First yoga class was a slippery affair

By: John Barlow

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 12:08 pm

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As expected it did not start on the right foot and things did not improve.

I nervously walked into the warm room to place my mat in the most inconspicuous place possible. However, before I even placed a foot in the door a gaggle of women, including my wife, looked at me in horror.

Was my yoga gear not colourful enough? Was it not tight enough? Was my water bottle not bedazzled enough? Was my mat not chic enough?

Mortified and with a look of sheepish embarrassment, my wife came over to me and whispered, “You are not supposed to wear your shoes in here.”

I looked down, skulked back out the door and took my perfectly clean gym runners and socks off placing them by the door.

I felt like Marco Polo walking into a Geisha House for the first time. When I made my way back in I was wondering if I should bow and look for slippers.

This was inauspicious start to what was already an anxious activity and I was regretting being coerced into this uncomfortable situation.

For months my wife asked me to attend yoga with her, an activity to which she has become somewhat addicted. It is not quite a “Walking Dead” addiction for her, but it is getting close.

However, for just as many months I abstained coming up with a variety of excuses to avoid a trip to the yoga studio. I even entered provincial politics so I had a reason not to go to yoga classes.

It became so bad I even left her at the alter.

One night I finally relented and promised her I would go. She dutifully went early and placed a yoga mat beside her to save me a spot. For the next hour she practiced yoga at the class and for that hour my mat sat empty. I was a no-show. After the class she collected the unused mat and walked out of the room I am sure fighting back tears of neglect as other participants snickered at her for being stood-up. Pathetic.

Me, I am sure I felt bad, but I was not feeling guilty enough to come out from under the bed or the bar or wherever I was “working”.

I know this sounds foolish, but I have legitimate reasons for avoiding yoga.

First, I know I will be the only guy. Although the wife promises me there are plenty of men who practice yoga, I am not convinced. Guys have better stuff to do like, well, anything. To participate in something like yoga guys need some back-up, someone we can look to — literally in this case — for moral support.

Second, I know I am going to fart. It is inevitable and when one smells gas and there is only one guy in a room full of women you know who will be blamed. There is no hiding it. I cannot look around the room feigning disdain seeking the perpetrator when each and every one of them will be staring at me. Why try and deny it? Everyone will assume it was me and they will probably be right.

At least at the gym there is lots of room to sneak one out and everyone has headphones so no one can hear pfft, pfft, pfft as I run on the treadmill. There is no such sensory reprieve at yoga.

However, my wife’s requests started to become like Chinese water torture so last week I relented and attended my first yoga class.

I was scared, but now with my shoes off I was at least properly attired. I found an open place, unrolled my mat beside my wife and tried to make myself comfortable.

Initially, I actually kinda liked yoga. The room was nice and warm and we were asked to lie down and relax. This was my kind of exercise.

Of course, that did not last.

After lulling me into a false sense of security, the instructor had me bending and twisting and stretching places I did not know even moved let alone stretched.

What was once warm and cozy was now an overheated sweatshop as I downward dogged in a pool of my own perspiration.

I was slipping through the crow, the half moon and something called a chaturanga, which is not a tasty dessert I thought we would all be served after class as a reward.

I was more greased pig than elegant crane.

Thankfully, there was one other guy in the class and during one ridiculous balancing pose I looked to him for that man-to-man support. He just scoffed at me as he balanced on one arm like some sort of yoga ninja.

The climax of this misadventure was when the instructor asked us to do a headstand. Yeah right.

However, she asked our partners to be our “wall” — they would stand behind us to make sure we did not fall. It was similar to the trust test.

My wife failed. Miserably.

As I attempted my headstand I went crashing into the floor with a hollow thud as my back missed the mat and instead found a nice hardwood landing.

“Where were you?” A legitimate question I thought.

“I got scared so I moved out of the way.”

Oh, okay, wall that is good enough for me.

Making up for that one no-show I presume?

Regardless, I endured the hour-long test of survival relatively unscathed save for a sore back.

Actually, when it was over I felt pretty good. After the tumble, and with an instructor as my wall, I actually did a headstand. I did a crane, a wheel and I planked, dolphined and plowed.

To be honest, I felt pretty darn good and it was a much tougher workout than I imagined.

After a couple aahhhhooooooms, I was convinced I would try it again.

Of course, the best part was seeing my wife earn her medal for surpassing her yoga challenge. She is no wall, but she deserved her medal.

By the way, someone did have bad gas in our class and I know you were all thinking it was me, but it was not. Ladies, I am looking at all of you with a hauty look of disdain.

Until next time, Namaste.


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