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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on May 6th, 2014, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 15, Issue 9 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 15, Issue 9

The Man of Steel

Krider gives yoga a try

BY ROB KRIDER


I'm not a very limber person. Most people do toe touches; I can do knee touches. Well, the top part of the knee, if it’s a good day. My back is about as flexible as a piece of steel on a very cold day. To get myself into better shape—preferably any shape other than standing up straight—I decided to join a gym. Well, to be honest, I didn’t really decide to join a gym. My wife, whom I love, thought it would be a good idea. That meant I thought it was a good idea, too.

My wife started pushing the gym membership pretty hard after watching me try to bend over to put on a pair of socks. I could barely do it. She was seeing a grim future for the two of us. A few more months of my lack of flexibility and I would be asking her to put on my shoes and socks for me. She just finished doing that for our two kids a few years prior; she wasn’t looking to get back into the putting-on-shoes-and-socks business. And who could blame her for not wanting to touch my feet?  Feet are gross, and a guy who can barely reach his own feet to put on his socks probably doesn’t get down there often enough with soap or toenail clippers. I am deeply sorry to those of you who are eating while reading this.

Joining a gym was a tough decision for me because I always saw fitness clubs as a ridiculous enterprise. I live 3 miles from a gym. If I wanted to go there to workout, instead of driving there to walk on a treadmill, I should just run there, touch the front door, and then run back to my house. I would have run 6 miles and saved 50 bucks a month.  I also would have been seen in the parking lot of the gym, which seems to be why a lot of people actually go to the gym: to wear makeup, expensive workout clothes, and to be seen in the gym parking lot.

On my wife’s request, I headed to the gym and met Dani and Kali. Apparently, in order to work at the gym, you have to be 21, female, and cute, and your name has to end with an “i.” Dani and Kali gave me the grand tour of the gym and then started the hard sell for club membership. I didn’t need to be sold; I had already been told by Mrs. Krider to get a gym membership, and I do what I’m supposed to because I like harmony in the home.

I explained to Dani and Kali the deal: Unless they wanted to move into my house and put on my shoes and socks for me, it was their job to make me more flexible. Neither of them was interested in residency, so they both agreed what I needed was yoga. They signed me up for my first class. I was supposed to come back the following day at 10 a.m. Like most people who join a gym, I decided not to go. However, I saw on the schedule there was another yoga class at 7 p.m., which was a better fit for my schedule. (I had an appointment with a breakfast burrito at 10 a.m., and I couldn’t break it.)

Cut to 7:01 p.m. and the soft sounds of wood flutes. Indian music was in the air as the instructor in the front of the room was talking us through our first few poses. Yes, her name ended with an “i”—Carli. Looking around the room, I realized I was the only one who wasn’t wearing yoga pants, probably because I was the only overweight, inflexible male in the room.

Carli wanted us to start off by relaxing and had us sit with our legs crossed. I couldn’t do the first pose, and I don’t even think it was an official yoga pose. Carli just wanted us to sit there, relax, and breathe. I was squatting there, panting, and struggling because I was out of breath just trying to sit Indian style. Thankfully, Carli had us move on to something called “child’s pose.” I didn’t know what a child’s pose was—a kid sitting in the corner marking up the wall with crayons? I was yoga ignorant. I didn’t realize I was supposed to have studied the ancient art of yoga prior to the class. I was hoping the gym instructors would teach me what I needed to know. What was I paying Dani, Kali, and Carli for?

I spent the next hour of my life putting my body into positions I thought were impossible. And it turns out I was right; the positions were completely impossible for me. I stumbled, I fell down, I hurt my knee, and I was out of breath. It wasn’t exactly relaxing, and I certainly didn’t appear coordinated or flexible. Carli had us in the down dog pose for what felt like forever. I was sweating profusely and trying not to vomit, every vein in my head was aching, and then Carli said, “Clear your mind, take two breaths, and feel yourself relax.” How could I clear my mind when I thought I was dying? All I could think about was an ambulance.

During the session I wondered, why is it called yoga? It should be called exactly what it looks like: face-down-butt-up. That was all I did for an hour: grind my face into a smelly mat and hold my ass in the air.  

Finally, after the hour of torture was up, Carli directed us to do my favorite pose when she told us, “Lie flat on your back, relax your head, your neck, your chest, your arms, your core, your hips, your thighs, your shins, your toes, and let yourself go.” This was the best part. I felt myself melting into the mat. I was about to drift off to sleep when Carli rudely interrupted my moment of Zen by telling us, “OK, get out. They need the room for Zumba.”

The next day, every single muscle in my core hurt. I had pains in my stomach I didn’t know were possible. But I leaned down to tie my shoes, and it was like magic. I could do it without any problems. Now when people ask me to touch my toes, I can actually touch the bottom part of my knees. Yoga is awesome. Namaste.

 

The following week Rob pulled a hammy trying to go from a child’s pose to a full warrior. Send comments through the executive editor at rmiller@santamariasun.com.