A few days ago, a friend told me she wanted to try out yoga and, knowing that I’d been exercising, asked if I’d like to take some classes with her.
“Sure!” I said excitedly. “Yoga sounds like fun!” Isn’t yoga pretty much just stretching? I can stretch! No problem! She found a great special that let us take unlimited classes for a month for $40. Awesome! Before our first class, I ran out to Target and bought a yoga mat so I looked all official and like I knew what I was doing.
So, today I met my friend, Sandi at
The House of Evil yoga place. We walked in amid all the thin people who look like they do stuff like yoga. The woman behind the counter (who will be known forthwith as Satan) welcomed us. She took one look at the nice, cushy mat I’d brought and told me it wouldn’t do as it offered a modicum of comfort and comfort is not allowed in yoga. I had to use one of their paper thin mats instead. And who knew you needed to bring a towel? I sure didn’t. Although, in hindsight, I would have done well to bring a couple dozen towels. And some sponges.
We walked through the door into the yoga room and were immediately hit with a wall of heat and humidity. The air in the room would make the rainforests of the Amazon feel like a polar ice cap. It was over 100 degrees in there with enough humidity to drown a small child. We spread out our mats and sat down, talking and giggling about the ungodly heat. The rest of the people in the class were stretching and warming up, quietly sitting, and calmly relaxing.
Satan came in and took her place on the platform. She informed us that the class would last for an hour and a half, but it would feel like a lifetime, and would consist of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. Then she laid down the law that we were not allowed to drink water until
death was about to claim us after the third posture. If we couldn’t do a posture or we felt like we were going to throw up or pass out, we could simply lie down facing the door until the moment of sanity passed and we felt like getting up and torturing ourselves again.
And the class began. Already I was covered in sweat from the intense heat and humidity and so far, all I’d done was stand up. We began with some sort of lamaze-type breathing. As if the air in the room wasn’t horrid enough, it began filling with everyone’s bad breath. The carbon dioxide in the room must have been at a toxic level at this point because everything started spinning and the dizziness threatened to take over.
I gave Sandi a sidelong glance as if to ask, “What the crap did we get ourselves into?” She returned my worried gaze as Satan instructed us to do the “half moon” posture. In this exercise, you bend your body like a tightly strung bow until you can stretch no further. When your ribs actually crack, you know you’ve done it right. This is followed by a “chair pose” in which you kind of squat down while your butt muscles cramp and Satan admonishes you to “keep your spine straight, keep your arms straight, keep your arms parallel to the ground, up on your toes, look straight ahead, keep your spine straight, stretch.” While the skinny, model, overachiever girls in front of me hold the postures perfectly, I teeter on my flat feet, unable to even get up on my toes. I try to avoid looking at myself in the mirrors that cover every surface in the room because the person staring back at me is just plain scary. I giggle uncontrollably at my lack of balance and inability to hold the posture for more than 4 seconds. Satan gives me a dirty look and reminds us there’s no talking in yoga.
At this point, I’m soaked in my own sweat and am a little disgusted to see sweat pouring off the other
fools people in the class. Sweat is dripping into my eyes and running in little rivulets between my boobs. Mascara is smeared down my face, making me look like The Joker. The room has got to be at least 150 degrees now and the stench of 30 people’s sweat combined with the unbelievable heat is making me want to vomit.
Next, Satan instructs us to do the “eagle” posture. In this one, you balance on one toe while folding yourself into a position you haven’t managed since you were in the womb. I believe it was at this point when Sandi and I looked at each other and mouthed the words, “Oh my freaking gosh, let’s leave!” We bent to pick up our mats and sneak out the door, never to return. Satan reprimanded us and told us we couldn’t leave. Then she used her powers and locked the door with her mind, effectively dooming us to a slow, agonizing demise.
Resigned to death, we put our mats back on the floor and lay down while I willed myself to die quickly to get it over with. The class continued like this. Heat, a pool of sweat, pain, contortions, Satan reminding us to keep our heads up/down, elbows straight, spines straight, elbows in, index fingers outstretched, no drinking, no talking, no vomiting, more heat, pungent odors, more pain, more heat, more sweat, and occasional blackouts. At some point, we did the corpse pose. I’m pretty sure that was the only one I did correctly.
By the time the class was over, I’m pretty sure my body would have burst into flames if it wasn’t for the fact that I was lying in a couple inches of sweat (a combination of mine and everyone else’s in class). Satan cooed to Sandi and me, “Aren’t you glad you stayed?” I vehemently shouted, “No!” Well, in mind I shouted no. In reality, I mustered all my energy to move my head from side to side while whimpering.
As we limped outside into the cool, refreshing 90 degree Florida air, a stream of crazy people walked out, telling us what a great job we did and how it gets easier — all we have to do is keep coming back and pushing through the pain and misery. Satan popped her head out the door and called, “Are you coming back? It feels so good if you keep coming back!”
I laughed out loud. “No, it does not feel good. Sex feels good and I wouldn’t want to do that for an hour and a half in 110 degree heat. I sure as heck don’t want to
fold my body into a pretzel do yoga! I have a better idea. Instead of pushing through the pain and misery, I’m going out for margaritas tomorrow, and I will be staying in dry clothing the whole time. Namaste that!”