Yoga twists Biff America into a new world view
It was a burning sensation, beginning at the back of my leg but with the most intense pain focused in my buttocks. I wasn’t sure what I was doing wrong, but I knew whatever it was, it couldn’t be good for me. Welcome to “Introductory Yoga 101.”It was my wife’s idea. Since we met, she has made it her mission to make me a better and more boring person. She has begged, pleaded and brow-beaten me into a regime of self-improvement.I’ve quit, or cut down on, meat, dairy products, caffeine (to her knowledge) and alcohol. By giving up, or drastically reducing, the aforementioned vices, I not only feel much more energized, but also have reduced her nagging to a tolerable level.I must honestly say my new lifestyle agrees with me. I have more stamina, less stress, seldom get sick and no longer scream at Pat Buchanan while watching him on television. Satisfied with my diet, but not my mellow-level, about a year ago Ellen turned to New Age.It started with a crystal. It looked like a rock you could see through and came with a silver chain. My bride claimed if I wore it, the powers of the crystal would center me and balance my Yin and Yang.A large Yang can cause aggression, stress and discomfort while bicycling. Supposedly, if I wore the crystal around my neck my Yang would shrink to a manageable size. It didn’t work. Though I approached it with an open mind, other than a slight gassy feeling, the crystal did nothing for me.Following the crystal was Rolfing, acupuncture and dream workshops, TM, S&M (that was my idea) – all to no avail. I tried. I want to be mellow, but I’m just a little too uptight. It was this tightness Ellen hoped to cure with yoga.Though I’ve always been relatively athletic, I never could be described as limber. Motorcycle and bicycle accidents, along with years of football, boxing, running, biking, skiing and very little stretching have left me with bad joints and the flexibility of an ax handle. If it weren’t for Ellen’s determination to improve me, I might have remained that way.According to the flyer, “Yoga promotes well-being, flexibility, inner harmony.” With nothing to lose, and harmony to gain, we signed up. Most of our fellow future gurus had done this before, or were born without a spine, for they seemed to have little difficulty assuming and holding the various yoga positions.The instructor was named Flow – not short for Florence, but for the mechanics of a river. She was beautiful and lithe. While warming up, I watched her wrap her leg several times around her head with little apparent effort. Maybe it was my obvious newness to the sport, or her knowing what I do for a living and hoping for some free exposure, but Flow seemed to take particular interest in my progress.The position was called cow lips (if you don’t believe me ask a yoga person). Cow lips requires you to tuck the right leg under your left butt cheek, the left leg under your right, wrap your arms around both knees and pull. WARNING: THE AUTHOR ACCEPTS NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANYONE ATTEMPTING THIS POSITION AND DISLOCATING HIS OR HER BUTTOCKS.According to Flow, a daily posture of cow lips would align the spine and loosen my buttocks region. Though I’m generally happy with the straightness of my back, I’m well aware that my bottom could be looser, so I attempted the posture with diligence, but to no avail.I was able to position my left leg properly but my right leg and bum were not cooperating. My leg wouldn’t budge, and my bum warned me against further abuse by dousing the area with a searing pain. Not one to be bullied by a little cramp I attempted the position with renewed vigor, letting out an involuntary scream which got Flow’s attention.”Don’t force it, breathe deeply, slowly, and relax; allow your body to melt into the floor. Inhale into your buttocks.” Through tears of tightness I looked at my wife. “Did she say to breathe into my buttocks?” I asked. “I’ve on occasion exhaled through that region, but inhale – I doubt it.””Stop fooling around,” she said, “or they’ll ask us to leave, like they did at the dream workshop.”Some say that New Age is just another religion, and I tend to agree. But I think religion is a good thing. Though I may not be suited to the entire lifestyle, I’ve had some positive experiences. I’m definitely sticking with yoga. Flow says I’ve shown the most improvement of anyone in the class, and I have a perfect attendance record.Hopefully I’ll not remain stagnant and mired in my traditional Catholic upbringing, but develop and learn to open my mind and loosen my buttocks SBiff America can be seen on RSN television, heard on KOA radio, and read in this and other fine newspapers. He is taking his annual fall sabbatical. Until he returns, we are re-running some of his favorite columns.
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