I AM trying to like yoga. So I go at it again and again. After attending eight or ten classes over the last eight or ten years and finding the other students insufferably enlightened, I have recently taken to watching DVDs in the comfort of my own home. Currently I am using a program called 5 Day Fit Yoga that promises to “make every day matter” and “transform your mind and body.” Who doesn’t want that?
Filmed in Hawaii, the opening sequence shows a man named Rod Stryker, the only American to have earned the title of Yogiraj from another teacher named Mani Finger, which would have been a great name for one of Tony Soprano’s boys. Anyway, Rod appears shirtless and wearing tights, sitting on a big rock against a backdrop of fluffy white clouds, an azure sky, breaking waves and distant green mountains. The whole scene is very picturesque, and Rod seems like a nice enough fellow. Determined, I move the coffee table out of the way and plunk down my purple yoga mat, ready to do whatever Rod says in order to get “strong and centered.” After stretching this way and hugging his knees and looking towards the sky and crossing one leg over the other and then stretching that way, he starts with the breathing, and I start hating him.
Did you know that breathing in through one nostril and breathing out through both nostrils reduces stress and stimulates creativity and imagination? Me either. Time was I ran three or four miles a day and worked up a sweat. After doing that for 20 years I was diagnosed with an arthritic hip and told that continued running would land me in surgery. I replaced the running with thrice-weekly aerobics classes. Eventually more doctors said, “No impact, ever!” Now I’m busy closing off one nostril and breathing through the other. Just shoot me. Then shoot Rod.
Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid.