My Skeptical Guide To Yoga

Hello dear reader(s)!

Do you do Yoga?  Should you?  Do you think it is a bunch of crap?  Should you?  Am I asking too many questions?  Should I stop?  Do I care?  What am I doing?  Didn’t I want to post about Yoga?

Okay, so it all started up in Seattle while I was in and out of the hospital.  My wife and mother were stressed (Gee, I wonder why?) and were looking for something to do in order to alleviate that.  Plus, months of sleeping on hospital cots was not very easy on my wife’s muscles and bones.  So desperate for something to help…they turned to YouTube.  Specifically, they found this:

Now, being unable to walk, or sometimes sit up, this was not an option for me until many months later.  Specifically, the day before yesterday.  So, working to relax, and be mindful and present in the moment instead of entertaining the obsessive thoughts that plague my tiny little mind, I let my wife talk me into trying it.  Here are my observations:

  • With the music?  Really?  I get it, Yoga comes from a certain area, and the music in the video may be representative of the music of said area…however, I just picture Stevie Nicks lookalikes with their crystals around them and dayglo posters on the walls.
  • Laughter gets in the way of the exercises  It starts with the music, but there are a couple of other points where I just lose it.  The line, “you may smile gently” is not something that I can get through without cracking up.  I think that I end up smiling a little more roughly than intended.
  • Prana?  Are midi-chlorians involved?
  • Yes, I can feel my fingers tingling  It is called circulation.  Why does everything that helps to bring about a feeling of peace, awareness, relaxation, or focus always have to involve some mysterious force?  It really is an injustice to the wonders of our brain and bodies.
  • Holy crap that woman is flexible  I can grasp my upper calf in the sitting down with legs extended position.  (I bet there is some name for it, but I don’t know it, and I don’t care.)  The day before yesterday, I could reach my knee.  Which means…
  • This actually works  There is a reason Yoga is popular.  After the first moves involving your legs, you really do feel the difference.  There is no question that the stretching is helpful, and if you aren’t pushing too hard, they are good for you.  So physically, it is wonderful.  I am still very limited when it comes to range of motion.  I also have a pretty messed up (as always, messed up is a technical medical term…Don’t you love recycled jokes?) back and neck.  I think my 3rd vertebra is compressed or there is a disc issue, or something they told me in the hospital that was irrelevant to the big picture of just trying to survive.  “Hey doc, I have dry skin too, but let’s just focus on keeping me from succumbing to this blood infection, shall we?”  But yes, on a physical level this works, but on a mental level…
  • This actually works  For me.  As always this is my blog-type-thing and the opinions expressed herein are my own unless otherwise cited or your comments or other things I really shouldn’t have to explain because they should be completely obvious like the way that I use run-on sentences with pride but aren’t because some people are always looking to tear others down and waiting for them to slip up.  But really, part of the way through this video and doing the Yoga (Does Yoga need to be capitalized?  I should look that up, but that would require opening another tab and typing something into Google and I already did something today.) I found myself zoning out.  The thoughts were not spinning around and around in my head, and I was certainly feeling relaxed.  Unlike other meditation practices, the physical movement kept me from falling asleep.  Even in my weak and stiff condition, I was still able to do most of the things in this video (though not nearly to the points that the woman does).  That, to me is one of the great things about this.  You don’t have to be very healthy to get it going.  So stretched, relaxed and great…
  • Except for that smile gently line  Just can’t get past it.  Ruins it for me every time.  I am feeling totally relaxed and then, BAM!  I start giggling like a school kid who happens to giggle a lot.  I am brought back to reality.  Luckily
  • The relaxation of 3 minutes toward the end is awesome  But I don’t wanna get up and you can’t make me!!!!

If you haven’t figured it out, I am not a doctor and therefore thusly henceforth, this is not medical advice.  Consult a doctor before you begin any physical activity, including involuntary ones such as breathing and allowing your heart to beat.  Just don’t sue me, because I am broke anyway.  

Do you have any experience with Yoga?  What about Yogi?  I would love to hear about them in the comments, or read, as the case may be.  Can you post audio files in comments?  Hmmm, I’d look that up, but I already did something today.


Author: Josh Wrenn

Cancer survivor, wanna-be artist, musician, author, and all around good guy.

62 thoughts on “My Skeptical Guide To Yoga”

  1. Get thee to a proper instructor guided yoga class! And the best part? It has savasana built in so it ends with a nap! (okay, meditation…you really aren’t supposed to fall asleep.) I also noticed that when I was leaving the yoga studio at the back of the gym, I walked out smiling and peaceful. I compared that with the grunting and angry faces I saw on the weight room folk. Namaste!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You can go online to for free online classes that can be as simple as breathing and meditation or a little more as you are able. Plus, you can shut your laptop if it gets to be too much.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Yoga is a great way to de-stress and revitalize…but it’s also attributed to the most sports related injuries because people think they have to push themselves further than they ought.
    Always best to go slow and ease into any workout.

    Just my two cents worth…
    Loved the post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are definitely right. If you can’t do it, don’t. I end up barely getting into some of those beginner poses. Same goes for any sports and workouts. Your two cents are worth more than two cents.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I do Vinyasa Yoga once a week and I love it. I don’t speak yoga so don’t ask me what it all means. I just know that my body and my mind feel so awesome after an intense 75min. I wish I would have started with Yoga earlier in my life so I would be flexible like the Yoga Instructors. But I am getting there 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yoga helps me a lot! I want to get into a yoga class, because being in a group and in a class was maybe even more beneficial for me than doing yoga alone. But it’s a great way for me to workout and relax at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yoga has helped me with stress as well as my balance, strength, pain management and digestion. I can’t say I do it as much as I should lately, but I know it helps.
    Also, I just had to test myself and see if I could scratch my head with my foot like a dog! The result is that I can’t unless I use my hand to move my foot. Guess I should do more yoga! Just say’n, cause that made me laugh when someone said that…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love yoga, I went once to a class in college with a friend. The instructor was a tiny middle aged upbeat woman of Asian decent. She had been some sort of yogi master and you could barely understand a word she was saying, not only because of her thick accent but also for her rapid rate of speech. She would bounce about the room as we would stand in our pose “smile, don’t forget to smile.” Then she would prance about the front like Peter Pan with a large wooden beam and in a sing song manner lecture on smiling as our blood rushes to our head in a triangle pose, and she would take the wooden beam and loudly bang herself in the head with it, “see, smile makes you strong!” HAHAHAH she was the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “Holy crap that woman is flexible” LOL. Yep. It sure works. I start yawning (finally! after trying to break through the fatigue with actual sleep-inducing sleepiness) after 5 minutes of Y. It’s quite a discovery when you’ve been skeptical. =)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I miss my yoga time so much! I had no idea how much I would love it until I started getting more serious about it after my car accident and it did so much to strengthen me and improve my mental outlook, but then it was snatched away by doctors who let me in on a secret about super bendy types like me:
    Don’t practice unsupervised yoga if you can put your elbows on the ground without trying too hard. Don’t do yoga if every part of your body can hyperextend without warning. Don’t do yoga if you can touch your thumb to your forearm. Don’t do yoga if your sciatic, knees, shoulders, and collarbone dislocate (for starters). I had no idea I was just doing more long-term damage by not seeking out specific yoga instructors who were trained in dealing with extreme hypermobility and EDS, and they are, guess what, verrrry expensive. :/ So no lovely yoga time for me, at least not right now. I have to pacify myself with yoga nidra, which is still great but not the same.
    ps I giggle at things like that “smile” line too. Every damn time. just… really? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh yeah, I could see how that would be bad for people who are super flexible or can dislocate joints without warning. My knee goes out on me every so often due to an old injury but at least I can feel when it gets close. I’m sorry you don’t get to enjoy that the same.


  9. Maybe there’s a placebo effect at work here. Besides, people pay good money for this, why would they say it sucks when they’re paying large sums of money to be led on? To add to the illusion that it works they have even developed different kinds of Yoga. I think it used to work, but then people smelt money. Keep on blogging in a free world – The False Prophet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stretching and deep breathing is going to relax you. The rest of the Yoga stuff I think is garbage, but I do think the foundation is sound so they could use it to impose their mysticism. Much like the way many religions involve some sort of drugs or group coercion techniques.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. those last few minutes at the end are always the best part!!! 🙂 have done yoga on and off for a ton of years, it really does help with the balance and flexibility. if you can’t go to a class, check out Rodney Yee’s DVDs (they’re everywhere, like target and amazon, etc) he has a good voice and isn’t too hokey. the AM Yoga DVD he does is one of my favs.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have a love/hate relationship with yoga. I tend to feel inferior when I take a class and everyone else can touch their toes and I can’t (one reason yoga videos are at least a little better is that you can just call the instructor a flexi-freak and assume no one else is really that flexible). Interestingly, my dad and I took several classes together and could do all the balancy stuff but none of the toe-touching stuff, so it must be genetic, which makes me feel a little bit better. I can blame my dad instead of inertia, lol. Plus, I’m pretty sure downward facing dog in an invention of a sadist – no amount of spreading my fingers makes it hurt less. That being said, since you tend to get the giggles when trying to smile gently, I highly recommend laughter yoga/meditation.


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