Men, Yoga, and Unnatural Positions

Several years ago my friend Madeline tried to get me to try yoga.  I maturely responded, “Not a chance…chick thing.”

Turns out, Karma’s a bitch.

Flash forward a couple of years to the night I threw my back out reaching to flush the toilet (needless to say I made up a better story for public consumption – something about a hoops game at W 4th Street and hyper extending my back reaching for an alley oop).

After three days unable to walk and a week moving about like a 95 year old, I found myself in my office with Madeline.  She spoke in short declarative sentences to make it through the fog of painkillers I was taking: “yoga good for back.  you try”.  If it would stop the back pain, I was ready to try anything.

To my surprise, the yoga felt good – really good.  Heather, our graceful, incredibly strong, pretzel of a teacher was great, never caring that I was a wildebeest among her regular gazelles, just nurturing me along at my own pace.  The clincher was the number of gorgeous, flexible, scantily clad women who do yoga at 7 a.m. – a great way to start the day.  I have been doing it twice a week since then, enjoying the yoga and the view, and taking care of my back.  But always in the back of my mind was the understanding that when testosterone based life forms venture into estrogen dominated activities, there are some things we are just not supposed to do.

There is a pose called “Hannuman” or “Monkey Pose” that I call “Hammana Hammana” for the pain generated as you slide into it (see picture above).  I usually am a good 2 feet off the ground, propping myself up with blocks and a construction crane, praying for one thing, which is for it to be over.

This morning there was another guy in the class who just slid all the way down into the pose.  All the way.  To the floor.  I swear I heard a ripping sound.  The mere sight of it made me shudder.  It just wasn’t natural.  A man’s got to know his limitations.  And this guy didn’t.  He seemed OK afterwards, but I’m not sure procreation is an option for him anymore.


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