Yoga Guy

al….most…. there

It’s 5:30 am. The cat has heard me rouse and meows at me through the door, where I assume she has been waiting since around 4:15 am. We trip and kick our way into the kitchen (neither of us has gotten used to simultaneously roaming the slighter narrower hallways of the new flat). There are bites and meows, a squeak.

Once I bribe her quiet acquiescence with food, I pour a tall glass of lemon water. And I start my day.

Since awakening and moving, my body has been incrementally becoming less stiff. A more mobile knee here, a crack in the neck there. The dissipating spasm in my lower back. Who knew sleeping on your side could hurt your cowlick?

It is all part of what I have come to define as the physical reality of being in my forties. There are other physical realities. The mamba routine that goes on between my arms, my eyes, nearby lights, and the directions on a box. The mystery box game that my gastrointestinal system plays after digesting pizza, Mexican food, or, well, basically anything that isn’t lettuce.

In the wee morning hours, before starting to work, I move into the living room and work out the physical kinks. Work on the aches. I do a few stretches that I learned in aikido and a couple I learned in various other sports. And then I sigh, open my phone to the links I researched the week before and, swallowing my pride, begin the Dolphin Pose.

Full disclosure. I did yoga for a short while. Short. This was seven years ago and I was convinced to do it by my boss, who was the teacher. She is also a masseuse and was working a serious knot out of my left shoulder when she said, “you know, you should really try yoga.”

“Yoga?” I cried. To be clear, “cry” isn’t a reporting verb in this case. I cried because of the pain shooting down the left side of my body in electric horror. She went on to persuade me by arguing that yoga would improve the back and neck issues I had been having. She mentioned that her classes were usually void of men and filled with about twenty young women stretching in yoga pants.  

For my body’s sake, I went. It was interesting, it was hard, and it was surprisingly sweaty. It’s possible that my sweat was attributed to the effort of keeping in the gas that desperately sought expulsion from my body in front of twenty young women stretching in yoga pants. I lasted two weeks and opted instead to add swimming to my weekly routine. The women in yoga pants were traded in for lounging fat men naked in the sauna, but any farts in the water were largely ignored.    

I have never been a yoga guy in any sense of the word. This is not because of any issues with masculinity. Readers may remember that I have done Zumba, I wear a nightshirt, and I enjoy sewing. I am not afraid to embrace those activities deemed (erroneously or not) “feminine.” I just never considered myself a yoga guy.

And before you angrily shout at your computer, perhaps as you are a guy who does yoga (hark, a Yoga Guy) that I am a walking fallacy and that my understanding of what a yoga guy is like is so laden with classic misconceptions that I might as well be in a 90s sitcom. I know. But I can’t shake the mental image of a Yoga Guy. A guy into holistic health and the current trends of clean living. A man who uses the verb cleanse regularly and who carries a small vial of flax seed wherever he goes for emergencies. One who knows the current conversation of phalange resuscitation and fascia flexibility. A man who knows a great deal about new age spiritualism. One who can talk confidently about chakras and misplaced energy and the dourness of someone’s aura.

Well, I never thought I was that guy. My gastrointestinal system got in a fist fight with flax seed, I already have a president who is an inflexible fascia, and the one and only time I said the word “chakras” I thought we were talking about an unusual sexual position.

The problem is, like many other things I ignorantly discount without giving fair due, yoga works. Since starting a morning regimen, my back and neck are less stiff. The electric spasms that grace my lower back occur less often. My knee feels stronger and, plus, that disconcerting click has petered out. These are all problems I figured to be chronic. I was looking forward to forty plus years of complaining about back, neck, and knee pain to my friends. Pbbt. Thanks yoga.

Additionally, it’s helped mentally. It has helped clear my head first thing in the morning. And I can concentrate on my writing better than before. I feel less rushed and less cluttered.


What’s next?

People are bound to find out about this thing (I mean, I am blogging about it), but they’ll piece together other things too. My penchant for avocados and breakfast casseroles. Drinking warm lemon water, smoothies, eschewing sour cream for white yogurt. A belief in the power of positive thinking. And what are they going to do when they start putting the pieces all together?

I don’t want to change personas. I have spent a long time carefully cultivating a persona just short of literate caveman who is mildly lovable and who knows how to cook.

Anyway, by the time I get to Inverted Puppy, I know that I’m doomed. On the bright side, my head is clear and my focus strong. I piece together a great breakfast casserole. With avocado. It’ll be good for my chakras.

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