I have decided that this post should be devoted to something that passes as a sport here in Berkeley. It’s Yoga. I did yoga a few times when I was studying for the bar exam three or so years ago, but stopped. There was a reason I stopped, but didn’t remember it until I started it again when I moved to Berkeley in the fall of last year. And now it is bothering me.
My boyfriend loves this book (and coincidentally, I do as well), called Yoga for People who Can’t be Bothered to Do It. It’s not about yoga. But just the title (and not the meaning that it has in the actual book) made me think about yoga in general, and how I like the idea of yoga, but not really yoga itself.
First, there is a yoga culture. As much as they want you to think that they are all embracing of everyone, it’s not true. Don’t believe them. You have to know the poses, have some semblance of flexibility and strength, and you should be prepared to have your ears pierced by a Tibetan singing bowl at the end of the session. And most people are pros. Most people who do yoga, do yoga religiously. Most of them also do it because they are not actual athletes and don’t enjoy other kinds of exercise. That doesn’t really matter so much to me, if they weren’t all crazy about the yoga, when you just had an hour to spare, and thought this might be a decent way to spend it.
Also, I’m not big on the meditation aspect of yoga. They tell you to relax, to relax your body and release your energy and to let the day melt away. That doesn’t work for people like me. The more they tell me to relax, the more I want to slap them upside their head.
And one of the biggest reasons why I don’t like yoga is that the yogi culture embraces sweating. I hate sweat. I don’t sweat very much, and I truly believe my own body just wills it not to happen. But it happens, people sweat. I hear that in Bikram yoga, people even fart. It’s not something that’s going to make me relax. This guy next to me, literally, two inches away from me, was POURING sweat off every part of his body. Beads of sweat were being flung everywhere, and there was a mini river coursing its way down his mat, onto the edge of mine. I couldn’t take it. I rolled my mat in a way to maximize the space between his mat and mine. It’s one thing when it’s your sweat or your significant others’ sweat, or even on occasion, a close friend’s sweat. But some strange yoga-crazed Berkeley hippie wearing nothing but tiny runners shorts is spewing bodily fluids two inches from me.
So I was thinking, maybe there should be a different kind of yoga. One where you focus on exercise and strengthening. One where there aren’t names for poses. One where there is a minimum arms length distance between you and the person next to you. One where they don’t read you poetry at the end of a session. Maybe one where they play upbeat music. I think I just described the Dailey/Bar Method. Try it out. It’s the yoga for people who just can’t be bothered with all that other nonsense, and just want a workout.
By the way, I still do yoga every week and just suck it up. I go to Yoga to the People, highly recommended, mostly because it is donation based and is a great organization. I also go to the Dailey Method. It’s amazing. Results in two classes…aaaaaaand just like that, I sound like an informercial.