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Color Me Cultured: Physically demanding yoga session worth it

I’m a big fan of YouTube celebrity Jenna Marbles. Ever since I saw her video on how to trick people into thinking you’re beautiful, which I totally came upon by chance and was definitely not researching a better way to do my hair, I became one of her subscribers.

One of her more recent videos was a big middle finger to guys who keep saying that girls only do “girly” exercises. She dared men to try a workout like yoga and still say that women only do girl exercises.

I felt bad because I previously thought that yoga was an exercise for girls and practically immobile pregnant women trying to maintain their fitness. I vowed to give yoga a try to dispel the ridiculous stereotype I held about it, and because I felt bad that Jenna yelled at me.

I went to the Inhale Yoga Studio, which was installed just a couple weeks ago above Follett’s University Bookstore, to attend an advanced level class called, “Inspired Hatha,” which is the most practiced form of yoga developed to improve health and physical strength.

Despite the fact I had never done a yoga class, I believe I am in decent shape and I have an absurd sense of male pride that keeps me from doing anything slowly. This didn’t serve me well when I tried to start juggling knives, but this was yoga, not bladed weapons.

My goal to disprove the stereotype I held against yoga didn’t begin with a good start when I saw that nearly everyone there was a woman, and my instructor, Kristen, was two months pregnant.

The class started off easy, with Kristen asking numerous questions about who we were and who we wanted to be. She told us the body was like an onion, with layers of identities. I’m sorry, you can call me closed-minded if you want, but that earlier talk sounded like pretentious crap. I would call it hipster new-age crap, but yoga has been around for more than 5,000 years. Many people, including the Hindu gods, practiced it before it reached the West.

Fine, old-age crap then.

The lesson got marginally better when we began practicing a wide variety of poses. Feet were of large importance in yoga. We were constantly told that our feet must be rooted to the ground and how each toe must be connected with the earth. I didn’t appreciate the focus on feet because I just became more aware of how much mine smelled.

Thankfully, as the lesson went on, I stopped focusing on my feet and started focusing more on the pain. That may sound odd, but I loved it. My flexibility increased drastically over the course of the lesson. I walked in as tight as my wallet was after I paid the fee for the class, but I walked out feeling like Gumby.

I researched more about yoga and I saw that my “advanced movement class” was easy compared to some of the movements I saw others doing. They were as unnaturally flexible as Reagan was in The Exorcist, and she attained that level of flexibility by being possessed by the devil. I question the health benefits of yoga when it is teaching people that touching your toes to your head is not only possible, but also healthy.

I’ll be the first to say it: I’m sorry, yoga lovers. Pose after increasingly difficult pose made me humble before you. While I managed to complete the lesson, I can easily see many people failing to do yoga. I’m sorry for doubting you. Especially you, Jenna. I love you. And I guess I now love yoga.

Dennis Fulton is a senior studying journalism at OU. Do you have any impressive yoga stories? Email him at df342709@ohiou.edu.

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