said...

Dear Sweet Dalai Lama on a pogo stick, you and Cinema Sugar are BOTH trying to meditate? Have you forgotten the very REASON why we blog???

Also, smell that? Hippies.

CrazyTragicAlmostMagic said...

I love the concept of yoga, I like feeling all stretchy but I'm super flexible so it's alot easier for me. I can stand in Warrior pose forever. Downward Dog? No problemo.

Maggi Shelbourn said...

I practice yoga almost daily and yet I almost wet myself reading this post! You are hillarious! I'm glad I found this blog!

Vesta Vayne said...

Oh Lordy, I feel ya. I have tried the yoga thing a few times, but it doesn't work for me. I simply can't find my center and focus and breathe all at the same time without falling. And Bikram yoga - the hot and sweaty one? You are a brave, brave woman.

Bill Dameron said...

"The room stank of a hearty amalgam of asparagus, patchouli, and tacos."

That's it, I'm out. That was all I needed to hear. I make myself sick when I realize later that I have eaten asparagus and forgotten about it.

Jen said...

I love you guys SO. DAMNED. HARD. I am perpetually honored to learn that my readers are as twisted as I am. :)

Sabrina Olivia said...

Jen,
You have my heartfelt apology for having shared the Epic Fail experience that was my Bikram Yoga class nightmare.
Two additions from my experience which may amuse you:
Taciturn instructor (20-ish y.o. male weighing it at maybe a whopping 115 pounds) who chastised people (me) for eating anything within a 24 hour period before class. I made the mistake of asking him about nutrition on the day of class. I should've been flogged for the very thought of opening my mouth (that is what she said).

Orange, spray-tanned bro next to me who excused himself during class only to return after having sprayed himself liberally with Axe because he couldn't stand his own funk. This served to nauseate me and the rest of the class. It should also be noted that he began the class by trying to 'show off' at how impressively muscular and fit he was but ended the class just trying to hang on to consciousness.

Bikram yoga. Never. Ever. Again.

Kari said...

I love how yoga makes me feel but I seriously hate stinky people and their farts. It's unacceptable to me, and totally normal in a yoga class - any goddamned yoga class. I solved this problem by downloading iphone (free) apps - twenty minute yoga workouts, the only downside is they sound like they're voiced by a robot, but seriously, it's awesome. My little guy drags a mat out and tries to downward dog with me, which is pretty funny.

danna144 said...

Yoga makes me motion sick.