At some point, someone powerful must have decided that any reference to relaxation, wellness, spirituality or “Me Time” must be paired with one of two photos:
1. Some chick wearing white, sitting in the lotus position
2. Some chick lying down with a row of hot stones on her bare back
Really? Well-being equals yoga and massage? How come no one checked with me?
Here’s how I feel about yoga:
Just seeing a photo of yoga stresses me out. I feel like it’s nagging me: “You should do yoga like this lady. She looks great!”
You know those people who say, “I just know I’m going to die alone”? I have a prediction, too: I’m going to die saying “I should do yoga.” I’ve been saying it since the mid-’90s. And it’s true, I should do it, because it prevents stiff joints, and gives you good tank-top arms.
But it’s not going to happen, the yoga. Because me no like.
I tried it twice:
Once was at Crunch, which was hardcore. I couldn’t keep up, and my mat smelled like dirty butt. So did the guy next to me.
(Shush, I know you’re supposed to buy your own mat. But you do that when you reach a level of liking yoga.)
The other time was on a retreat, where they offered a totally special-ed yoga class. We used chairs to make it easier for older people, people with knee or back problems, and people who suck at yoga. With the chairs, the positions were probably no harder than tying your shoes. But I hate tying my shoes. That’s why I never wear shoes with laces. I’m all about slip-ons.
The worst part of yoga:
The worst part isn’t the positions. It’s the breathing. Organized, group breathing is at the top of my Ick List. (And there’s a lot on that list.) On the retreat where they did the chair yoga, they did a whole day of breathing exercises. This was not a yoga retreat or breathing retreat. So for me, the breathing day was a total bait-and-switch.
We were in the middle of a vast, tropical rain forest which, they warned us, was full of fire ants and a giant, poisonous snake called the Bushmaster. It was either:
- Make a break for it, get lost, and run into the Bushmaster, or
- Do the breathing exercise.
OK: to be fair, nobody had a gun to my head. I could have gone back to my room — but that would have made me look like an a-hole. Everyone else was like, “YAY! Group breathing! What a treat!” So along with the rest of them, I lay on a scratchy Navajo blanket, inhaling and exhaling as directed, keeping my eyes closed while people came around and touched me. Then the touchers had their turn breathing, and we had to touch them. Like, stroke their feet and stuff.
The memory makes my sphincter clench. So let’s discuss relaxation stock photo #2, Lady Getting Hot Stone Massage.
My thoughts on hot stone massage:
I’ve never actually tried the hot stone massage, but I imagine it’s no more than warmed-up rocks plus the things I hate about a regular massage:
- New-agey music. Or whale sounds.
- That gooey, hushed voice that massage therapists start speaking in once you’re on the table. Gentle Healer Voice. It’s the same voice I hear around the vegetarian salad bar at the health food store. When people say, “mmm, seitan and kohlrabi”, they always sound like a massage therapist.
I could put up with that stuff if I left a massage feeling free of stress and muscle knots. Instead, I’m always super-sore for three days. On top of the knots.
I know what everyone’s going to tell me: “You just haven’t had the right yoga class, you should try it at Om.” Or, “Call my massage therapist, Dirk. His massages are yummy!” But you have to admit, yoga and hot stone massage shouldn’t be the only images used to convey peace of mind, relaxation, and wellness.
What it should be:
If you ask me, the true picture of bliss is a person doing one of the following:
- Watching Mad Men on a big screen TV. In sweats, with takeout.
- Sleeping with the seat-back all the way down in the passenger seat of a car.
- Leafing through US Magazine, or one of those cheaper ones, while talking on the phone.
- Flying in First Class, feet up on that awesome footrest they don’t have in Coach, requesting more hot nuts.
- Sitting on a city stoop in the summer. You can’t tell from the picture, but it’s a stoop with no scent of dog urine.
- Taking something back to J Crew and getting a full refund.
Add your own. Or go ahead, tell me I need to give yoga and rub-downs another chance. I know you want to.