Downward hairless dog

By Mir
February 7, 2006

Here is what I know about myself and exercise: I am perhaps the world’s lousiest self-motivator. Tell me to get my ass out of bed and meet you for a workout at 6:30? I’m there. Promise myself I’ll get right up at 6:30 and hop on my elliptical trainer? I hit snooze. (Repeatedly.) Enroll me in an actual class of some sort? I won’t miss a one. Pledge to get moving even on a day when my partner has to cancel? I’ll move… right to the cabinet that the oreos are in.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy exercise. It’s that I hate exercise. With a deep and firey hatred that burns ever hotter whenever I CONTEMPLATE making my lazy self get off the couch.

When I actually DO get moving? It’s great. Invigorating! Feels wonderful! But not wonderful enough to make me do it again voluntarily! Usually!

Long ago and far away, I took kundalini yoga for several years. Classes, with other people; thereby meeting the strict Mir-approved framework for exercise which I will continue. I forget exactly how it was that I stopped taking classes, but I did. Thus ended my brief brush with regular exercise.

Now I’m in training for a long walk, and the best way to get ready for it is to–wait for it–walk. So, yes, I’m doing a lot of walking. Walking is fine and good. But I need to do OTHER types of exercise as well. It’s called cross-training, which is another word for torture.

Current circumstances dictate that my cross-training endeavors be 1) cheap, 2) time-flexible and 3) at least slightly enticing. This rules out paying to take a class or even participating with a group of some sort because most of those meet in the evenings when I need to be here with the kids. SO. I did the logical thing, and scoured the internet for workout DVDs I thought I might not hate.

My frugal eye spotted a deal on a bundle of yoga DVDs, and my conversation with myself proceeded thusly: “Self, you like yoga! Yoga is good exercise and something you don’t hate! Plus these are cheap! Buy them!” I didn’t even argue with myself. It all seemed so logical.

The thing about yoga is that saying you “do yoga” is like saying you “do exercise.” The yoga umbrella reaches far and wide, and encompasses everything from ultra-power-cardio workouts down to laying on your mat while meditating. I didn’t really know what sort of yoga I was getting. (Hint: Not kundalini, which is what I used to do.)

I popped in a DVD this morning because today was not a walking day, and I wanted to keep up the energy! Keep going with the good habits! Keep exercising! This morning’s DVD was called power yoga something-or-other. I was ready!

Well, I WAS ready. Then there were 4 ads for other workout DVDs which I wasn’t able to skip. My first clue about this routine should’ve been how the discs being hawked were all named things like “The Firm’s Power Cardio Endurance Strengthening Sculpting Orgy.” But I was sort of sleepy and not really paying all that much attention, except to note that the people in the commercial had some pretty ferocious abs.

Finally the workout I’d selected began. (I chose lower body strengthening, as if it matters.) There was a studio, an instructor, and about 8 students. The men were shirtless, and the women wore sports bras and bike shorts. It was an extremely naked bunch. Well, maybe that’s how Real Yoga People tend to work out. Okay. It’s not like they could see me in my sweats.

The instructor called out the first stance–a modified lunge–and interspersed directions for the movements with the sort of patter that makes me crazy. “Breathe deeply, breathe with your WHOLE BODY!” Yes, here I’d only been breathing with my lungs, like a fool. Thank you for showing me the error of my ways. Nevertheless, I was able to move through the stations of this mini-routine until he urged everyone to convert from the already precarious position with one leg straight out in back and arms outstretched to tipping torso and arms downward while stretching the backwards leg up to the sky. I used my whole body to breathe right before I tipped over and crashed into the coffee table.

At that point I decided to (wisely) modify the positioning and do a similar stretch on the floor, where gravity wouldn’t make me its bitch. This had the added advantage of allowing me to really focus on the television, as opposed to the sneaking glances I’d been limited to while doing my stork impression, earlier.

One of the women in the front row had a little problem. Actually, the first thing that struck me about her was that her hair was longish and down; I am suspicious of any woman with long hair who doesn’t put it up to exercise. (Likewise, if I see you jogging and you’re wearing make-up, I reserve the right to call you a vain poser in my mind. Sorry.) But while I was wondering if she knew that her sweaty hair was sticking to her neck, I noticed that she had a crotch sweat problem of impressive proportions. Niiiice. That’s what I want to see, when I’m trying to get motivated. The instructor most often moved to her to lay on a hand, while he called out the routine, too. Perhaps he was trying to let her know that if she couldn’t hold it, she should take a potty break.

The other women in the front row looked like serious yoga types. This, of course, means that two of them had long hippie hair in a single braid, and the remaining woman had very short hair. Also? They didn’t sweat. They glistened, but only slightly. Perhaps because they were feeling their inner power, as directed.

In the back row there were 3 men and one woman. I never really got a good view of the woman. In the back left corner was the Token Black Man, looking buff and beautiful and a bit bored. In the back right corner was a Very Pretty Man who modified every pose because he wasn’t very flexible. In other words, I suspect he’d never taken yoga before in his life. Next to the VPM was a man who clearly took a lot of yoga (was quite flexible), but had a bit of a belly hanging over his spandex shorts. Did you catch that? Man. Spandex. Shorts. *shudder*

While surveying this group I realized that it was, collectively, the smoothest assembly of mostly-naked people I’d ever seen. There was nary a chest hair to be found. TBM and VPM had hairless armpits in addition to bare chests. Only the guy with the bit of belly had hairy pits, and really, if not for the spandex shorts they would sort have been a welcome sight. My stretching forgotten, I stared at the screen. Are these men who wax their bodies on a regular basis? Was it a requirement for being on the DVD? Were there auditions, with groups of people being led through a workout, and the bizarre and earnest instructor wove his way amongst them urging them onward with ever-increasing intensity: “That’s it… keep reaching… go a bit further… really BREATHING up from within. Find your center and your strength… now one big anchoring inhale and SUCK THE HAIR BACK IN THROUGH THE FOLLICLES… yes… good… and arch backwards to greet the sun and start tanning… excellent.”

It really started freaking me out. So I turned it off and had a snack.

Later, in the shower, I skipped shaving my legs. In protest.


  1. Jen-Again

    This may seem really stupid to you, but I highly recommend the Dance, Dance, revolution video game. Gets right to the point and is challenging but allows you to mostly look at the screen while moving.

    Also, if you get two pads to dance on you can involve Monkey and Chickadee in it, so everyone can have fun together. It seems really flimsy at first when you lay the pads down, but amazingly they hold up pretty well.

  2. andi

    I might have to start censoring your blog. I am very offended by the “e” word and you were throwing it around quite a bit there. No need to use such strong language!

  3. Cele

    Oh mi god you’re my astral sister or something. I am exactly that way with getting up early to do something so virtuous as eck, excuse me somethings caught in my throat. As eck, oh you know what I mean.

    I always wanted to do that thing in the park that involves really slow movement in large quiet groups, and is related to eck, eck, eck.errrr But there are only loud kids in the park around here…and a lot of rain puddles.

  4. Chookooloonks

    The two phrases in this post which will make me love you forever and ever:

    “Token Black Man” (because you’re so right),


    “…do a similar stretch on the floor, where gravity wouldn’t make me its bitch” (because, again, of the rightness).

    And with regard to the second phrase, I’m so stealing that. And I may not even give you credit.


  5. Holly

    The only way I can get through ex… that stuff is to turn on NPR and concentrate on the news or listen to an audio book (maybe Joss reading Between Georgia! That way I could get belly laugh as well as aerobic stuff).

    I cannot turn on the TV as I am a vidiot and will stop everything and just watch. No matter what is on.

  6. paige

    Oh my. I feel you on the dreaded e-word. Good Lord. I have FOUR videos sitting next to my TV, waiting for me to try them. They include Yoga Booty Ballet (as fun as it’s name), Billy Blanks Tae Bo Boot Camp (Boot Camp makes me NOT want to try it), and Crunch Dance or something. (there are two YBB DVDs).
    They have been there since Christmas. That’s approximately NINE excuses- one for each week- of why I haven’t started them. Huh.

  7. Bob

    I think paige has got it – yoga booty ballet. how could you NOT get psyched about it. its not exercise – its ballet for your booty. forget regular ballet, I foresee booty ballet taking over. you could sell tickets. I’ll buy a season pass.

    I’ll even chip in a set of booty ballet slippers.

  8. bella

    This was a very funny post. I also hate working out but I’ve never seen someone rip apart a workout video as well as you just did.

  9. chris

    Gah, I hate exercise too. I just can’t motivate myself to do it at all. It’s amazing how good I am at convincing myself not to do it. I’m like the anti-nike ad, Just Don’t Do IT!

  10. David

    Amen, sister! I’m exactly that way myself: Formal schedule? Yup, I’ll be there without fail. Flexible schedule/personal recog? So not happening. And exercise is way too much like work. If it isn’t FUN, I ain’t gonna do it. Odd video. I half expected it would degenerate into some sort of lewd, group sex thing. Of course, maybe they’re saving that for another installment.

  11. Chris

    I too am suspicious of anyone working out in makeup. I see women at the gym all the time wearing hooker makeup and all I can figure is that they just walk around from one end to the other as after just a few minutes on the eliptical I’m glistening:) There is no way they could actually be exercising.

  12. Heather

    Mir, you crack me up, m’dear. Men with hairless armpits kind of disturb me. It just doesn’t seem right. your “SUCK THE HAIR BACK IN THROUGH THE FOLLICLES” kinda made me snort milk out my nose. Thanks :P

  13. chris

    (FRRP,frequent reader, rare poster here) there has been an unopened yoga video in front of our tv for lo, this many months. (i can see it from the recliner.) thanks to your enlightening post, i’ll never have to open it. you’re the best!

  14. Aimee

    Ah yes…gravity makes us all her bitches, one way or the other. I’m SO with you on the women with long hair exercising with it down, and/or with makeup. I actually threw away an aerobics video for precisely that reason.

  15. shannon

    I may get lambasted for this, but yoga is really amazing when done with an instructor you really connect with. I’ve tried the videos and they lack a great deal.

    Oh, and as for the idea of Dance Dance Revolution…just throw on some really amazing music at your house and dance your booty off.

    (pssst, i think i’m one of the very few who really enjoy the “e” word. although not in a gym setting or anything other than hikes and yoga. have i told you you are pretty?)

  16. Coleen

    I will admit to working out in full makeup. This is because I am too stinkin’ lazy to wipe it off during the commute from work to the gym.

    Also, I tried a yoga class once. I had to quit in the third week, when they started the shoulder stands and whatnot. Something about being choked BY MY OWN GIANT BREASTS had something to do with my decision.

    My 3Day training won’t start until April 1st. In the meantime, I’ll be at Curves faithfully, getting my heartrate ready for the long walks. I may hate it, but you know what? It’s the only way to get through the @#%)(*& weekend. (grin)

  17. DebR

    Hey, wait a minute. Waaaait, just a freakin’ minute. You mean buying a “Yoga and Pilates” DVD – two of them in fact! – and putting them on the shelf with the movie DVDs doesn’t burn calories and build endurance?

    You mean someone somewhere expects me to put the stupid things IN the DVD player and try to do the same things those people on the screen are doing? Geeeeze.

    Someone Shoulda told me that earlier. I Woulda spent the money on something I Coulda expected to actually use, like a power napping DVD or something. Sheesh.

  18. Contrary

    What is this ‘exercise’ you speak of? It sounds painful. And sweaty.

    Ha! I kid! I love to exercise! I’m a buff exercising machine. And no one can prove otherwise!

    Seriously, I’m impressed with your motivation and your ultimate goal. Keep up the good work!

  19. Theresa

    I skip shaving my legs in protest all the time! Not that I know what I am protesting…

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