things i don’t like about yoga

Let me preface this post by saying that I do lots of yoga, probably an average of four or five times a week. It’s been a great benefit to me. But that’s not what I want to write about. No, the masses don’t hound me and clamour for more of my feelgood stories — what the masses crave is blood, and blood they shall have.

massacre-webbanner

Let the slaughter begin.

First, I hate how people obliquely recommend yoga — any yoga — to remedy any problem. I’ve had back problems for eight years now and you can’t imagine how many people have said, “you should try yoga.” Even my dumbass family doctor made this dumbass, generalized recommendation. But my GP and everyone else failed to mention what style of yoga to try (because there are countless variations), which specific poses would help with my issues, and how they would do so. In hindsight, that really bugs me because my problem was recurring low back strains and disc bulging and herniation, and I now know that not all yoga is focused on strengthening and stretching the low back; far from it, actually.

But being at my wit’s end with sorting my back issues out and not knowing the first thing about yoga at the time, I tried. I tried it along with videos on youtube, and that was perfectly useless (more on that later). I went to a few different classes, and some were useless and in others I wound up injuring myself further (more on that later too). After hurting myself doing something that a bunch of people had said would help me, I gave up on yoga for a while. It was only by dumb luck that I met a yoga instructor who completely sympathized with my yoga injury plight, who taught me a yoga routine that acknowledged and worked within my physical limitations. But I don’t want to get all cheerful yet, there’s still a lot of bitching to be done — my first point is that saying, “yoga will help with your fucked up back,” is as grossly generalized as saying, “it’s important to eat things when you are low on sodium and potassium.” What kind of things should you eat though, you know? So I find that kind of generalized statement fucking stupid, and coming from a medical professional, it’s especially egregious. I still hold this grudge against my dipshit doc.

depositphotos_21362141-stock-photo-portrait-of-angry-doctor

Doctors can be just as stupid as anyone else. The problem is they have a certificate that makes them think that’s not possible.

Second, learning to do yoga from a youtube video is useless. Without someone there to watch you while you’re learning and to correct your poses and transitions, I think most people are going to do them wrong or poorly, see virtually zero benefit, and possibly even injure themselves. That’s terrible.

That leads me to my third point. Most yoga classes I’ve been to haven’t been much better than the youtube videos — there’s someone at the front of the group who we’re all trying to copy, and that’s about it. They rarely come around and correct people who are having trouble, whether they are straining, doing poses poorly, or just plain lost. So wtf are beginners paying $10-$15 a session for? If I’m not going to receive any one-on-one instruction, I may as well stay at home and injure myself for free.

back-pain-treatment

“This online yoga stuff is great.”

I found that most yoga instructors would make a ‘cover my ass’ statement at the start of each class, like “listen to your body, only you know what feels good” — as if that’s all people need to hear in order to do good yoga with solid, safe technique for the next 60-90 minutes. Bullshit. That’s not enough. Especially when people are learning, they need constant and clear reminders, like, “don’t worry about getting your heals on the floor just yet, just straighten your legs until you feel a light stretch in your hamstrings, and then stay there.” Beginners need this kind of instruction for every pose. I believe anything less is insufficient and neglectful.

Do you want to know what I recommend to people like myself who want to try yoga as a therapy for rehabilitating an injury? Here it is: find a yoga instructor who isn’t some hippie dippy idiot, someone with some legit medical training or background like physiotherapy or massage therapy, someone who understands anatomy and physiology. That way, they will actually have an idea of what muscles are involved in your problem, and be able to come up with routines that focus on you and your needs. See this person one on one for a while so that they can watch you as you work through the routines they give you and make sure you’re doing them correctly. Continue doing this until you see substantial improvement. Talk to your instructor about when both you and they feel you are ready to try a group yoga class to start stretching and strengthening the rest of your body as well, and see if they can recommend an instructor who is more focused on watching the class instead of being wrapped up in their own poses. That’s what I recommend.

When done right, I think yoga is fantastic. My problem with it is that too many people are doing it wrong, and teaching others to do it wrong too.

mad-neuman-mingo

Suck my dick, yoga sycophants.

Advertisements

lame adult jokes

I’ve always noticed and hated lame adult jokes. My dad has made them for as long as I can remember. I’m talking about G-rated jokes that don’t make any sense, aren’t really relevant to whatever else is going on at the moment, and often rely on some sort of sound element, like a rhyme or alliteration. A fine example of what I’m talking about: once when I was a kid, I said something wasn’t nice and my dad responded, “nice as ice?” It didn’t make any sense since I wasn’t talking about anything cold or water-related. Something in his tone was supremely irritating too. He said it in a way that suggested he was being quite clever and funny, when he was being neither. That line of his was, unfortunately, burned into my mind for the rest of my life, and I hate it.

It’s not just my dad though. Tons of adults make similar dumb, asinine comments. I don’t even want to call them ‘jokes’ anymore because really, they’re not. They’re just silly and stupid, plain and simple. I think it’s the fact that people who make those comments act like they’re being clever that really bothers me. I don’t think I’d care as much if they would add a disclaimer afterwards, like, “that was really lame and didn’t make sense. Don’t mind me.” At least if I knew they were aware of how juvenile they were being, it would soften the sledgehammer blow of their banality.

The reason this is on my mind is that in yoga class the other day, we used some small balls for some of the poses. One of the 50-something year olds there said quietly yet wryly, “I’ve got blue balls.” There were a few polite titters around the room, and then someone upped the ante with, “mine is pink.”

I heaved with disdain.

akira-mutation-gif-7

Neither of those things needed to be said. Neither was clever or funny. Yes, we all know what ‘blue balls’ are but there was no sexual implication in what we were doing so it was a totally half-baked comment. It didn’t make sense. It was stupid. The second comment didn’t bother me quite as much as the first but I was enraged nonetheless that someone would encourage the first person by responding to the lame initial comment and then run with the idea, despite the second person’s clear lack of creativity or conviction.

I think that if you know you aren’t a particularly funny or clever person, don’t try to be. Nothing is sadder than watching someone fail at being a class clown. It’s like setting your sights as low as possible and still failing. It’s pathetic. If you’re not a natural class clown who people tend to find funny, don’t embarrass yourself. Just shut up and get your saggy diaper ass into down dog so we can get on with the fucking class.

don’t get mad

i’m looking after my neighbour’s dog for the next four days and was given instructions on how to look after the dog yesterday. a cup of dog food in the morning, a cup at night. let him roam during the day and put him in the house at night if he wants in, or leave him outside if he prefers. pretty straightforward.

but today, another neighbour came over to ask if i was looking after the first neighbour’s dog. i said yup. this second neighbour said he could feed the dog tonight because it always gets fed at 5:30 pm. i thought, that’s weird. the dog’s owner didn’t mention a specific time. then this neighbour asked if i was going to lock the dog on the deck at night. i said i had been told to put him in at night if he wants, or leave him out. the non-owner said it was important to lock the dog on the deck so he didn’t wander at night. again, i thought, this is really odd. why is another neighbour, who does not own this dog, telling me how to look after it, and why is he telling me something different from what the owner said? then he told me that he would basically keep the dog with him at his place during the day.

i rolled with it though since he seemed eager — anxious, even — to look after the dog, and i was in a rush to leave for work. but almost as soon as he left, i began dwelling on the interaction. i didn’t like it at all. the dog’s owner asked me to look after the dog, not the nosy second neighbour, and i spent 15 minutes with him yesterday so he could show me how to do the job. why should i now do something differently because of a weird busy body?

on the drive to work, i felt myself getting really hot under the collar. i have this second neighbour’s phone number and thought i should call him as soon as i get to work and tell him to butt out. i started getting butterflies in my stomach, i was so pissed and looking forward to letting him have it.

and i thought, why does it feel so good to let yourself get angry?

to which i replied, it doesn’t feel good to let yourself get angry. it actually feels lousy. it’s just that it’s much easier than calming yourself and dealing with the stressor in a smarter, more productive way. the ease of letting yourself blow up is very seductive but i learned a long time ago that i feel better when i take some deep breaths, put the problem out of my mind for a bit, calm down, and come back to it later with a better attitude.

i will still probably have a conversation with this jackass neighbour and say basically the same things, but i will say them in a calmer, more controlled manner which will allow me to retain control of both myself and the overall interaction. that’s definitely not as seductive as letting myself fly off the handle and stick my finger in this guy’s chest while i tell him what’s what, but it will make me happier in the long run. and i feel good about striving to be a better person…

2a65fd6d67c8c65e7664c8a0c87a686c-yoga-man-yoga-for-men

…but i LOVE achieving the upper hand in social situations through careful self-awareness and self-control. that is the goal that seduces me.

images.duckduckgo.com

 

curse my good health

sometimes i like getting sick because it’s one of the few times i feel justified in laying around like a turd, watching movies and napping all day. normally i would be wracked with guilt if i did that but when i’m really sick, i feel like that’s exactly what i need to do. it’s great.

the problem is that i’ve been on a roll of good health for the last few years and haven’t had one of those justifiably lazy days in a long time. the last time i was really sick was january 1st, 2016. i had a flu then and felt like shit for a few days, and since then i’ve been remarkably healthy. i was a little sick just before xmas 2017 when i caught a cold that made my throat sore and my sinuses gross but i felt fine otherwise. that really sucked because it ended my streak of good health but i didn’t get the benefit of being sick enough to curl up on the couch and catch up on some flicks i want to see — lord knows i have a list of ‘the most disturbing films of all time’ that i’m trying to work through and there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in my daily life to get through it all. i could really have used a good flu then.

maybe i should find something else that lets me feel justified in unwinding. maybe i should, as the pretentious yoga hipsters say, “give myself permission” (i really hate that particular line) to relax, to take a day off. hmmm.

or maybe i should just hang out at bus stops and public pools more.

o-man-sneezing-train-570

let me in there, give me a hit of that shit

people would rather be right than happy

when i was a teenager, my good buddy riley was arguing with his mom about something. she was 100% incorrect about whatever they were talking about but she absolutely refused to drop it or admit she was wrong. i thought it was embarrassing, and in reference to the argument later, riley said that people would rather be right than happy.

that line has always stuck with me. i think he was right. even though his mom would have felt better if she had simply admitted she was wrong — because it takes strength of mind to admit mistakes and that’s still something to be proud of, almost like a consolation prize — she preferred to dig her heels in even further at the cost of making herself look dumber and feel more upset.

fast forward to the last few days. i bought a bass on ebay recently and while i generally love the thing, there is some wear and damage that was not mentioned in the auction and needs to be taken care of. i will do the repairs myself but i thought the seller should be held responsible for not advertising the bass accurately so i lied and asked for a $75 refund to cover the cost of having it professionally repaired. he said no way, that’s way too much, do it yourself and i’ll refund you $20. we’ve gone back and forth several times now, each of us obviously getting more annoyed with the situation, until i reached a point where i could feel myself getting really pissed off about it.

then i thought about riley’s mom, and i asked myself, why am i getting so emotionally involved in this? do i really care this much about a few dollars difference in refund? i realized that i’m getting bent out of shape over peanuts, that he cares about this more than i do, and that he has more energy to devote to this than i do. even though this guy fucked up in the first place and has said some stupid bullshit to me in the followup conversations and i want to put my finger in his chest and tell him what’s what, i’ve made the decision to choose happiness (like i’ve talked about before here), let go of this, and say, “looks like you were right buddy, i’ll take the $20 refund and be on my merry way.”

i suppose you could look at it as admitting defeat but i think cutting losses and doing what makes you happier is usually the wiser choice.

god, i’m so fucking zen. now this prick just has to send me my god damn refund so i can put this headache behind me.

b37b12a7d6dda3529dcf3420dc760997

self portrait. ommmmmm

“choose happiness,” said the miserable sod

my grandmother divorced from her husband when she was in her 50’s. she once told me that for years after the divorce, she harbored great bitterness and resentment towards him, that she often imagined what she would say to him if she bumped into him around town, or how she would have handled various events in their marriage if she could only go back in time. she said that eventually, though, she realized that all the negative feelings she kept revisiting never had any impact on him, but they did have a huge impact on her. she realized that she was making herself miserable by continuing to dwell on negative things that she couldn’t change or didn’t intend to follow through with.

once she had this epiphany, she simply stopped giving it any thought. after that, she felt much better.

similarly, a long time ago, my wife jenn said to me, “choose happiness.” i was super annoyed when she first said it because it sounds like something a yoga hipster woman would say, but the more i thought about it, the more i liked it. what “choose happiness” means is, when you are driving home at a respectable 10 km/h over the speed limit and you come up behind some son of a bitch who is putting along just under the speed limit, you have a choice. you can choose to fume and gripe out loud, maybe swerve slightly into the oncoming lane as if to pass the slow driver, perhaps lay on the horn, and get right worked up about this minor inconvenience — or you can realize that you actually aren’t in a big rush for any justifiable reason so you may as well take a deep breath, slow down, and relax.

for whatever reason, we give ourselves a lot of leeway when it comes to embracing anger and frustration. we allow ourselves to stew over tiny, insignificant things and make ourselves miserable. i see people do it all the time. i do it all the time myself (except i usually like to do it). but we have the ability to become more self aware, notice when we repeat negative patterns, and work to break those patterns. i actually frequently think “choose happiness” to myself now as a mantra when i want to snap myself out of yet another loop of rage. i even say it to jenn occasionally, which she absolutely fucking hates.

violent-women

“don’t you EVER use my own pretentious, mystical advice on me!”

i’m writing about this now because i was bothered by something else when i got stuck behind an insanely slow driver. i had to remind myself that the slow driver wasn’t what was actually bothering me, and letting myself get worked up about them would only make me even more unhappy. so i relaxed and slowed down and felt better for it.

it’s nice when this kind of stuff actually works. which is only maybe 50% of the time, but that’s still way better than nothing. i welcome any mitigation of my misery with open arms.

i’m all pumped up

i noticed a long time ago that as we get older, it gets harder and harder to get excited about stuff. i mean, kids find just about everything thrilling — playing in the sand, climbing trees, building crap with lego. but everyone grows out of that stuff and starts seeking things that are more and more complex and difficult to obtain — jet skis, tropical vacations, impressive-sounding jobs with giant salaries.

that sucks.

it sucks that we end up wanting things that are harder to get because it means we are content less of the time. we spend more time working towards pleasing things instead of actually doing pleasing things. how stupid.

but i’m pleased as punch to say that lately, i’ve been fired up about a bunch of different things. i just got into both archery and playing drums, and those are really exciting and challenging in the way that only new hobbies can be. and playing drums has got me re-pumped on playing music in general so after not touching my guitar for 6 years, i’ve been playing it like a mad bastard lately and loving it. and just last year, i got into yoga, ended up really enjoying it, and am still doing it once or twice a week now. between all that stuff, i’ve got a lot of fun new things that i get excited to do each day. i think that’s great. simple pleasures, yee-haw.

i know that this won’t last forever. there will likely come a point where i get bored of these things just like i did with climbing trees and making sandcastles but that’s ok. the fact that i’ve managed to keep finding new hobbies even at age 36 gives me hope that i will continue to do so, or even just to come back to old things i’ve put down for a while, and continue to get pumped up on simple, wonderful things.

right up till i fucking die.

k05-11-20-26

that last one is going to be the most fun.