yogic failure

On the advice of basically everyone I’ve ever met – my friends, my family, my gynecologist – I’ve been dabbling in yoga recently.

It started with a few of those on-demand videos so generously offered up by Comcast. One wrong click of the remote and there I was, facing down “Zen in Your Den” as opposed to the Modern Family episode I’d been trying to access on the DVR.

It was fine, for a few sessions – even moderately relaxing, when I could ignore Dave’s occasional couch-side urgings to remove my clothing.  (No, I don’t think my downward dog pose would be any better without my shirt on, but nice try, buddy.)

Eventually, though, I realized I had a bigger problem than my frisky fiance: the little living room classes just weren’t much of a workout. I’m sure it didn’t help that when faced with the option of following Debbie – “If you’re having any trouble, just follow Debbie,” the instructor would coo, flashing to an image of the lady in the back doing the modified poses – I always went with Debbie. Who mostly spent the whole class just standing there, smiling occasionally, and flexing a toe or two.

Realizing I had probably been burning more calories laughing at Modern Family than following Debbie’s lead, I decided it was time to finally put that gym membership I’d signed up for earlier this year – up until now mainly experienced as an expense on my credit card bill each month and a place to hit the pool in the summer – to use.

The first two classes went well enough that I trekked over again tonight for the 7:30 workshop, fully expecting to see Michelle – the cheerful brunette who, yes, sometimes laughed at my ungraceful poses but was mostly helpful and, most importantly, easy – standing in the front of the room.

But Michelle was nowhere to be found. Instead, at the front of the room stood a short, skinny man with curling gray hair and an earring.

Uh oh.

Things started going downhill fast. Why were we being asked to curl our tongues out of our mouths and drink the air with them? What was a “breath of fire?” What, in god’s name, was my sacrum? He kept listing off body parts I didn’t know I had and then insisting that I do completely impossible things with the ones I did recognize: “breathe into your hips” and “pull the crown of your head toward your pelvic floor.” Say what? What happened to those nifty child’s poses? Wasn’t it time to lay down on the floor now?

I have to believe this guy was some renegade instructor, that real yoga isn’t that weird and painful and awkward. But I still think it might be time to put my practice on the shelf, at least for a little bit.

Thankfully, Modern Family is shaping up to be hilarious this season.

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