Dim the lights.
Turn on the calming, New Agey music.
Lie down on your one-inch-thick mattress pad.
Breathe in, breathe out.
Empty your mind of all thoughts.
So far, so good for this Yooper who’s recently discovered the joys, and challenges, of yoga. You see, I figured it was finally time for me to try something new, something that had been around for, what? A few thousand years or so?
I mean, it’s not like this was Tae Bo or jazzercise or Zumba or the lambada. No, yoga, I’m told, has been around for centuries opening the minds and spirits and bodies of serious human beings.
So what’s to lose? For one, I’d be taking a yoga class instead of a tougher, sweatier session with a treadmill or weights. It’d be easier on the body and also more soothing for the spirit. My mind would soar. I’d be one with the universe.
The lying down flat on the pad was easy. The arching of the back was a little more difficult. An old man’s spine isn’t much for bending.
Then the flipping over, moving the right foot in, the left foot out, twisting your head to one side, then the other, then lifting the right hand up, holding it for five seconds, then lifting the left hand up, holding it for five seconds, then dipping your shoulders…
Then collapsing in a heap.
That was me. While the young ladies all around me were faithfully following the leader’s soothing directions and her graceful positions, I was struggling, with quivering arms and legs, to match what I saw, but I couldn’t do it. It hurt too much, it was too hard, and I looked ridiculous. I didn’t hear any snickering among my fellow yogis, but I suspect, on the inside, when they weren’t spiritually soaring, they were laughing at the old man in the corner.
It didn’t matter which pose I tried–the cobra, the salutation, the half-moon, the dirty dog…or whatever. I couldn’t do it, or at least I couldn’t do it properly.
And not only that, but amidst all my physical struggles, I didn’t have a single moment to allow my spirit to soar. I was not even close to becoming one with the universe. I was simply sweating and shaking and praying for the instructor to give us permission to move into our next pose.
Oh, how I longed for the tedium of a treadmill or a bench press.
However, I must say at the very end of the session, as I was lying prone, eyes closed, listening to the New Agey music and my labored breaths, I did have an epiphany:
It had been nice, for the previous hour, to get away from the busyness and noisyness of the world all around us, even if it meant discovering that my body was not the sublime tool that I thought it was.
And I decided I’d try this yoga thing again. Maybe some day, with a lot of work and devotion, I’d manage to achieve Nirvanha. No wait, I’m getting things mixed up, but you get my drift.