ROSEMARY BEACH — It is that time of year again. After eating and drinking too much over the holidays, Americans will do what they have to do to make it right: set their scales back 15 pounds. It certainly beats exercising and eating right.
Ever since the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in their attempt to escape European tyranny (but mostly soccer), we have sought to adopt foreign “activities” for our own. Such is the case with yoga, which has swept the affluent areas of this country like European socialism itself.
Yoga involves investing lots of time and money and buying designer clothing, things aging baby boomers like a lot.
Yoga places have about 20 different accessories in their studios, like ropes, rubber tubes, and blocks right out of “Fifty Shades of Grey” that in total cost about $20. These help distract the patrons from the fact that they just paid $40 for supervised stretching.
Short of adopting a kid from a third-world country, yoga gives guilt-ridden white Americans a sense of "oneness with the world" while wearing expensive tights sewn by an 11 year old in a sweatshop in Sri Lanka.
Yoga is pretty much just stretching with a tutor and is whiter than a Tea Party gathering. Madison Avenue, emboldened that the spreading popularity of inner-city basketball allows it to sell $275 sneakers to kids who cannot afford them, sees limitless possibilities in duping even more gullible suburbanites who actually have money into buying $150 workout T-shirts.
I do not like working out. And there is really no need for it these days when there are so many channels on basic cable devoted to exercise that you can just sit on your couch and watch. My idea of a weekend marathon is back-to-back-to-back episodes of "Seinfeld" on TBS.
But as I rapidly age — very rapidly — I like yoga. It offers someone who has been hunched over a computer all day a way to work on posture and flexibility. Yoga offers us men a chance to be spiritual, expand our minds and do what we do best: just sit there and think about ourselves.
It tempts us try to show off, quite often obliterating every tendon in our body in the process. And it sharpens the consciousness, teaching us that there is a thin line between sitting there “meditating” as instructed and keeping one eye open to see if that hot girl two rows up is still in the downward facing dog position. We ADD folks exercise better when there are interesting distractions.
There has been an alarming increase in young women who overuse the word “amazing.” They also like to say, “I am not religious, but I am spiritual.” My son hears it so much that he has a stock response: “I am not honest, but I think you are interesting.”
Now I am not advocating choosing one from Column A and two from Column B, but being Buddhist, Hindu or the like just seems less severe than being an evangelical Christian. Plus, you get to do yoga. Like many, I believe in God. I just do not trust most of those on earth who say they work for Him.
It makes sense to hedge my bets by casting part of my lot with three-quarters of the world’s population and sampling from the buffet of Eastern faiths. I had a male friend who regularly laid offerings at the altars of various Asian massage spas around the country when he traveled. Worshipping this way often allowed him to meet important locals, like the madam, the chief of police, and the presiding judge.
Twenty-two million people now do yoga in America, and, like vegetarians, none of them will shut up about it.
I do secretly like yoga. Where else can a man watch good-looking, limber women in skimpy outfits bend over in front of him and not have to shell out dollar bills?
A syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author and TV/radio commentator, you can reach him at Ron@RonaldHart.com, Twitter @RonaldHart or at visit RonaldHart.com