I clicked on the above photo this week of actor Alec Baldwin’s wife striking a yoga pose in order to roast a marshmallow on the beach while bent over backwards. I regret nothing.
For starters, I learned that Baldwin’s wife is named Hilaria, a name you just can’t take seriously, which may be the point. I also learned that Hilaria is 30, while Alec Baldwin is 56 years old but 94 in dog years.
The best part, though, was that I had just been inwardly scoffing (which stings a little, I’m not going to lie) about how trendy yoga is, only to come across this photo listed in the search results under “news” for yoga. Thanks to this photo, I now know that yoga provides a practical solution if I ever find myself with my feet stuck in cement and it’s critical I roast a marshmallow in an ostentatious manner on a fire located behind me. Really, though, the greater challenge in such a dire situation would be coming up with the marshmallow.
After catching up on this latest global yoga news, I decided to look into yoga more deeply, or as they say in yoga circles, “mo-o-o-o-o-re de-e-e-e-e-ply.”
Yoga is an ancient physical and spiritual practice, dating all the way back to 2001. It grows out of a combination of Hindu mysticism and vintage Jane Fonda Workout tapes. The popularity of yoga began to increase when yoga pants were first introduced in stores in 2004. Inappropriate photos of women in yoga pants were first introduced online about 10 minutes later.
Yoga stretches muscles, massages the organs, calms the mind, improves circulation, reduces stress, clears blackheads, eliminates odours, removes unwanted body hair, cleanses the palate and cuts through even the toughest grease.
The beauty of yoga (besides the pants) is that anyone can do it. All you need is good balance – a good bank balance because at $10 a session, yoga’s not cheap.
But beyond the physical workout, the spiritual aspect of yoga makes the cost worthwhile. Yoga practitioners enjoy the spiritual enlightenment that comes with knowing they are spiritually enlightened about spiritual enlightenment. Done properly, yoga touches something deep within the practitioner. Done improperly, yoga touches something deep within the neighbouring practitioner, so maybe you should oonch your yoga mat over just a smidge.
Many people shy away from yoga not only due to errant toes but because of the confusing array of moves and sequences in a typical workout. Luckily, many of these moves are imaginatively named to help you remember them. Here are just a few examples:
The Downward Dog: On your hands and knees, you slowly lift your bum in the air while keeping your feet and hands on the floor. It is so called because, with your face so near the floor like that and those tantalizing bits of kale and quinoa at the corners of your mouth, you may end up getting your face licked by your dog or by Alec Baldwin.
The Cobra: Lie face down, then raise your upper body, rest on your arms and shout “I’M A SNAKE, SEE? LOOK AT ME, EVERYBODY, I’M A DANGEROUS EXOTIC SNAKE.” The spiritual component comes when your yoga mates tap deep into their emotions to suppress the urge to tell you shut the hell up.
The Hello Sailor: Standing with hands on waist, thrust your hips to the left, breathe in, thrust hips to the right, breathe out, raise face skyward and smile broadly at the sun like a good-looking stranger has just asked you, “Hey, do you work out?”
The Grandmother Canoe: Lying on your back, point your toes away from you and raise your hands over your head. Now bring your hands to your eyes and cover them. Let all your shame float away from you for wearing dowdy beige sweatpants to yoga class.
The Hot Cyclist: Over several sessions, gently move your yoga mat eastward until you are positioned next to the really cute blonde.
The What’s New, Pussycat: Sitting in the lotus position, hands clasped in front of you, breathe in, gently twist your upper body to the left, then to the right, breathe out like a long, exasperated sigh. Be filled with the revelation that you are one with your chakra and that everyone else in the room is also one, and that all the ones added together make many, and this yoga class has become far too crowded and trendy, and that, in your spiritual quest, you should go next door and sign up for the new hot workout, Buddha Camp. I hear they do amazing things with wieners.