Yoga is the ultimate tool for stress relief and has nothing but wonderful benefits, right? Everyone loves yoga, right? Hold on to your hats people, because I’m about to voice an unpopular opinion. I hate yoga. Yup, it sucks.
And to my dear friends: I love you guys, I know you only want to help, but if I tell you I’m stressed out, bring me an almond brioche from Cassis bakery. Treat me to a month of unlimited Netflix, or better yet Amazon Prime with unlimited video streaming. Take me to get a crunchy tuna bowl at Fresh Kitchen, but please, mother of God, STOP TELLING ME TO DO YOGA!
When I was really stressed, during my divorce, I read book after book on how to take it down a notch. ‘Try Yoga,’ they said.
I was born stressed out. I was on a tranquilizer at the age of two because of the fact that I had to stay up all night trying to solve the world’s problems. My poor young parents were like, “Please God just let her shut the F up and go to sleep, please!” When that didn’t work, they took me to the pediatrician, and back then, before there was an FDA I guess, pediatricians were allowed to prescribe little baby ambiens for infants. So, I was okay for a few years until kindergarten hit, but that’s another story, one that I haven’t quite gotten to the bottom of yet, though my therapist thinks we are getting really close.
Anyway, when I say, I’m stressed out, it can be for myriad reasons, anything from they are out of Belgian endive at Publix, to my 24-year-old realtor daughter is holding open houses by herself in domiciles that look like the Breaking Bad motor home, or I just noticed a weird mole on my back that looks like a Skittle. In other words, I am always stressed about something.
When I was really stressed, during my divorce, I read book after book on how to take it down a notch. “Try Yoga,” they said. “It really works,” they said. Okay, I tried it. I put on some yoga pants and one of those braless mini tops and went to my first yoga class. No one told me you had to bring your own mat, so I ended up using one that someone had left behind weeks ago, after they came to the realization that a cosmo and a sushi roll would be a lot more calming than sitting on the floor next to a bunch of people with sweaty feet.
This is Why Yoga Sucks
So, we begin. We begin by breathing in, breathing out. Okay, I think, I can do this. And then we do our first pose; I don’t remember the name of it but I do recall trying to put my foot up by my ear. It was then I noticed that my toenail cuticles looked like old, peeling bathroom caulk. I thought back to when I last had a pedicure. It was before the whole divorce thing began. I then thought about my precarious financial situation and wondered how much money I would have to put aside each month to afford the pedicure with the hot wax treatment and what could I do without in order to afford this luxury. This is Florida, and my toenails still need to look nice in my Target flip flops. Maybe I could fuel up with generic coffee beans? Maybe those frozen mini chicken pot pies were actually quite tasty? Had it come to this now?
It was then I noticed that my toenail cuticles looked like old, peeling bathroom caulk.
My mind continues to drift as I see people contorting themselves into a position called Downward Facing Dog, which looks a lot like the pose my college boyfriend had suggested during a frat party grope session. I had firmly declined; however, that’s not to say I wouldn’t revisit the pose at this point in life, but certainly not here.
My Poor Children
Remembering college makes me think of my kids and I realize I could get my daughter to paint my toenails, but then it occurs to me that this was the start of the slippery slope for my poor children. It will be up to them to care for me, take me out for ice cream once a week, reset my iPad password every other day when I forget it. I take in a loud breath that I hope sounds cleansing but I fear sounds like a snot-tinged sniff, as I imagine the years passing, and eventually I see myself falling as I am getting out of the bathtub. It’s bound to happen; these Florida tile floors are so slick.
I realize I could get my daughter to paint my toenails, but then it occurs to me that this was the start of the slippery slope for my children.
Before I know it the class is over, and I am so worked up and panic stricken about my bathtub accident, I leave the mat on the floor with my big sweaty butt print on it and nearly run to my car, so anxious am I to get home and see what could be done with my toenails. But first I stop at Walmart for a big rubber bathmat.
So, please, yoga may work for you, but for me? I will take puff pastry filled with marzipan and powdered sugar during a House of Cards binge every time. Now that is Zen.
Amy Koko is the author of the memoir There’s Been A Change of Plans, A Memoir About Divorce, Dating and Delinquents in Midlife and is a contributor to Huffington Post, Bravo Personal Space and SheSavvy. Amy lives in St. Petersburg, Florida and is the mother of four mostly well-adjusted kids and is currently working on her first novel.
A version of this article was originally published in June 2017.