The Sinning Yogi

I guess now there’s  an eighth deadly sin: yoga. According to a Catholic bishop in Nebraska, women who practice yoga are putting their souls at risk while becoming daaaammn flexible.

He calls yoga “a pagan religion based on heathen beliefs.” I guess that explains why every time I practice yoga I get the urge to sacrifice a goat at midnight while eating Ben & Jerry’s Devil’s Food Chocolate Sorbet. I just thought I was menopausal.

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(Hmmm. Riiiight.)

The bishop warns women that regular yoga exercise will place the Catholic faith in danger. And he said it THIS YEAR! 2015! Not 1567! The anti-yoga leader suggests women find different ways to exercise; ways that will not invite the demons of hell to invade our minds and/or bodies.

So what choices do us yoga-practicing she-devils have? If I’m going to exorcise (or exercise) my demons, I guess I’ll have to do something that completely removes my body from the equation if I don’t want to attract Satan and his minions. I suppose sitting properly on a church pew is the best (and most Satan-free) kind of exercise!

And it’s not just yoga I need to stop doing in order to save my soul. I need to stop wearing yoga pants because Beelzebub LOVES it when women wear tight yoga pants. At least that’s what a group of ladies have decided. I guess these naughty sex leggings cause men to have lustful thoughts—so no more yoga pants . (Note to anti-yoga-pants ladies: some men would have lustful thoughts if we wore sofa cushions to practice yoga.)

Really people? Haven’t we gotten past the idea that a woman’s clothing determines her level of evilness? I noticed these ladies haven’t decided to stop wearing bathing suits, shorts, tight jeans or high heels, so I guess it’s just yoga pants that garner the attention of the Prince of Darkness. Good to know.

I thought long and hard (giggity) about these concerns raised (giggity) by the Catholic bishop and these anti-Lycra women. After much contemplation, I’ve decided to continue with my yoga practice that teaches me patience, kindness, forgiveness, love, non-judgement, acceptance and optimism.

And I’m going to find the tightest pair of yoga pants on the planet. Namaste.

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Ringo’s Healthy-Living Advice

Ringo the Dog has weighed exactly 84.9 pounds for the last three years. Luckily, he’s a border collie/lab and not a Chihuahua, or he’d be an incredibly huge mutant.

I could learn a lot from Ringo about creating a healthy lifestyle–if I cared to do that sort of thing. When he and I were discussing the subject, here’s what I learned about incorporating heart-smart habits into my lazy life:

  • Eat treats one at a time. Ringo gets a couple of tasty biscuits, flavored with things dog love most–like peed-on tree stumps and dog crotch. But he’ll take one snack to his special treat-eating space on the carpet, and enjoy every single bite. I, on the other hand, eat treats by the bowlful without the use of my hands.

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(I will die face-down in a pie tin. And I’m okay with that.)

  • Get regular exercise. Ringo takes two walks every day. That means I take two walks every day. Occasionally, I’ll change things up and we’ll try “jogging” for a few blocks. The problem is, I jog so slow there’s time for him to sniff a few plants, pee on a couple of shrubs and chase several gophers, all without falling behind me. But he keeps me moving.
  • Only eat when you’re hungry. If Ringo’s not hungry, he won’t eat. Sometimes his breakfast becomes his dinner since he’s had no desire to eat.  I eat until I start leaking French fries. And then I keep eating. (And I wasn’t even eating French fries.) But there are also those times he sits with his nose in  my lap while I’m eating chocolate, pizza, (anything, really) as he waits for crumbs to drop onto his lolling tongue. So I guess it’s okay to splurge once in a while.
  • Get lots of sleep. Napping is Ringo’s second-favorite thing. (His favorite thing is attacking/molesting my daughters when they come to visit.) When he’s tired, he’ll plop down and sleep. On any surface, in any location, in any position. He doesn’t feel guilty, make excuses or try to pretend he wasn’t sleeping. He embraces his naptime.

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(Sound asleep. And snoring.)

  • Let off some steam. Sometimes you just need to bark at the neighbors. Or frantically dig holes in the backyard. Or run through the doggie door at high speeds. Or dance around the kitchen while waiting for your walk. Those are much healthier choices than eating a gallon-sized bucket of cheesecake bites or bitch-slapping the stranger in front of you at Walmart.

If I can incorporate even ONE of these healthy-living tips, I will be on my way to a happier, stress-free life. Time for a nap.

Gym Rat Definitions

Now that February is winding down, people will stop going to the gym. That’s good. Because for the last two months, the workout place near my home has been PACKED. Every year it’s the same. Resolutioners hit the treadmills and ellipticals for eight weeks–then quit.

During the last few weeks, I’ve noticed distinct personality trends in gym goers. I’ve narrowed them down into the following categories:

The Grunter: Just like it sounds.  I’m never quite sure if they need medical attention. I just avoid eye contact.

The Soon-To-Be-Injured: Typically male, this group flings heavy weights around like paper airplanes. It doesn’t matter if their bad exercise form will cause severe injuries (for themselves or others), the fact they lift 80 pounds for bicep curls makes them happy. I guess. They never smile.grunter

(Does he look happy to you?)

The Anti-Social: These people are there to WORK OUT. They plug-in their iPods, tune out the world, do their workout and leave. They don’t chit-chat, they don’t waste time. (This is my species.) (I apologize.)

The Super-Social: Usually women, this group tends to flock around exercise equipment to discuss kids, spouses, dinner, shopping, the latest craft trend, decorating, laundry, jobs and troubled celebrities. They can also read, watch TV and crochet while exercising. I’m not that coordinated.

The January Bunch: This assortment of people always seem a little lost, wandering from machine to machine, trying to figure out each machine’s appropriate use.  They usually land on a treadmill for the entire month. Then they disappear for a year. I’d offer to help, but that would involve me talking to people.

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The Hotties: Men and women who KNOW they look good, and strut around the weight room, making sure everyone gets a good look. I’ve never actually seen them pick up any weights. I guess all that walking and flexing is workout enough. They tend to flock together, like beautiful muscular swans.

What species do you encounter?

Yoga vs. Cardio Blast

For several years I taught an early morning yoga class on Wednesdays. What a great way to start the day!! Unfortunately, very few people felt the same way–and my class was cancelled. (Death to change!)

But NOW my boss has me teaching a Cardio Blast, high-intensity interval class at 5:45 on Wednesday mornings that involves jumping around until my lungs leak out my nose.

Here are the main differences between a power yoga workout and cardio blast:

Heart Rate: While a good power yoga class gets the ol’ heart pumpin’, a Cardio Blast heartbeat is more like a hummingbird on meth. Get the heart rate up, stop. Get the heart rate up, stop. When you can’t feel your heart beating anymore, take a break.

Absence of Zen: Yoga is all about living in the moment. High-intensity intervals is more about making it THROUGH the moment–without the help of a defibrillator. (Although I keep one close.)

(I’ll be fine. Just let me finish that last interval . . .)

Breathing: Yoga uses breath to support, lift and focus. Cardio Blast uses breath by making short, steady gasping and wheezing noises. And since I’m wearing a microphone, my dying Darth Vader breath is sent through the speakers at high volumes. Plus, when my heart rates spikes, my face turns bright red. I look like a freakin’ thermometer.

Finale: The last minutes of yoga are spent in deep relaxation with a quiet mind and focused breath. The last minutes of Cardio Blast are spent trying not to die. I leave yoga feeling composed and ready to face the day. I leave my interval class–usually in a wheelchair sucking on oxygen through a tube in my nose.

Benefits: Yoga builds strength, increases flexibility and teaches patience. Intervals are supposed to increase oxygen capacity, create strength and melt fat. I haven’t seen evidence of that yet, but I have noticed it causes me to swear a lot more during class.

Music: Yoga tunes are inherently relaxing, zen-like tones, usually Peruvians playing pipes, or sounds of nature–like seagulls or whales. Cardio Blast music is a mash-up between techno, pop, dance and a drummer taking Red Bull shots. If you leave the class with your hearing intact, the music wasn’t loud enough.

Now, get out there and get your heart pumping. Well, I hope it’s already pumping.

The Many Reasons I Exercise

‘Tis the season to eat my body weight in pie. And because I do, I try to hit the gym several days a week to keep my frumpy, matronly figure up to snuff. But it’s not only my Elizabeth Taylor figure (the later years) that keeps me going to the gym. There are lots of reasons to exercise on a regular basis (like every holiday season).

If you’re looking for a reason to exercise, feel free to use any of these ideas as motivation to hit the treadmill:

  • Exercise is a buffer against dementia. Recent medical studies show that people who exercise . . . ummm. People who. . . hmmmm. What was the question?
  • There are really cool new fusion workouts like yoga/kickboxing, boot camp/ballet and, my personal favorite, watching TV/eating junk food.
  • Exercising will improve your vocabulary. I’ve learned a variety of new swear words while working out at the gym.
  • Due to my high blood sugar levels, my sweat smells like vanilla frosting.
  • When I use my Thighmaster at the gym, I get lots of inquisitive looks.

(Have you seen this? It can do ANYTHING!!)

  • Exercise has been shown to improve vision. Then you can read that big number on the scale.

(I tend to lean more toward the rhino side of the scale.)

  • I can catch up on the latest Justin Bieber hits on my iPod.
  • People who exercise live longer. Or at least they feel like they’re living longer. Seriously? I’d rather be dead than run a marathon.
  • I look HOT in leg warmers. . .

(. . .but my heels keep getting stuck in the elliptical machine.)

  • Exercise is supposed to improve your social life, increase your libido (hell yeah), brighten your mood, get you a raise and promotion, solve world hunger, end government fighting, improve your sleep, prevent (and cure) cancer and keep you out of prison. But as long as I can still get in my car without a pry bar–that’s all that matters.