Why I’m Probably Not the Best Yoga Buddy

Renata doing yoga. Yes, this was as entertaining as it sounds.

Last week, I found that our local farmer’s market, Duffields, has a monthly Yoga on the Farm class during the summer. Always looking for different ways to exercise that are so cool that I forget that I’m exercising (and hoping that Yoga on the Farm involved doing yoga with goats), I texted my best friend Stephanie to see if she was interested in joining me for this unique fitness experience (that didn’t involve goats at all, as it turns out).

I guess I somehow forgot for a moment that I don’t like nature…and that I’m not flexible…and that I have no balance…and that I haven’t done yoga in years. Whoops.

Having forgotten all of this, Stephanie and I showed up to the field optimistic. We walked over to where everyone was getting set up with their yoga mats and took a couple of spots in the back. The terrain was a bit bumpy and the air somewhat buggy, a couple of things that might have concerned me if I remembered that yoga entailed pushing against a mat. Or staying still.

The instructor, Sam (who was really awesome, honestly), stood at the front of the field and talked about not pushing your body too far and only doing what you can. Great! This sounds like a course that won’t go too far above my yoga expertise level: sitting on the couch eating pizza, occasionally twisting when the remote goes too far out of reach.

So I think the important context I need to add here is that I’m a fitness instructor myself. But I’m a dance fitness instructor. For me, fitness classes involve a lot of sounds: loud music, yelling encouragement, whooping — there are a lot of sounds happening (and to be fair, the last yoga class I went to in college was for stress management, so that class also involved screaming).

It turns out that normal yoga classes don’t have that much noise. When people are trying to do complicated poses, listening to their breathing, and focusing on finding inner peace, they prefer quiet.

Yeah, I was surprised too.

This all being said…I am not a quiet person in general. When I have a funny thought, I like to share it with people because I like to make people feel good and make them laugh. I also like the sound of my own voice, so there’s that.

The other thing about yoga is that the instructors say the pose names like they’re indicative of…well, anything.

“Now we’re going to do the inverted, blind, one-armed armadillo.” Yup, the image that brings to mind tells me exactly what to do.

And will possibly give me nightmares.

So while I’m squinting to the front of the group with my head cocked to the side trying to understand just how she got her arm there, everyone else just starts doing the inverted, blind, one-armed armadillo…and I’m starting to think that it’s actually a big inside joke that I haven’t been included in. I resisted the urge to laugh and loudly say, “Very funny guys! You got me!” *finger guns, Ashton Kutcher comes out, we all laugh at my pre-planned confusion*

So as I was going through the class accidentally pushing my mat against the bumpy ground and watching it slowly rotate under me, I couldn’t help but turn to Stephanie and quietly say, “I’m trying to see if I can get my mat fully horizontal by the end of the class.” Luckily she wasn’t struggling to hold a pose. That time.

Unfortunately, she was not so lucky while later attempting a move that I believe was called the “rabid mongoose drinking a root beer float.”

While Stephanie was attempting this “more advanced” position, Sam was encouraging us with her usual chant of “express your bodies however you’re able,” to which I finally couldn’t help but respond, “Can I express mine by eating an ice cream cone?” Causing Stephanie to fall out of that complicated pose and the woman next to us look at me with approval and nod. Making friends at yoga any way I am able.

Not to mention the fact that every time Sam did these more advanced positions, I audibly laughed and said “no” out loud. Or the fact that when I saw people around me doing those complicated moves that I felt the need to compliment and encourage them. Seriously, some people were standing on their heads. And I was just supposed to let that amazingness go unnoticed?!

Yes, as per usual, I was that guy.

But even if I wasn’t actively trying to distract the non-delinquents by talking, my body was making up for it with weird bodily noises! You know how people say that yoga makes them fart? Well I had dinner right beforehand (like all of the fitness experts say you should do, obviously) and was also rather…gaseous. However, it was moving in the opposite direction. And unlike farting, there are really no “silent but deadly” burps. Sure, some people have these dainty little burps that are almost cute…but I am not one of those people.

So while everyone around us was finding their inner peace, I was tasting my dinner ad nauseum while singing them the song of my people.

But of course, as our yoga class came to a close, I couldn’t go without getting one more comment in. We ended with something called an “inversion” pose, and after looking around the field, I can only think that this is the move John Pinette was talking about when he said his yoga instructor told him to “take his head and shove it up his ass.” And while I had kept up with Stephanie pretty well for most of the class, this move in particular had me beat. She was able to get her legs fully over her head.

To be honest, I legitimately didn’t think that was a thing humans could do, I thought you had to be double-jointed or something, like licking your elbow.

“Showoff,” I scoffed at her, just barely keeping my legs in the air.

Needless to say, I was pretty sure that Stephanie wouldn’t be taking me to any other yoga classes anytime soon. As I looked into my shoes in the grass next to my mat and found the ant hill that had somehow formed inside them, I looked at her and said,

“I guess I’m not the best yoga buddy.”

“I’m probably not the best, either,” she replied.

And we bonded in the way that only two besties who just sucked at yoga side-by-side can. While I’m probably not the best yoga buddy, I did enjoy the class and the bit of work I put towards centering myself and finding even a moment of peace.

As we left, I had a lovely moment of peace feeling at home in my body…and I even felt at peace as the ants were now feeling at home in my shoes.

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