Competitive yoga

“You’re going the wrong way!!!”

–          Couple shouting to John Candy and Steve Martin as they drove the wrong way down the interstate in Planes, Trains and Automobiles


I don’t think I’m quite grasping the gist of this whole yoga thing.

I understand some of you fear this website is turning into a full-on account of my manly man, FitBit duels with Doctor Laura and the Chick-Fil-A mascot but hear me out on this one.

Old guy yogaI’ve only recently started doing yoga.  I find it good for the ailing back, plus there are generally girls in class wearing spandex and twisting in awkward positions right in front of your face so that’s never a bad way to spend an afternoon.  Like any true Manhattanite, I find it nearly impossible to clear my mind of external distractions which is what most yoga instructors tell you to do during class.  Perhaps one day, with enough practice, that’s something I’ll be able to figure out.

Even more disturbing lately is my taking enjoyment from another person’s missteps which is exactly why I think I’m not getting the most out of my yoga experience.

Follow me if you will.

A girl walked into class late the other day (how rude) and plopped herself down on a mat on the floor just to my right.  She was in pretty good shape but the most glaring thing about her was that she was wearing a tank top that read “Yoga is Life” or something kitschy like that.

Eat Sleep YogaClearly this girl meant business.  I mean, if you’re wearing a shirt that reads “Yoga is Life” into a class filled with countless others who aren’t wearing a shirt professing yoga’s overall importance to them, you obviously plan to show the rest of us what’s what.  Me?  I was wearing a Full Tilt Poker shirt but that’s neither here nor there.

I know even talking about this is in bad form but I couldn’t help myself.  All my life, everything I’ve ever done for either fun or to stay in shape, i.e., baseball, basketball, tennis, weightlifting, etc. can be considered a competitive sport.  In case you hadn’t picked up on this by now, I’m a fairly competitive fellow.  Ask anyone who’s ever challenged me to a game of Scrabble.

So, the instructor proceeded to teach the class.  She was in front of the room facing us with the twenty-some odd people in the class, including Miss Yoga, facing her.  Even though I’d taken her class before, the instructor’s been known to mix things up a bit so it’s always best to listen carefully.  For example when she says right leg here and left arm here, it can be confusing if a) you haven’t taken the class before b) you’re looking directly at her and c) you’re in any way dyslexic.

I was on point this particular day, not quite “Yoga is Life” shirt wearing special but feeling pretty damn flexible for an old Jewish guy.  I was stretching the best I could and getting my downward dog on with very few groans when the instructor told us to put our left foot down and our right foot out (and do the hokey pokey and shake it all about).  As I turned my body to the right, as instructed, I couldn’t help but notice that Miss Yoga 2016 happened to be doing her stretches in the wrong direction.  In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter what direction she was doing them in.  This isn’t synchronized swimming.  Eventually she balance things out and work the other side of her body when the yoga instructor went left-right instead of right-left.  But it still caught my eye since we were facing each other when technically, we weren’t supposed to be.

TwisterWell, the yoga instructor quietly went up to Yoga shirt girl, tapped her on the shoulder and corrected her, telling her she was going the wrong way.

And I took joy in this.

Now this is probably makes me a bad person and very un-yoga… but she started it by wearing that damn shirt to class.

I know I’m not supposed to care or even focus on anything other than what my own body is doing.  Yoga isn’t a competitive sport… or at least it wasn’t until I started taking it.  It’s designed to be a way to get in touch with one’s inner chakra or mantra or fuck, I don’t know, something like that.  I guess I’ll get there eventually.  Clearly, I am a yoga work in progress.

On an eerily related note, a guy came into the bar the other night that I recognized from middle school.  He was a total dick back then, so much so that thirty years later, I still remembered him for being a dick.  He didn’t recognize me which was perfectly fine.  But when he sat at the bar and asked me how much a pint of Guinness was going to cost him, I smiled inside.  If you have to ask, my friend, you probably shouldn’t be in the bar in the first place.  Karma wins yet again.

Maybe next time in yoga class, I’ll focus less on those around me and more on my breathing, my stretching and on channeling out those foreign distractions.  I’ll do my best to keep my competitive nature at bay.

And while doing so, I won’t be wearing a yoga shirt.

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12 Replies to “Competitive yoga”

  1. If this (Yoga) becomes an Olympic sport , it could very well pique my interest. LOL,LOL,LOL !!! But for now I’ll stick with Tae-kwondo and Judo being part of the Summer Olympics . Whoever thought in Rio we will get seven-a-side Rugby and Golf as exhibition sports with winners actually get gold medals ?

    The UFC should lobby the IOC Executive Committee to have MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) become an actual competitive sport at the Summer Olympics.

    On the dark side of this all, the Russians might not be attending the games in Rio, as several member nations are asking for their expulsion , because of the doping scandal involving their track and field athletes and a number of other athletes.

  2. Bleed…

    It’s actually kind of refreshing to see others struggle in the class.

    I mean, that shit ain’t easy. Holding those poses and all.

    Oh, and the good news is I’m back to shooting around. The ailing back has kept me from even shooting baskets.

    Pretty soon, I’ll be playing again, at least some half-court.

    Forecast: Rain!

  3. Speaking of UFC and MMA, Al, is there any way possible the alleged fight between McGregor and Money May could ever take place?

    And in what context?

  4. Conor McGregor and Money Mayweather fighting ? Not something I’d pay to see . McGregor had his @ss handed to him by Nate Diaz who even if he’d been toked up on some Jamaican kush , I’d have still favored over the Irishman !

    When will the shoe drop in the series between the Warriors and the Thunder ? One Mississippi , two Mississippi , three Mississippi . Will it drop at four Mississippi ? This much I do know, it ain’t raining three’s with the Warriors at the moment .

    Let me know what you think of the two most recent pieces on the site as and when you’re ready.

  5. Al…

    I’m way behind on my reading but I’ll get there, I promise.

    So Billy D and the OKC Thunder can’t close the deal in Games Five and Six, huh?

    I’d say that series is as good as over, wouldn’t you?

  6. Chris

    Your thoughts on the death NBA Pelicans’ player Bryce DeJean-Jones ? He was shot to death at home (apartment) in what appears to have been a botched home invasion robbery . Another senseless tragedy !

    The last thing the Thunder wanted was to head back to Oracle Arena and face the Warriors on their home-court. Oklahoma City failed to shut down Klay Thompson in game six and he torched them in just about every way possible.

  7. No matter how this series (Western Conference Finals) ends the winners I believe are good enough to beat the Cavaliers ! LBJ may well be going to his sixth consecutive NBA Finals , but he is going to end up being disappointed. He’ll be 2-4 in those Finals .

  8. Yeah, Al, sad story about that ballplayer for sure. I didn’t read the details, only heard about it.

    Thunder are as good as done. I’m not giving them much of a chance in Game Seven.

    I don’t think GSW beating Cleveland is a foregone conclusion but they should be the favorite.

    I do think it will be a far more competitive series this year.

    I’d like to see what tricks LeBron has up his sleeve to be able to beat this team four games.

  9. Glad to hear it brothah…
    Playing hoops is the religion that will set you free.
    The wife keeps threatening to take up yoga, and I told her I’d be willing to join her, but so far, no movement on that front…I’ll leave it up to her.

  10. You’re still youngish, Bleed.

    My joints have been fine but the back’s been a bear. Lotta black top over the years took its toll.

    I have to admit. The yoga has helped.

    It was cathartic to actually shoot around again. My goal is to join a 50+ league. That gives me two years to get my back in order and then absolutely make it rain all over that damn league.

  11. After the game-one shellacking in the NBA Finals, I think we’re as close to seeing this series end quite possibly in no less than six games. Golden State whooped some Cavalier @ss with a great deal of ease and there was even a Shaun Livingston sighting among the Warriors’ players during the game.

    Sad news concerning the passing of Ali (Muhammad) , but it was to be expected his recent health issues. First David Bowie, then Prince and now Muhammad Ali ? Is there another celebrity or high-profiled athlete next up on the Celebrity Death-List ?

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