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Yoga and Pilates: What do I look like, Gumby?

By ROBERT WALRATH | May 17, 2019

My Craigslist ad: Yoga mat for sale. Used once.

As I’m still pretty nimble for my age, I’ll take a hard pass on yoga.

I remember when yoga went by its original name: Twister.

Why do people wear yoga pants everywhere? Are jeans too stressful?

Originally, I liked the idea of yoga because of the mat. I thought, awesome, there will be napping during the class.

If you have ever used an airplane bathroom, you are now certified to be a yoga instructor. Or a performer in Cirque du Soleil.

Regardless of the yoga pose as illustrated by your instructor, it is never appropriate to say, “bowchickabowow.”

I went to yoga once, when I lived in Miami. A girlfriend encouraged me to go and I thought, heck, I know how to stretch (I do it every morning when I roll out of bed), and as for the bending part, I’m able to tie my shoes when they’re still on my feet. I figured I’m gold.

It was a disaster; the sinking of the Titanic is a close second.

For those who are curious, there was a large group at this particular class. There was an air release. I laughed. They asked me to leave.

It’s said that the mission of yoga and the healing arts is the spiritual development of practices to train the body and mind to self-observe and become aware of their own nature.

I already know my nature. I’m easy going, usually the first one to reach for the check and I’m told I’m a snappy dresser.

That said, for the yoga impaired, I have compiled a list of positions with easy-to-read translations that will make the next class you don’t go to that much more painless and groin-pulling-free.

I had the lotus position down pat- that’s sitting with your legs crossed, palms up. Breathing deeply, you can just feel the money you spent on this class drift away.

The adho mukha is essentially the drunk girl/boy move, wherein your feet stop but the rest of your body continues to move, until you form an upside-down “V.” I think you’re supposed to stretch your hands out until you pull a muscle or find loose change on the floor.

The Handstand. Yeah, right.

Besides being an impossible spelling bee word, the bhujangasana, a.k.a. the child’s pose, is that while seating, you stretch until you touch your toes. It’s also a great position for navel gazing, in case you need to check your belly button lint.

Known as the “challenge of the corpse” pose, the shavasana is nothing more than laying on the floor. The only thing missing is the chalk line drawn around your body.

That leads me to the ultrasana. That’s where you place your head between your knees and remain standing until you lose consciousness.

I particularly like the tadasana, or “mountain pose.” You’re basically standing there. Quite helpful for those trips to the DMV or a taking part in a police line-up.

The chaturanga dandasana is a little like a push-up, which leads to the most famous of all poses, the upward dog. When I heard the name of this particular pose, I turned to the guy next to me and said, “Pardon me, boy, is this the chaturanga choo-choo?”

The “warrior pose.” I thought the instructor said, “worrier pose,” so I stood there looking puzzled.

Now Pilates is a different beast. It’s said to improve the flexibility of your joints. Or really make them ache- one of the two.

Pilate also uses machines such as the reformer, Cadillac, wunda chair and spine corrector. I don’t mind the Cadillac, as it sounds fancy, but the spine corrector sounds like something you’d find in a torture chamber. Or the name of a ride at a traveling carnival.

In simpler terms, yoga is meditative. Personally, I like to meditate while I sleep. Kill two birds.

Pilates is more of an exercise routine, to help injured athletes, who probably hurt themselves doing a yoga pose the wrong way or for far too long.

They say yoga and Pilates are the key to flexibility. I know better.

A good martini is the key to my flexibility. Namaste.

George Pelletier may be reached at gpelletier@nashuatelegraph.com.


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