Challenge 2 Is Over
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! The reason new posts have been rather lacking this holiday season is because my family came for a visit. But that didn't stop me from doing yoga! In fact, a few relatives noticed the weight loss, specifically my grandmother who commented, "You look like you lost a lot of weight in your face." There you have it; I lost face fat — that will have the ladies swooning in no time. I explained to her that I had lost eight pounds by doing yoga. "Isn't that for the gays?" she asked with as much homosexual acceptance and understanding as Phil Robertson and Mel Gibson combined. Merry Christmas, Grandma.
Any way, on December 18th I received an email from a friend and avid reader regarding the success of Challenge 2 up to that point, but more importantly, a criticism that perhaps I should participate in a "yoga class" at an actual "yoga studio." There were reasons I listed as to why I didn't go to a studio right from the start. Holy shit, I was vindicated in my decision because "DDP Yoga" and "studio yoga" are two completely different animals. Granted, the moves are the same, but the studio was hotter than hell (get to that in a minute) and the last few days my body has been sorer than Sasha Grey's asshole after a gang-bang.
After posting to Facebook asking for some suggestions about local studios and instructors, my friend Katie said she would join in and go too. She had been to Power Yoga which is located fairly close to where I live and she thought that would be a great place to enter the realms of Hell. I'll admit I didn't go to the studio to do studio yoga, I went to "do" studio yoga and then write about it; those are two different things and you know it. Their website says, "Yoga is a 5,000-year-old practice that unites the body and mind," meaning yoga is older than Jesus. It seems like taking something as old as Yoga and applying it today would be the equivalent to finding a single-page pamphlet for repairing a Model T and trying to make use of that information to fix a Ferrari.
Power Vinyasa Yoga
The yoga practiced at this studio is Power Vinyasa Yoga. A little research was going to be needed, and what I found will shock you. First off, "The term Vinyasa refers to the alignment of movement and breath, a method which turns static asanas into a dynamic flow." What the fuck is "asanas"? Sounds like a venereal disease for monkeys. Reading a little further, I came across the fact that they have mantras! If I had a mantra it would be "no mantras." Just the intro to their mantra is crazy as fuck...
"I bow to the lotus feet of the gurus,
The awakening happiness of one's own self revealed,
Beyond better, acting like the jungle physician,
Pacifying delusion, the poison of samsara.
Taking the form of a man to the shoulders,
Holding a conch, a discus, and a sword,
One thousand heads white,
To Patanjali, I salute."
I'm not bowing to lotus feet, I have no fucking clue how a "jungle physician" acts nor what a "samsara" is, and who the hell is Patanjali? What kind of crazy-ass people am I going to run into? I have a feeling these people are going to be "flowy." I'm also betting the class doesn't start on time since I bet these people just Yoga whenever, where ever as they feel. But I still went, and even arrived early...
3:15 pm: I get dressed and leave my house. I'm wearing basketball shorts and a Bodybuilding.com t-shirt, because, you know, irony. I initially thought about wearing jeans, but I can see how they could be extremely unforgiving.
3:45 pm: I arrive early. Katie informed me earlier in the week that I would need to sign a death waiver since I'm a new student. This wasn't a joke, I had to sign a waiver because of the "high risk of injuries" associated with this type of yoga. Unfortunately, there's no parking.
3:50 pm: After circling the block several times I find a parking spot. This isn't the best area of town. There's a cage door protecting the entrance to the yoga studio. The instructor isn't there yet and the cage is locked. Two other people are also waiting: a petite brunette and a gray haired man that looks exactly like Tony Robbins — height and all.
3:51 pm: "Can I get beers before or after," I wonder. "Maybe both? I'd like to drink during. I'm craving booze."
3:55 pm: The instructor finally arrives to let us inside. She's small, 5-foot max, and her smiley, hippie demeanor actually makes her look like she takes pleasure in dishing out pain. The studio is very small. In the middle of the hallway there is a a poster that gives you the rundown of their poses, except the writing is all in Hindi and I don't understand a word. The poster exhibits more positions than the Kama Sutra, some even more erotic, like the "suck your own dick" pose.
3:57 pm: More people slowly arrive. I'm surprised an even mix of men and women are there. No one is talking, every one is completely silent the whole time they're checking in at the front desk. I surmise they're centering their Chi or some shit. Katie arrives and informs me she's "hungover as shit." Seems like I'm not going to be the one having the worst day. There is a "shoe station" at the front desk to leave behind your shoes. I immediately become untrustworthy. Really? We just leave them here?
3:58 pm: I walk into the open studio to borrow a floor mat that's hanging on the wall. It's hot. Their website said, "The studio is intentionally kept warm (not stifling) to encourage the body to detoxify through perspiration." I need detoxification, but not like this. The room was stifling, like the inside of my car when left in the sun in the middle of July. It's worth mentioning here that I have a black leather interior... and live in Florida. It smells like a bunch of people just did yoga in here. Their website also advises, "Please refrain from wearing perfumes and/or colognes." I can immediately tell these people took that request seriously since the air smells like an egg burrito if left inside my car in July. The mat is disgusting. They claim, "We use 'sticky mats' for traction. Studio mats are available for beginners to use." I'm sure the mats aren't shipped "sticky;" they accumulate a stickiness over time akin to the floor of an adult movie theater.
3:59 pm: Katie and I take this picture together. It's the last time either one of us smiled for days.
4:01 pm: We start a minute late. I won my own bet from before. I feel awesome! Until we get into Child's Pose. (See "Safety Zone" from DDP's Yoga). I don't think I stretched enough before class. My knee caps are about to fly off. We hold this pose for what seems like 8 minutes. DDP Yoga moves swiftly through all the moves to add in a cardio aspect to the workout; this instructor does not. She's taking her sweet ass time by making us hang out there. From here on out I'm estimating the time because I didn't have a watch on nor my cell phone.
4:05 pm: I'm already sweating bullets. The instructor tells us, "To generate heat in our core to radiate through our whole body." I tell my core to take a rest and not to radiate shit. The room hot enough already to make my earlobes sweat. My. Fucking. Earlobes. Are. Sweating!
4:10 pm: Katie takes a time out from her perfect Upward Facing Dog to mouth that she hates me. Her odds of puking from her hangover are escalating quicker than a fight in Anchorman.
4:15 pm: Inside my head I'm screaming, "Can we take a five-minute mat wipe-up break?! I feel like people's juices are flowing through the room like a gross sweaty slimy river from something out of 'Ghostbusters 2.'"
4:30 pm: After flailing around the floor for a half-hour, the time has arrived for standing poses. The instructor tells us to open our chakra... then tighten our chakra before rooting our chakra into the floor. The only thing I tighten and root my "chakra" into is at home taking care of my daughter... (I'm referring to my wife, not the babysitter. Perv).
4:45 pm: A pose finally breaks Katie. She openly yells, "No," after the instructor asked us to do a standing split into a Downward Dog moments after completing several Warrior poses. The NERVE of some people. I conclude the instructor is a real bitch.
5:00 pm: The best news — followed by the worst news — comes out of the instructor's mouth. Time to do sitting poses. How fucking hard can it be to sit there? Glad you asked. The sitting pose requires your left knee to be lifted up to your left shoulder while your left foot rests calmly (BULLSHIT) on top of your right shoulder. I don't quite get there, nor should I. The muscular Asian guy in the corner completes this with ease. Clearly it's easier for these people. They've been doing this song and dance longer. I become very aware I'd make a great chiseled Asian dude.
5:05 pm: The instructor announces that it's time for Shavasana. I don't know what Shavasana is. There's only one action I want to take and that's collapse on the mat. I'm must be the most influential leader since Spartacus because everyone else fell into sync. Shavasana is actually the corpse pose. I nailed the fuck out of it that shit and didn't even mean to, especially when the instructor tell us to "go beyond the floor." The instructor turned up some music that sounded liked your tone-deaf college roommate singing Enya in the shower. This was intimate. As intimate as you can be with, like, 20 people flanking you.
5:13 pm: I'm awoken to the instructor telling us to sit up and cross our legs for final meditation. She says, "We close with the word that means the divine light in me honors the divine light in you.... Namaste." To me Namaste was just something "The Others" would say as part of the Dharma Initiative, but what the hell do I know?
5:15 pm: The lights come on; the class is over. I did it. I did the yoga. I still need a drink, but now I want nothing more than a disgusting, greasy dinner. I'm exhausted and I smell like some chiseled Asian dude's balls. I'm the sweatiest I've ever been in my entire life. I feel like I just exited a swimming pool filled with armpit grease. The crazy homeless guy living in the dumpster behind the studio wouldn't even throw own his poop at me for fear of getting it dirty. I would take an "after picture" if I could lift my arms high enough.
6:00 pm: My body finally "cools down" after taking a long cold shower. This should be a phenomenal feeling except I can barely move. Every inch of my body is sore. You see, the added heat in the yoga studio is not only to detoxify but also, "The added warmth helps muscles to be more elastic and less susceptible to injury." Those "elastic" muscles aren't so elastic when they're not warm anymore. It's never a good sign when "Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness" isn't exactly "delayed."
9:00 am [the next day]: My body is on fire. I limp out of bed and take the next 15 minutes to raise my arms above my head.
9:15 am: VICTORY!
DDP Yoga and this studio's yoga took contrarian methods as to how they presented their exercises. DDP Yoga is fast paced, never settling into a pose for too long. Studio had us holding poses for upwards to over a minute or more, thus resulting in the soreness. Had I started with the studio yoga I don't think I would have gone back after the initial class. There would be no way I could. I'm writing this two days later and still too sore to do that set of exercises again. DDP Yoga has a huge number of advantages for those wanting to ease their way into the "lifestyle" of yoga. And even though I am completely enamored by DDP Yoga, I'm still glad I took the additional challenge to get out to a studio at least once.
Thank you for those who read this month's challenge. As I said earlier this month, readership has been down so I'm glad many of you stuck with the posts for the past 30 days. Hopefully next month I will win over some more readers! Pass the word around.