DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Ten years ago, I took a fitness test and was told I had the flexibility of an 80 year old man. I was 40 at the time.
If that formula is accurate, Ernest Borgnine is now more flexible than me, so one can only imagine the apprehension this past weekend as I showed up for my first-ever yoga class. It was my wife’s idea actually. I know, blame her, right? But it’s true. She suggested it. Then again, Martha’s always such a good sport, indulging all of MY whims (ask her about our climb to the top of Mt. Elbert in Colorado, and the ensuing rescue). So one little yoga class just didn’t seem like that big a deal.
The teacher introduced herself at the door. Her name was Susan. She was about 5’10 and 120 pounds with a body fat percentage in the single digits. In fact, she may have had negative body fat, if that’s possible. But she was very nice and very understanding, telling us that as beginners, we should only attempt the moves we were comfortable with. “Listen to your body,” she said. I found that interesting since at that moment, my body was telling me to leave.
Martha and I grabbed our mats from a pile in the corner (that’s a dead giveaway that you’re a beginner, by the way – the pros bring their own), and laid them out in the back row, near the door. I felt like I was back in Mrs. Cooney’s tenth grade English class, trying to become invisible. And then it began. Sitar music filled the room as Susan led us through the basics. Raise your arms to the ceiling. No problem. Roll your head back and look straight up. No problem. Touch your toes without bending your knees.
See, this is where the whole 80 year old man thing comes in. I have a set of good, strong legs. Seriously. I was always the fastest kid in school, constantly beating out those grounders to deep short. But unfortunately, speed and flexibility are two entirely different things. My fingertips made it down to mid-shin before my hamstrings began begging for mercy, and it just went downhill from there. Even the most basic positions were challenging. The dog, the cobra, the wood chopper (don’t ask). But then a funny thing happened. As Susan led us through the routine for a second time, it became LESS challenging. Not easy, mind you. Just not quite as agonizing. And by the time we made it to the ones where you lay on your side and tie your body into a slipknot, I was okay with the whole thing. No ruptured tendons, no torn ligaments. And to anyone who wonders how much of a workout this can really be? Trust me. It’s a killer. Martha and I were soaked in sweat by the time it was over, which brings me to my favorite part – when it was over. Lying there in the dark, eyes closed, drifting away. My zen moment for the weekend.
So yeah, I’ll be back. Just don’t ask me to do the scorpion. Even I have my limits.
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