Friday, May 14, 2010

Yoga lies

Once a week, a group of us gather at my house and take yoga from a teacher who is willing to come to us. I suck at it, but I enjoy the work and am slowly improving. I have to tell the world, though, that yoga sits on a throne of lies.

Think about it: Yoga purports to be all mellow and go-with-the-flow, like a bad jazz AM station. What it really is, however, is what any at all serious physical training must be: torture.

Consider these sample statements from our teacher and what they really mean.

Let your arm float up any amount.

Push it up there, stretch it as far as you can, and then stretch it some more. I said more. More!

Enjoy that position for a few more breaths.

Stay there until your whole body is trembling and you can't do it any longer--and then a few seconds more. More! Didn't you hear me say more!

Challenge yourself.

Push! Don't stop. It doesn't matter if it hurts. Just do it!


Now, having said all that, let me be clear: I really enjoy the class. I like our teacher. I hope to keep doing it for a very long time.

I just happen to prefer my exercise torture to be straight up, without any softening.


Todd said...

Yoga is torture. Sort of the Robin Hood (which I watched today).

Good luck with it - I want to discuss it with you after you see it.

John Lambshead said...

On another nore. How did you like Russel Crowe's authentic Irish accent?

Mark said...

I look forward to the discussion, Todd.

Mark said...

John, I haven't seen the movie yet, but I'm sure it sucked.

Laura said...

For straight-up torture, I recommend Pilates, especially a class purported to be for all levels but in actuality geared toward advanced students. It's the only time I've ever left a gym in tears...

Mark said...

Laura, if a Pilate teacher would come to my house, I'd give it a go.

Bernadette Bosky said...

I don't know if I think you've got the wrong kind of teacher, or you're going about it wrong, or what! I have individual lessons with a highly experienced yoga teacher (she mainly teaches people to teach yoga), also getting her PhD in physical therapy, and "torture" is one of the furthest words from my mind. If you force a stretch, it will hurt; if you breathe as you should in yoga and relax into it, it will in no way hurt. After all, using a muscle contracts it, right? I love feeling myself able to bend and reach further as I relax. Tired muscles may burn, but in a good way, not pain. I am boggled.

Mark said...

Bernadette, in large part I'm joking, but in part also I like to push myself far when exercising.

Bernadette Bosky said...

Ah. And I thought that yoga was one physical activity no one could get all macho about because, unlike with running and weight lifting, pain actually means you're doing it wrong. Now, getting all competitive about how relaxed (& hence flexible) one can get and how deep breaths one can take, at least that's in the yoga spirit. (I'm only at 7 seconds inhale, 10 seconds exhale. Very good at a nice, slow come-down from the Bridge, though, which I'd guess you do for your back.)

Mark said...

I don't view it as being macho and competitive, and I could make a case for my approach--maybe over a beverage at NASFiC--but in that entry I was mostly just being funny.

Bernadette Bosky said...

Beverage at Nasfic is a deal. BTW, I mentioned this discussion at yoga, and my teacher (whom I refer to as YogaJane, her online name) says she does have one very macho, competitive student who takes pride in doing the "one-minute breath": 20 second inhale, 25-30 second exhale. Wow!


Blog Archive