T-Minus five hours from the moment I'm writing this I'll, most likely, have my face in someone's ass as they stretch forward into a weird pose named after an animal I've never encountered in person and I'll have to storm out in a dramatic huff.
I've promised my girlfriend I'll have an open mind about yoga tonight but right off the bat I'm opposed. I've been reading the wiki for the type of thing I'm going to be doing -- Ashanta Vinyasa Yoga, which is, supposedly, a "modern-day form of classical Indian yoga," but sounds more like a dead Bollywood star. I don't think this old yoga could possibly be of use to people. Particularly with the way American bodies are it seems like taking something as old as Yoga and applying it to now would be the equivalent to finding a pamphlet for repairing a Model T and trying to use that information on a Prius. But I can't really compare American bodies to a Prius I guess because the cars got better and the bodies got worse. Whatever, I'm abandoning this metaphor because my girlfriend just told me that I'm going to "love" the Tibetan singing bowl. I will not love that. Whatever that is.
If this fucking thing gets spiritual on me I'm going to lose my shit. I scrolled down the Wikipedia page and found there's like, uh, mantras, involved in this. If I had a mantra it would be "no mantras." Listen to this mantra shit: "I bow to the lotus feet of the gurus." No thank you. I don't want to get near anyone's feet. Does yoga have anything to do with chi? Do I have to capitalize yoga? What about Madonna's religion? Will this be like the time I took a tour of a Scientology center, thought I was in there for 45 minutes and then discovered I had been inside for three fucking hours? Is this what happened to The Beatles when they got all sitar-y? I'm pretty happy with my rampant consumerism and excessive lifestyle. I'm liberal but still an American. If they think I'll eat a salad they can go fuck themselves. In high school I dropped out of gym so I could take "bowling" online. I'm raising my blood pressure just thinking about stretching. This activity has the distinct possibility of turning me Republican.
I quit smoking almost a month ago and I already regret it. This is all part of a recent push on my part to "get healthier," but I'm not exactly sure what that entails. I got really scared of having a stroke after reading too many articles about "locked-in syndrome," which would have made a better horror movie than artsy French film, and with a potentially genetic heart condition in my family, I guess I should start giving a fuck about my body, I say, as I drink this Vanilla Coke.
I asked her what the singing bowl is. It's a thing that "is for your final shivasina." I don't know what a shivasina is but I hate it. I googled it just now. It's a corpse-pose. I'm not posing like a corpse. I do have a slight curvature of the spine though, and supposedly Yoga will help me, but I don't feel too excited about being in any sort of discomfort whatsoever. I'm quick to give up, and even quicker to never try something at all. I'm naturally skinny, about 5'11" and 120 pounds. Once I skipped dinner and lost five lbs. Trying to get me to work out is basically the same thing as the professor in Good Will Hunting trying to get Matt Damon to study more. He's already got the chops, why push it?
OK. I'm waiting out front of my girlfriend's place of work. She supposedly has pants for me back at her place. I initially requested jeans, but I can see how they could be unforgiving. I also want to "blend in" because of journalism. She's providing a mat because I cannot use a communal one. I'd like to, but people are disgusting. Once something is dirty it can never be clean again, which is why I use paper on every toilet seat ever, including my own and I live by myself. That's only slightly related to this, but still probably interesting.
I get to my girlfriends place and am shown the pants. They're very loose and yoga-y. They make me feel like I can do parkour. The biggest drawback to this freeness is that that they look pretty ridiculous and you can totally see my dick in them. I complain for a bit but then relinquish as she tosses me a muscle t, which looks pretty good on me despite my no muscles. I take four shots of tequila. Upon leaving I become very aware of the fact that I look like a homeless genie.
We're walking to the yoga place on Saint Marks. I assumed it'd be outside of the village, because I assumed all yoga workshops happen in the back of Jamba Juices. Apparently they don't. I'm trying to hide the outline of my dick by pulling my shirt down over my pants. It's working for a bit and then I stop caring. Let them look. This is a "new" me. Just kidding, I'm pulling the shirt down again. Can we get beers before or after I'm wondering? Maybe both? I'd like to drink during. I'm craving booze. This is hard. We could go to Grassroots, it's right here. It's 8pm; it's technically booze time. Is this what people do at night when they're not normal? They stretch and say mantras? What kind of weirdos am I going to run into? I mean, I'm weird, but I'm like, a clinical weird. These people are going to be "flowy" weird I think. I also am betting it doesn't start on time. I bet these people just Yoga whenever. My girlfriend is getting upset with me because I'm already complaining a lot. Also, I told her I'd keep an open mind and then I started writing an article about it, which is a great way to put a veil between doing something and actually doing it. I'm not actually about to do yoga, I'm about to "do" yoga and then write about it. Those are two different things and she knows it.
Upon arriving at the place, my girlfriend asks me which person here I'd like to have sex with the least. I immediately spot a gruffy looking dude. We head up the stairs and another class is being let out. They're all pretty sweaty, mostly attractive and mostly female. Lots of women, lots of chiseled dudes. Did you ever see Eurotrip? You know Matt Damon's cameo in that? It's kind of like that, but they look more serene. My girlfriend kicks her sandals off in the middle of the hallway next to a poster that gives you the rundown. It seems really Marxist. Everyone is equal; pay what you will, etc. etc. I'm into that but then I kick my Cole Haans off and immediately become untrustworthy. Really? We just leave them here?
Into the room. It's hot. It smells like a bunch of people just did yoga in here. I set my mat down near a chiseled black dude. Almost no one is overweight, but there is a girl who looks EXACTLY like Paul Dano. The class is five minutes late when we finally start. The uh, person who runs things (a yogee?) tells us to get into our resting position, which is where you sit on your heels and put your forehead on the mat. I oblige and am immediately hurting. If this is the "resting" position I'm fucked. My ankles feel like they're breaking and my shoulders are coming out of their sockets. This isn't resting this is painful.
Then we do the downward dog, which is when you put your hands out in front of you and your legs behind you and try and get your hips up to the ceiling. I do this for about 15 seconds and I start to sweat bullets. I have literally no arm strength and they're getting all Bambi-fied. I start to sweat out of my kneecaps, which has never happened before. I'm pissed. I'm really upset I'm here and I'm in pain. It's been about five minutes.
The striking thing is that it's not as new-agey as I thought it would be. The woman is just like "Okay, now you're going to straighten your back leg and get into a 'warrior pose,'" which is fine with me; I'll do that, whatever. The thing that starts to get to me though is that everyone is breathing super weird. No one can do a simple exhale. They have to push it out through their lips, loudly. A whole room of people doing this on their knees feels very Jonestown and emanates creepy vibes. I'm clearly in the wrong place. I'm too negative to be really enjoying this. I start to feel guilty for showing up here. Clearly it's easier for these people. They've been doing it longer. I become very aware I'd make a great chiseled black dude.
I look over to my girlfriend to ask how long we've been doing this and she tells me it's been 45 minutes. That's astounding to me because I completely lost track of time. I'm physically exhausted but not out of breath. Some of the stretches are getting easier, and the resting position actually feels okay. But just as I think I'm about to start enjoying this, I notice what looks like a pube has ended up on my arm. Is it from the mat, the floor, this chiseled black dude? This place is gross and everyone is gross. Can we take a five-minute mat wipe-up break? I feel like people's juices are flowing into it like a gross sweaty river. The final 15 minutes are the most intense and the longest. I feel like I shouldn't have asked for the time because now it's all that I'm aware of. I'm completely determined to keep finishing this even though I'm drowning in sweat. My eyes sting really badly. I've never sweated this much in my entire life. If there was air conditioning it was super shitty air conditioning. I'm trying hard not to pass out or get dizzy.
The last couple minutes of the class the instructor turns the lights down and there's a candle. It's as intimate as you can be with like, 30 people flanking you. Luckily the last "posture" is just lying back and trying to "go beyond the floor" which I start to actually do. This is the corpse-pose. It feels like I'm floating. I really dig it. I'm feeling great. But I don't think yoga made me feel great. I think being physically exhausted and then resting made me feel great. Rest feels good, yoga does not. People are always talking about how fantastic they feel after a workout but I always chock that up to them not working out anymore. Of course you feel great, you don't have a bunch of weights on your arms anymore, asshole.
Before we leave I get to hear these "singing bowls" she was talking about. It's actually kind of cool. It does something interesting to your brain. It's like when I was sixteen and out of pot so I downloaded "binary waves" and tried to trip by listening to them for an hour or so. It didn't work, but when I took the headphones off I felt interesting. The instructor starts to read a poem. It's got something to do with rain and pebbles and it's pretty shitty. My girlfriend says the poem is usually better but somehow I doubt it.
The lights come on and it's time to go. I did it. I did the yoga. I still need a drink, but now I want nothing more than a disgusting, greasy dinner. I don't get that because my lady wants falafel. We go back to her place and I'm exhausted and I smell like some chiseled black dude's balls. I take a shower and go to sleep. The next morning I'm in a lot of pain and I realize I'm never going to do yoga/exercise again until my metabolism slows down and I'm a fat thirty-year-old. Right now my guts are working at full efficiency and I can eat whatever I want to. Generally I feel great, but yoga made me feel like shit. Yoga put my body in pain-mode and I'm not a masochist. Sure, if I did more yoga it'd hurt less, but never less than if I sat at home and watched "The West Wing" instead of physically exerting myself. TV and pot feels way better than this bullshit but at least no one stole my shoes.