My First Time at Yoga Almost Killed Me

A single man and his friend take a beginners yoga class in an overheated studio.

I've always thought girls were stronger than guys; yesterday my point was confirmed.

After putting off and avoiding a "beginners" yoga class, my friend Ryan and I finally made it in.

I went in with the attitude: How hard can this be?

Upon entering the lobby of the place, we had to announce in front of all the girls that we were beginners. The class was about 90 percent female.

The SUPERHOT yoga instructor cracked a joke: "No beginners allowed in this class."

I replied, "Fine, we'll just head over to KFC, which was our original plan." It was really where I'd rather be at this point. I was built to go to KFC and SIT on Saturdays, not hold a position and tax my entire body in an overheated room.

"Overheated room" was an understatement. Ryan and I entered a large studio resembling an alien spaceship with retro lights and mirrors all over the place. The heat was unbearable. I don't do well with heat. I actually end up getting angry. The heat is intended to make us sweat out all of our impurities. In that case, I could flood a major city. Of course, my friend and I needed to be next to each other. People were already lying there looking "yoga-ish" on their mats. I flopped down on my side and began yapping with Ryan. A girl in front of us turned around and politely asked us to go out in the lobby if we were going to talk. Oh, this was going to be bad.

Right before the class started a girl noticed me and asked if I used to go to a coffee shop on 1st Ave and 10th street. It used to be my favorite spot for coffee, before I moved. She said she remembered me, and sat RIGHT in front of me in front of the mirror. Great, this girl knew me and could look right in the mirror and watch every awful move I made.

The yoga instructor bounced in wearing tiny shorts and a tube top. Simply amazing. It was unfair how she'd get up on the pedestal in front of the class on all fours with her gigantic boobs pouring out of her top and flex into impossible positions involving her entire body. My friend and I gave each other that intense look that said: "We WILL discuss the instructor after this...." We realized we had no rights at this point. No talking. No distracting. We were confined to our mats, and we were going to be really bad at yoga.

The instructor knew we were immature:

"So you guys are new," her voice came over a loudspeaker. She was armed with a microphone and headset. "Make sure you focus straight on the mirror and don't look at each other, because you will want to giggle if you make eye contact during the class." Sadly, she was right. If we so much as looked at each other during this, we'd crack up.

What followed was the most physically intense, horrible 45 minutes of my life. My friend and I were flopping around, falling over, while these girls gracefully twisted, balanced, and bent their bodies.

The instructor barked out intermittently:

"Get your mind off KFC, Rich." The quip bounced around the room for all to hear. My mind wasn't on KFC. In fact, my mind was split between wanting to laugh at my buddy, wanting to puke, and wanting to bang the instructor. Food, for once, had officially left my thoughts. At certain points I felt as though I was in a concentration camp — I thought to myself: This is what it must be like to be in prison. Finally, I gave in a few times and got into the "rest position."

The instructor initially told us that if we needed a break or felt dizzy, we should lie down and relax — advice I originally scoffed at. Now, as people were standing on one leg and wrapping the other leg around them (sort of like that white statue/writer on the cover of Guns N' Roses Use Your Illusion I/II), I was lying on the ground writhing in pain and holding my puke back.

"Rich, palms out when you're resting!" announced the instructor.

How embarrassing was that? She picked me out, while the others were doing some advanced position, and critiqued my REST POSITION. Ouch!

This was turning out to be the most physically taxing thing I had done in the last 15 years, including soccer games in 100-degree heat, and chemotherapy. Later on, my friend and I agreed that if the yoga teacher had asked one of us to stop everything and do her right there on the spot, we would not have the energy or mental awareness to do so.

The instructor played two dirty tricks on us. At times, while I was sweating profusely and angry over the heat, she'd go by the window and open it. The breeze felt so heavenly against my skin. Then, after about two minutes, she'd close it again. My buddy and I would look at each other with looks of panic whenever that window went down. We agreed for next time to get spots right up against that window. The other mean thing she did: For the last half hour, she announced that we were on the "home stretch." From this point on, I hoped every position I attempted to do would be the last. She must have known that we both wanted to be her sex slaves, so she could be as mean to us as she wanted.

Eventually it just looked like the instructor just gave up on us. In the beginning she was coming by and helping us get into positions, angling our bodies correctly, telling us how to stretch. By the end, she'd come by and say, "You guys just lift your legs about this high off the ground and that's good enough for today." She had us going at 1/10 speed by that time.

When we got to the locker room, we were saturated messes of humanity. My clothes must have soaked up about 50 pounds of sweat. My friend said he was going to jump in the shower. I then made another embarrassing comment:

"You go ahead and shower, I'm not secure enough to shower here."

My diaphragm and chest must have been so overwhelmed from what had just happened that I had no control over how loud my voice was. The whole staff behind the front door overheard it, and then tried to council me into taking a shower anyway.

I attempted to sit on the padded bench in the waiting room that looked a hundred times softer than it was, and sat down too hard, sending a shock up my entire spinal column and making the pain worse.

All the girls were coming by and mentioning how well we had done. It was at this moment that I realized that there were some very attractive girls here. They were positive, supportive, and healthy.

I've grown tired of girls who are overwhelmingly negative, and this place was great proof of the personality type I'd enjoy being around. These girls had energy and seemed to always look on the bright side of things — they also believed in our ability to improve ourselves.

On our walk home we realized we had learned some things:

a. A positive attitude in women is very attractive (yoga is a good place to meet girls).

b. Girls can do things better than boys most of the time (though my friend said that they are better at yoga because they have babies).

c. There is a physical threshold at which we lose the ability/mentality to perform sexually with a girl no matter how hot she is.

d. We really suck at yoga.