I have to thank List of X for this post. He sent me a link to an article about a politician who thinks Yoga could “open individuals to Satan”. That’s good, because you know how much Satan hates picking locks. Haha, yeah I’m not kidding. In fact here’s the link. It gets better. This guy, E.W. Jackson, is actually the Virginia GOP candidate for lieutenant governor.
Let me take this moment, Virginians, to thank you for temporarily taking the place of Texas as stupidest state in the union.
I have to hand it to this guy. He does insane really well. So much so that quotes from his book (yes of course he wrote a book) Ten Commandments to an Extraordinary Life were pasted up on the conservative website The National Review. When The National Review makes fun of you, that’s a bad sign, man.
Still, I thank him, because without him, I would still be ignorant of the Truth about Yoga. Jackson says you should beware of “emptying yourself” with yoga. I don’t think I’ve ever emptied myself with yoga. That sounds rather unsanitary. Still, he warns against this because Satan “is happy to invade the empty vacuum of your soul and possess it.” I think you’re a little confused there, buddy. It’s not your soul that’s the empty vacuum, it’s your brain.
He adds “this is why people serve Satan without ever knowing it or deciding to.” Really? Does this mean I could be serving Satan right now? With my Downward Dog? Hey, Satan, check out my butt!
Jackson also thinks that “most people are dead spirits.” That would be the voting public, right? He might have a point there, especially if they vote for him. I was intrigued by Mr. Jackson, so followed the link back to The National Review where Betsy Woodruff took delight in posting up these tidbits from this amazing book. Thanks, Betsy, cause there’s even more fun to be had here.
He warns us that the end times are near, and I believe he might be right because he both managed to write a book and run for political office. But a few more things have to happen first. In his words “Part of what must happen during this period of great harvest for the kingdom of God is a massive wealth transfer. It is not going to happen by theft or governmental policy. It is going to happen supernaturally. Those invested in God’s market are going to reap a windfall. Make up your mind now to buy in.”
Wow. I am excited, yet confused. I mean, I certainly want to rake in the dough as it sayeth in the Bible, but I didn’t realize we could buy stock in God. When is this wealth transfer taking place? Silly me, I thought it already had, as 1 percent of our nation holds the majority of the wealth already. Maybe he means that this wealth is going to be transferred to us poor people? This makes sense, really, if you consider the Rapture. Since so many wealthy people also believe themselves God’s elite, then maybe when they are yanked up into Heaven, all this money will just be layin’ around for us. Don’t forget they’ll be leaving their Ralph Lauren duds as well. We are going to be rich and stylin’, folks.
Satan, get thee behind me, cause I’m waitin’ for my windfall. While you’re back there, can you tell me if my butt looks big in these yoga pants?
P.S. And another thing, Satan. Please explain to me Mr. E.W. Jackson, because I’m fairly sure you have something to do with this moron.
So one thing I’ve noticed in my obsessive study of . . . what was it again . . . oh, right yoga, is that everything is a brand. People want to claim something that is supposedly an ancient tradition is their idea because money. There are so many kinds of yoga and just as many yoga-ish programs.
Some of these have interested me because of my loosely attached neck that goes creeeak when I move. I’m desperate because clearly doctors aren’t going to do anything unless I actually break my neck, which somehow I have thus far avoided.
But I don’t want to get taken either. I’ll give you a few examples. First up is the MELT Method created by Sue Hitzman. Basically, it’s a foam roller. That costs 40 bucks. And a 20 dollar book that tells you how to roll on it. The rolling is supposed to massage your muscles and prevent pain. I think it also cures Leprosy. It sounds pretty stupid, and yet . . . people say it works. Is it just placebo? Is it so bad if it is just the placebo effect?
I guess it depends on if you’re being harmed by it or not. When investigating melting, I found a site of physical therapists who really, really hated this program. Apparently, in an effort at D.I.Y., people managed to hurt themselves. With a foam noodle. That’s pretty impressive. And then the therapists have to correct their correcting. Sort of like when certain men think they can fix a house despite having no knowledge of house fixing because IS MAN (cue grunt).
Another one is called Yoga Tune Up. Instead of a roller, Jill Miller has balls. No, not those kind, I mean the kind you bounce. They are toys for children. Oh just . . . look at a picture, then.
From what I understand, they are Pinky bouncy balls (1 buck a piece at Wal-Mart) that she slapped a label on which ups the price to 12 bucks for two of them. Impressive. She has you roll around on the balls on the floor or up against the wall. It’s supposed to also work those sore muscles. I tried this with one of my unlabeled Pinky balls. I then wondered if this was such a good idea, rolling a ball up against my spine since I don’t know what I’m doing and spines are pretty important, or so I hear. Jill does have experience with both physical therapy and yoga, whereas I mostly have experience in smacking into walls and falling over.
Finally, I stumbled upon something called YogAlign by Michaelle Edwards. She says that the postures people commonly do in yoga are bad because bodies aren’t supposed to be right angles, they’re supposed to be all curvy. So you know how you can’t bend over straight and touch your toes? You aren’t supposed to – apparently this is why we have those bendy things called knees.
A lot of it makes sense, but in order to test it I have to pay 60 bucks for a book and a DVD. The only thing I’ve heard from this program is praise. Also, the creator of this program is really good at self promotion. I mean, really, really good to the point of STOP IT ALREADY. Find an article about yoga somewhere, and she’ll have comments on it that just happen to advertise her new form of yoga.
She could be right. On the other hand, I find it suspicious that suddenly one person has discovered all the answers. After all these years one person said, hey, bodies shouldn’t go bendy like that so let’s totally redesign yoga. And then market it. You can find her book on Amazon – there are only glowing positive reviews. Either she really is the Yoga Messiah or something fishy is going on. For one thing, I’m curious about just how different her methods are from the modifications you can find in many yoga books already, but at 60 bucks that’s a lot for an experiment.
But what if she’s right? Or what if the other two are right? All I need is some balls (cough) and a roller and the knowledge of how to do yoga differently than every other yoga teacher and I’ll feel better. Or maybe I should just make up my own yoga program and make money and then I won’t care that my neck hurts because I will be able to hire someone to hold up my neck while I walk.
What do you guys think? Have you heard of any of these programs? I’d love to know. Also, check out the new Alice Roller Ball Yoga, on sale soon.
One of the things I’ve learned from yoga is the importance of posture. Turns out if you slump, this does negative things to your back. So THAT explains Quasimodo. I bet that bell tower he lived in was not ergonomically correct.
I know for sure my desk isn’t. It’s from the 1970s, back when computers still filled up a room and no one dreamed we’d all be working on one that could fit on a desk. So we have these old desks with no pull out tray and somehow my wrists have not taken this very well. Whereas I used to cramp after writing a letter, now I cramp when I type for an extended period of time. This is BAD. I mean, maybe not for some of you who are saying for the love of GAWD pleeze stop with the 50 Shades. But without writing, I think my head might explode.
Back to posture. See, posture affects everything. Bad posture can make it hard to breathe, can mess up your back, your neck, your head, your butt, your legs, and of course your wrists. Carpal tunnel, man, it sucks especially when people leave scalpels in your body. With my luck, that would happen if I had surgery. I’d have a knife in me, or worse, a cell phone and I’d keep getting that doctor’s phone calls and wonder what that strange ringing noise in my stomach was and and I’d finally go totally insane.
So posture is important. This is where yoga comes in – it shows you how to have good posture. In mountain pose, you’re supposed to stand firm – like a mountain. Which is tall and firm. Unless there is, like, an avalanche. This happens to me on the yoga mat sometimes. And obviously posture is important while sticking your butt in the air during Downward Dog. Although turns out this is killer on your wrists. Who knew, what with balancing all your weight on them and all. Yet yoga teachers are OBSESSED with Downward Dog. You have to wonder about yoga teachers sometimes.
So I’m trying to get all ergonomic, as much as I’m able. I stuck my monitor on a phone book to make it more level. And I adjusted my chair, though my chair was probably made in the 80s back when aerobics was king and no one gave a damn about posture as long as you jumped a lot and wore spandex. So my chair sucks too, ergonomically speaking. I’ve been typing nonsense for a while now and guess what? Cramp. What to do, what to do. I KNOW! A video!
This is one of the best videos ever – at least it is when made fun of by the MST3K robots. If you’ve never watched these guys rip bad movies apart, you really should. And they’re even funnier on old shorts from the 40s and 50s. This short is the exciting story of a teacher who spends an entire week teaching posture. The kids who do the best become king, queen, prince, or princess of posture! Don’t knock it, you guyz. I was actually elected Queen of Posture back in 3rd grade and it looks awesome on a college application.
So anyhoo, sit back and enjoy and be happy we are no longer back in the good ole’ days.
I didn’t realize I was so old. It happened all of a sudden. One minute I was twelve, and the next I was about to turn 37. In one month. June. June 29th, to be specific, for all of you who I just know are going to write me fabulous blog posts in my honor. Write that date down. Are you writing that down? Because I also want a Super Soaker water gun.
Anyway. Next month, I’m also going to get a nine-year-old and, dear God, even worse, a thirteen-year-old, because I didn’t feel old enough already. All our birthdays are in the same month so that by July, I’m starting to not want cake. There is something wrong when I don’t want cake.
There is something wrong when I turn 37. I’m not 40 yet, I mean there’s still three years to go, right, so according to People Magazine I haven’t yet gone over the hill so everything should . . . what was that? I bent my neck and something made a grating snapping sound. Snap. Crackle. Pop. Ouch. I’m not sure which is worse – the actual pain from the popping or the SOUND of the popping. I’m pretty sure joints aren’t supposed to do that sort of thing.
I went to the doctor a while ago for this. He said, and I quote, “Bones just do that when you get older.” And I gave him a look that said something like “WTF I AM THIRTY SOMETHING NOT EIGHTY WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR DEGREE A CRACKER JACK BOX?” I think I made him nervous with my shouty caps eyes, so he wrote me a prescription for physical therapy. That was only available from 8 to 5 because that’s just incredibly helpful for something who also works from 8 to 5. I’ve never met anyone who works from 9 to 5. Wtf with that song, Dolly?
I went during my lunch hour and there was this really cute peppy young woman who worked on me and I immediately hated her. She put these things on my neck with electrodes and it made my muscles do freaked out jumpy things that did not make me feel magically better. Muscles aren’t supposed to do jumpy things without you making them do jumpy things.
So I quit going because I can do stupid stuff to myself on my own time and I really preferred to have lunch on my lunch hour. So my neck is still in bad shape. I’d gotten kind of used to that, since it’s been going on a while, but now my hip hurts when I lie down sometimes. And my wrists – wtf, wrists, just because I wrote thousands of notes for years in school and then type during work and then go home and type stupid blog posts that’s no reason to act all wimpy and crap. Sheesh.
Most recently, it’s been the knees. I’m not sure if this is because of my yoga or not. After dissing that Science of Yoga guy, I’m starting to wonder. Maybe I can blame this all on yoga. I mean, look at the postures they have you do. Put all your body weight on your wrists and stick your butt in the hair! Good! Now act like you are sitting in a chair, but there’s no chair, so you’re just there in midair and you look like an idiot and your hamstrings are screaming at you for God’s sake stop! I started yoga to feel better, not feel worse.
Of course I now have to wonder if it’s the chicken or the egg. Was I going to have joint pain anyway, because I won the lotto of depression, asthma and arthritis? Or have I made it worse by contorting my body in weird ways because damn it I sucked at sports but I was always flexible look at me throw my leg back I am a yoga champ and owwww. Snap, crackle, pop.
I really don’t want to give up yoga, because my OCD starts panicking at the thought of having to find something else to obsess about. Also, I kind of like it. But is it helping or hurting? I don’t know. It doesn’t help that my yoga books completely contradict each other. For instance, one says for knee pain relief do chair pose, tree pose, or triangle. And the other book says, and I swear I am not making this up, whatever you do, don’t do chair pose, tree pose, or triangle because that’s bad for the knees.
Anyone else had these joint issues, or am I the only one? If you do, how do you help yourself feel better? Does yoga help or hurt? Also, it would be awesome if you have the magic elixir I’ve been searching for, because lista de email told me she had it but SHE LIED you guyz. That makes me want to make something go SNAP.
Snap, crackle, pop.
P.S. June 29th. Write it down. Super Soaker.
- The Benefits of Practicing Yoga for Carpal Tunnel (yoga.answers.com)
- A Journey, not the destination (omgirlsguide.wordpress.com)
- Namaste (yearigrewup.wordpress.com)
- what does your yoga look like OUTSIDE of the yoga room? (juiceboxyoga.wordpress.com)
- Yoga Poses to Improve Concentration (healthylifestylesliving.wordpress.com)
Yoga has gotten some more attention recently from the New York Times, the highly respected newspaper whose bestseller list includes the literary masterpiece 50 Shades of Grey. So you know you can trust these guys. Anyway, one of their prize “science” journalists, William Broad, wrote a book called The Science of Yoga. In order to
promote book sales warn people of the dangers of yoga, he had articles printed in the New York Times both before the printing of the hardback “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body” and then later the paperback “The Perils of Yoga for Men”.
I read both articles and the negative and positive reviews on Amazon. The positive ones assured people that while the articles were biased and showed no sign of actual science, research, or journalism, the book was much more balanced. So I checked it out of the library to find out for myself. Now I’m going to give you my total professional opinion of this book, okay, so get ready.
It sucked. It really did. I tried to go into it with an open mind. I mean, yes, recently I’ve gotten into yoga, but I’m not so into it that I can’t admit that there might be problems with it. I think it’s common sense to look at certain poses and realize there is slight potential for stuff like muscle strains, dislocated bones, and decapitation. And yeah, some of the claims I’ve seen are a bit out there. I highly doubt that yoga is actually going to remove that wart on my hand or cure AIDS. On the other hand, it does help with a lot of other ailments. Even if some of that help is pure placebo; if it works, it works.
Not according to Broad. This guy, who says he’s done yoga for years, seems to have some sort of personal vendetta against yoga. He mentions sustaining an injury, but admits that this was mostly because he wasn’t paying attention, so that hardly seems enough reason to hate yoga. I think some yogi pissed him off somehow. Maybe a yogi stole his car, or his girlfriend, or his journalistic integrity. I’m not sure. But he goes above and beyond to try and prove that yoga is dangerous, and yoga instructors are untrained and/or stupid and/or malicious.
Now I’ve had my doubts about whether a class is the best place to learn yoga. There’s not as much one on one attention, and it is true that teachers (in general) only need to have 200 hours of instruction to become certified by the National Yoga Association. The exception to this is Bikram Yoga (the yoga done in boiler rooms) whose teachers have to have a lot more training and also be certified insane. In most yoga classes, everyone is expected to do the same thing and not every body is exactly the same or at the same level. So at the moment I’m considering my options. Is it safer to trust someone who is working with several people and might not be qualified or working with myself (ie someone who is definitely not qualified) and a DVD or book. I’m not sure.
One of Broad’s big problems is that yoga isn’t regulated by the federal government (cause we can totally trust politicians), and the injuries aren’t tracked down to the last person, so it’s possible that there are bazillions of injuries out there, all due to yoga.
Quick, everybody, throw out your yoga mats! We’re all gonna dieeeeeee!!!!!
Of course it’s also possible that there are injuries out there related to working in a library (I can attest to that. The secretary gave me my very own box of band-aids for my desk.) and raising children (they don’t even require 200 hours to quality for that, just like, five minutes) and writing (zomg carpal tunnel!) and come to think of it, I’m surprised I’m still alive. These science people need to get on the ball and study this crap, pronto.
Anyway, I read the book, peeps, I did. I didn’t see a lot of documented science there. I saw a lot cherry-picking and ego-tripping (he is like TOTALLY the very first guy to ever realize that people can get hurt doing yoga you guyz!) and sensationalism. The most controversial chapter was about yoga injuries. He had some questionable studies from the seventies and a couple of individual stories. In one a woman sustains injuries by falling asleep while in a forward bend. Who the hell does this? I think my chances of falling asleep while folded up are rather low, personally. Same for the guy who sat meditating for days at a time. You mean that might get sore after a while? You THINK?
His biggest scare is the STROKE warning. It IS possible to have a stroke while doing yoga. Also while getting your hair done at the beauty parlor. And while reading 50 Shades of Grey (maybe not, but it wouldn’t surprise me.) The biggest reason behind people getting strokes comes from people bending their necks all crazy. So don’t bend your neck in weird directions, okay, guys? There. I have officially saved your life. Give me my Pulitzer now.
He does talk about more than injuries (although the OMG YOGA IS SCARY) is sprinkled liberally throughout the book. He says yoga can make you fat. No, really. That’s why there are all those fatty yogis out there, doncha know? He says it slows down your metabolism. Okay, so yoga isn’t going to trim you up as much or as fast as frantic aerobics (unless you try that Kandalini chick’s stuff) but people do lose weight. Part of this comes from the mental changes. He acknowledges that Yoga is good for depression and other people with whacked out brains. But even this bears a hint of condescension. Like, okay, so it helps people with the mentals, but nothing physically, and that’s we want, right? Nevermind that whole mind-body connection thing that’s been studied with actual credible studies. Pfft.
But here I’ve almost missed the best part, the other part that is also liberally sprinkled throughout the book. Sex. Sex, sex, sex. Yoga, according to Broad’s research, was founded by sex-crazed perverts called Tantras. That’s where Tantric Yoga comes from, and all those revered gurus? Yeah, they were like having crazy yogasms all over the place with girls, girls, girls! The scandal! I mean, have you ever heard of a man in power having indiscriminate sex? I know! I was shocked too. But it’s true – if you do yoga, you will get huge sexual rushes. This makes me especially concerned about my last post on yoga for children. But hey, it’s never too early for sex education, huh?
Of course, this leads to a bit of confusion. Yoga is not going to make you fit. In fact, it’s probably going to kill you dead. On the other hand, yoga will give you really hot sex. Decisions, decisions. Dead or sex? I will have to meditate on this a while. If I don’t get back to you, well, if the mat’s a rockin’, don’t come knockin’, kay?
P.S. Have you guys read the book or the articles? What’s your opinion?
I saw a book the other day entitled Yoga for Children (actually there are several on Amazon.com right now) and I had to laugh. Seriously? A book teaching kids how to do yoga? Don’t they realize that children pretty much invented yoga? I have a strong suspicion ancient yogis came up with this stuff by watching their kids. “Huh, so my son is standing on his head while doing the splits and eating Twinkies. Maybe I should try that and teach it to others to promote spiritual enlightenment.”
But here we have people thinking we have to teach our kids this stuff. Have kids changed that much with all the electronics? I don’t know. My kids certainly loved tumbling around and standing on their heads, or lying upside down on the couch with their heads touching the floor. Another favorite was jumping, crawling, and lying on me, their very favorite prop. I did the same thing, only upped it about a dozen notches. I enjoyed tumbling toward the television (this was when TVs came in big cabinets that sat on the floor and if you wanted to change the channel you had to get off your butt and pull a KNOB it was the dark ages truly!) Anyway, I gave my mother quite a few heart attacks with that, but never did fly into the T.V.
I also didn’t fall off the roof, but not from lack of trying. Once, a friend and I climbed up on the roof. Brilliant children that we were, we didn’t think about how my parents might hear us clambering around out there and realize we weren’t giant mutant squirrels. I remember them yelling and being in BIG TROUBLE but not the specific punishment. I didn’t do it again, though. Well, not on my own house anyway.
I did like being upside down. I performed headstands up against the wall. I hung off of jungle gyms and monkey bars. I watched T.V. in “plow pose”, “pigeon pose”, “downward dog”, various forward bends, backward bends, and combinations of these ancient yoga postures. Who knew I was doing yoga? Also, to all those who think T.V. makes one sedentary. Pfft.
But these days we have to teach it to kids? I can’t find the image now, but somewhere I saw a child doing, ironically, child’s pose. It cracked me up. The poor kid looked bushed. Like, what, had he been at the Lego Star Wars too long? If so, shouldn’t he be doing some sort of carpal tunnel treatment? Even weirder are pictures of children meditating. On what? “Oh, wow, like that last Dora the Explorer really gave me a paradigm shift there. I must think on this.”
I only wish I could have the limberness of my childhood without the total lack of fear or sanity. Back when I was a kid, I was immortal, therefore I did not worry about breaking bones like my arm or my leg or my neck. I was mostly made of rubber. Not so much now. And now is when I need it. Perhaps I can go to my local preschool and find a child guru. I already know they have nice mats for naptime.
What about your kids? Are they yoga gurus too, or do we really need these books?
When I first starting dipping into Yoga, I had no idea how freaking deep the yoga ocean was, and by “deep” I’m not talking philosophical, I’m talking THERE IS A LOT OF YOGA CRAP OUT THERE. Books, DVDs, clothing, music, accessories, props, and on and on. Just to give you an example, I did a few searches on Amazon. Here are my results.
191,343,885 in All Departments
22, 794 clothing
25, 559 books
6, 201 DVDs
4, 005 music
Holy Batcrap, Batman! Even taking into consideration that sometimes Amazon thinks an e-reader is related to yoga, and some possible duplications, that’s a lot of stuff for a discipline that is supposed to simplify your life! Also, I find it highly amusing to note that there is more clothing than anything else. Because screw the books and DVDs if you don’t look good while doing Yoga, am I right?
I actually bought some workout clothes back when I was trying various kinds of workouts. Sure I could workout in old sweats, but I like the way some of the clothes hold in areas of your body that otherwise do not stay where you want them to stay. It’s important to have, say, your boobs compressed if you’re a female (and possibly if you’re a male, I’m not judging here) if you do anything physical. Also, in yoga, you really need something that fits fairly well on top unless you want it falling in your face when you are invariably told to turn upside down. Yoga likes people upside down.
I don’t just have clothes, of course. Since I’m a librarian, I admit to having a book problem. I love books. I don’t have nearly the number of books my librarian mother has, but I do have some that I keep for various reasons. Sometimes it’s because they are funny (I have almost everything Dave Barry has ever written) or because they’re pretty or because I swear I’m going to read it someday. The last category is the biggest one. Periodically, I weed out books, donate some, and sell a few to Hastings – at which point I immediately buy more books. As I often say, working in a library for me is like an alcoholic working in a liquor store. Not very healthy. Especially since it’s free, so you can take out as many items as you want and Holy Batcrap in a Hat you want them all, of course.
Libraries are not the free entities they appear, though, my friend. That is a ruse. Suuuure, check out as much stuff as you want, they say. Oh, but you will have to pay fines when you forget to return the books on time. And you will forget to return the books on time. Because you’ve lost them, haven’t you? And now you have to buy the books from us. Thank you for supporting your public library!
Since I am guilty of this very thing, I figured I’d just buy some books, especially if they were on the bargain rack (discount liquor, guys!) So now I have several books. But I haven’t even scratched the surface. I’ve figured something out. If I want to get published, I should write a book on yoga. There are so many, probably no one would notice that I don’t have the faintest idea what I’m talking about. And I know the title. Yoga Twilight Sexy Times. Bestseller for sure.
Then there are the DVDs. Oh, so many. I love comparing instructors. The boring ones, the hyperactive insane ones (see the spooky Kundalini chic), the evil ones (yoga meltdown, noooo) the zen ones, the athletic ones, the scarily skinny ones, and the ones who stepped out of a Richard Simmons video. Just looking at the beginner DVDs alone is astounding, especially what they consider to be “beginner.” I’ve started with some only to stop and just watch the instructor continue to bounce from one position to the next, down dog, salute the sun, down dog, salute the sun, down dog, I’m not saluting the freaking sun again so stop it!
And finally, let’s not forget the props! Sure, technically you could do yoga without this crap, but where’s the fun in that? You’ll need a mat, of course, that’s a given. Try to make it an actual yoga mat, and not a fruity sixties bathmat. Then there’s yoga blocks (don’t tell me to use my yoga books as blocks those are for sitting on my bookshelf and looking pretty!), yoga blankets (really), yoga bolsters, yoga beads (like the rosary without the Catholic), yoga straps (a belt, but way cooler, cause it’s, um, yoga). It’s outrageous what you can pay for some of this stuff, all so that you can relax already. But I’ll admit, I bought some of it. Bolsters are overpriced, but worth it, because they are really supportive of your body. I have one that I was going to take a picture of, but I lost my camera. Anyway, my yoga teacher made it, it is beautiful, and I call it my preciousssss. There is nothing wrong with me.
So anyway, with all this stuff, you can start to get slightly overwhelmed, yes? I know I have! But I like to throw myself into learning new things head first (I have gotten a few head injuries this way). If you want some real details with pictures and links and stuff, go see this post at braith an’ lithe’s blog. There’s some cool stuff here. Okay, so it’s stuff from the U.K., but it gives you an idea of what’s out there. Have fun, and remember – a yoga bolster can act as a floatation device if you are afraid of drowning in yoga metaphors. Good luck and Namaste and all that.
Last week I learned that there was a yoga studio in my home town. I was surprised, as generally the height of culture here in my small Texas town is going to a gun show. It had an interesting name, though. They called it “Christian Yoga”.
Alice was curious.
It cost ten bucks, so I figured at the very least I’d get an amusing anecdote for my blog out of it. I admit a bit of trepidation. I mean, why “Christian” Yoga? As opposed to what? Islamic Yoga? Jewish Yoga? Scientologist Yoga? I mean, I’m fairly certain Yoga is not relegated to any one religion. My best guess is that they were trying to assure Christians that they wouldn’t be converted to some weird foreign and possibly Satanic religion while contorting into various positions. That’s just silly. I mean, why would you think Yoga would do something bizarre like that?
Oh. Right. Okay, so I went in expecting just about anything. Would there be creepy dead Jesus crosses on the wall? Because regular crosses are not so bad, but when he’s hanging off them like that, it kind of weirds me out. There were no crosses. No big posters with sappy biblical sayings. Okay. I relax a little. There’s a nice lady teacher, and she’s cool with me being a little late despite speeding all the way there with my hands clenched on the steering wheel. Yeah, I know the irony there.
There were only four other students, and most of them looked older than I did. Score. I figure I can do as well as they can. Or better. I have at least tried out a few videos. There’s a wall of mirrors on the opposite wall, like in a dance class. It’s convenient in that we can see ourselves as we pose. It’s also horrific. I make sure to move into the center of one mirror, as otherwise I look twice as big as I am. That’s not relaxing.
We start out lying on our mats. I brought my extra cushy one. It’s way cushier than the mats of the other students. Poor saps. While we’re lying there with our eyes closed, the teacher reads a one sentence verse from the Bible. “Thou must not poke thy neighbor’s eye out” or something like that. But that’s it. Then we’re ready to begin with sun salutations. She adds a few different words to it, like when we open our arms we are opening “to grace”. Just in case we thought we were worshipping the sun. We’re just saluting it, so it’s cool.
As it turns out, cushy mat might not have been the best idea. While it helps my knees on the lunges, my feet keep sinking into it and slipping around. I am a drunk Warrior One and Two. But I don’t fall down. I wobble. Like a Weeble. A Weeble doing Yoga. Tree pose is even worse. In Tree pose, you stand on one leg with the other leg bent with your foot on your thigh. I think it’s a lot more like a Flamingo than a tree, but maybe there weren’t very many Flamingos in ancient India. After my tree nearly falls over, I decide to move off the mat and near the wall. Much better.
There’s a lot of movement here. This pose, then this pose, and then this pose, and back to this pose. She has to move my leg around a few times. I have forgotten left from right and where my knees are. But she moves a few other people too, so it’s not just me. I can probably still get my A out of this. Wait. No grades. Stop it, Alice. A competition, Yoga is not. Says Yoga. Yoda. Crap. She’s moving again, keep up!
Yoga is just full of these awkward poses. One is Downward Dog. If you think like a ten-year-old, as I do, that name probably makes you snort. Until you try it. Basically you get on all fours and stick your butt way in the air. Very dignified like. I’m not sure if I’m doing it right or not. Is there a proper way to point your butt? Are the others pointing their butts properly? In my position, I can’t see if I’m still the best.
Not that this is a competition. After a while, I start sweating. And we’re not even doing hot Yoga. People think Yoga is wimpy exercise. These people have not tried it. Just try doing the “Triangle” for instance. Your legs are wide apart and you are leaning over with one arm up in the air. Holding these poses is tough. I just hope to God there isn’t a pose called the Hexagon coming up.
But so far, I’m doing pretty well. At least I think I am, until I look over and realize the teacher and the rest of the class are doing the pose exactly opposite of the way I’m doing the pose. Suddenly I’m that one little ballerina that’s off doing her own thing while the other ballerinas are all lined up like tiny dolls. I guess it could be worse. At least I didn’t lift my skirt over my head like my Thing One did at her first dance recital. She did have the excuse of being four-years-old, though.
At long last, we’re allowed to go back to our mats, vertebrae by vertebrae. As in, don’t flop your butt down on the mat. I’m not sure if I hit each vertebrae in my spine. Is that points off? There are no points, Alice. The teacher walks around and hands us blankets and bolsters. This is the easy part here. Corpse pose. That’s a really spooky name for a pose. Like we’re dead. I prefer to call it collapsing from exhaustion pose.
Yet this easy pose is really not all that easy. My back hurts. She offers me a chair to prop my legs in. Better, except I don’t think I’d fit in a coffin very well that way. I try to relax, but like in Kindergarten when they told us to nap and we didn’t want to nap (why???), I find myself having a difficult time relaxing. Breathe in, breathe out. It is nice lying there in the dark, eyes closed. You can even get a bean bag to put over your eyes to block out the light. No word on whether we get to do bean bag tosses later.
Too soon, nap time’s over and we have to get up. We sit together and have tea. Yes, Alice has a tea party after Yoga. Naturally. Will I go back? I think so. I like Yoga, even with the wobbling and the wtf poses. And the STUFF. I mentioned stuff before, right? I’ll tell you more about Yoga merchandizing next time.
Check out these other cool Yoga posts from my peeps in da bloggerhood:
Miss Four Eyes – The People You Meet at Yoga
Rarasaur – Blogging is Like Yoga
Carrie Rubin – Yoga Yoda Helps Me Find My Ergonomic Zen
I’ve researched a lot of different workout programs. That’s what I do. Obsessively research. Everything. It’s a handy disorder for library work, but not much else. Last time I let you know that I’d narrowed it down to Yoga. Then I figured something out. There are eleventy-billion versions of Yoga.
The first time I experienced something like this was when I started learning about penguins. Thing Two has been crazy about those wacky birds since she was two years old. There are like 17 different species of penguin. Of penguin. I mean, seriously? Yes. They range in size from about a foot to four feet (the well known emperor penguin). I bet you didn’t think you’d get penguin facts in a yoga post. That’s just the kind of extra oomph I offer you in my blog.
Anyway, so I’ve checked out lots of yoga books and videos. And I’ve bought some too. Also yoga accessories. You can buy lots of yoga crap as it turns out. I’m all into that. If you’re going to go into something, go all the way I say. That’s why I paid money for a cushy yoga mat and two foam blocks. For my HEALTH people. There are tons of other products I can
waste my money on invest in if I choose. More on that in a later post.
First I have to tell you about the different kinds of Yoga. According to the women’s health site there’s Anusura, Ashtanga, Bikram, Hatha, Lyengar, Kundalini, Restorative, Power, Furby, Tatooine, Hokey Pokey, and more! I might have made the last three types up. Bikram is yoga that you do in a room turned up to 150 degrees. That way your body becomes like Plastic Man’s and you can do all sorts of poses. Also you can see all sorts of colors as you dehydrate out all your brain cells.
I’m thinking that’s not my type. I don’t like sweating. Power Yoga was also quickly eliminated. Power Yoga is basically the Western way of screwing up an Eastern tradition. Someone said, hey, let’s take the worst parts of Yoga, stretching people’s bodies to the limit, rip out all the relaxing, spiritual parts, add in a lot of aerobic crap and market it to Type A Americans. That’s why Jillian Michaels has a Yoga video. Jillian. She is not what I associate with inner peace. More like extreme horror.
Hatha seems to be the most common type, at least in my area. It’s fairly basic. There’s stretching and meditation, but no chanting and chakra stuff. That works for me. I also like Restorative yoga, which is great for stress relief. You lay on pillows and breathe. I’m all for laying on pillows and breathing. In fact, I rather consider myself an expert at that. I might open a studio soon.
I did learn about one other type of Yoga in detail. I got a book from the library on Kandalini Yoga. It was a nice, pleasant book with soft, relaxing colors. Sure she mentioned lining up your chakras and chanting om and stuff, but eh, no matter. It looked okay. So when I saw a video of this type of Yoga at the library, I thought why not?
Oh, my peeps, there were so, so, so, SO MANY reasons why not.
First off, I should have taken a clue from just looking at the cover of the video. It was called “Fat Free Yoga” which is a rather odd title. Are they saying no fat people should do this? Or that they have somehow removed the fat out of the yoga routine? Is this a diet Yoga video?
The girl on the cover looked like a recent graduate of a hippie concentration camp. As you can see in the picture, she sits in front of a purple swirling rainbow vortex of some sort. The cover mentions something about a Matrix menu. Trust me, the Matrix is not just in the video menu.
I took it home and popped it in the machine. The Things decided to help me review this video. Pretty soon they are going to run from the room as soon as I turn on the television. In the beginning, we zoom into a white room with a woman sitting on a shaggy, round pink bath rug type thing centered in the middle of flower petals. Normally you hear gentle, non-distracting music in the background, but here we’ve got some Indian tune. I actually like Indian music, usually, but somehow this theme makes me think of those old 60s videos with people smoking pot and yammering about the universe.
She says nothing in the video, but there is a disembodied voice that speaks to you, and it’s not at all creepy. It’s also, interestingly, a male voice, which gives you the vibe of some guy peeking in her window and reporting his observations. A guy who first smoked a little crack.
Our bony little Yogi is wearing dog eared ponytails that I normally don’t see on people over twelve, and a little spandex outfit that’s way too small for her. Maybe she borrowed the outfit and the ponytail holders from her little sister. She also made the mistake of tanning herself a Cheeto orange and not investing in a bra. Let’s just say it was clearly a little cool in the room.
She starts out cross legged, looking somewhat normal. This is the last time she does this. Soon she opens her mouth and starts chanting oma lama ding dong or something to that effect, punctuated by Lamaze style huffing and puffing. I half expected her to give birth to a pea sized baby. At one point, she began panting like a dog. The Things crowded in closer. “I’m scared, Mommy,” reported Thing Two.
But this was only the beginning. After the breathing, chanting stuff, she starts to shake her head back and forth. And not gently either, we’re talking whiplash inducing whipping of the head, back and forth, until you half expect the head to go flying off her neck. Soon you start hoping this happens. After the head shaking, she goes back to the huffy breathing and chanting. Then just when she’s calmed down, she hops up and starts swinging around some more. I sat, fascinated. I’d never seen anything so incredibly bizarre before.
It’s really indescribable, which is why I encourage you to check it out. I included a clip here from youtube, but it doesn’t even scratch the surface of the insanity. Suffice it to say, if that’s Kandalini Yoga, I think I’m sticking to the basics. More on my adventures in Yogaland later. Now I leave you with the spookiest Yoga chick on the planet. Enjoy.