I had a surge of exercise-related ambition during my junior year of college, and it was during this phase that I made it a personal goal to develop a workout routine that I could complete without leaving my dorm. And my first foray into in-dorm exercise was with the popular activity of yoga.
One night, I was feeling apathetic about working out but didn’t want to leave my room, so I compromised. I had watched more than enough movies and TV shows set in Los Angeles that I knew that yoga was just the fit for me. In videos, it looked amazingly simple, so I promised myself that this would be the perfect compromise between an utter lack of physical activity and going to the gym.
I probably should have found an experienced yogi to show me the ropes, but I was confident enough to think that I could excel at this form of eastern hemisphere exercise after watching a few short videos on YouTube. So after I had seen my fair share of people slowly stretching online, I decided it was time for me to give it a try.
Based on the limited knowledge of this type of exercise that I had gleaned from the internet, I knew that I needed to set the stage for this experience. I quickly went to work dimming lights, lighting candles, and finding room on the small floor space to spread my yoga mat. Once this was completed, my room looked like the “honeymoon suite” in a rural motel.
I initially tried playing the video on my laptop with calming yoga music in the background, but it was far too distracting. So after a minute or so of both playing, I switched off the video. Again, I was relying almost entirely on what I had seen on the internet to guide me towards the point of yoga perfection.
Once the video was switched off, I quickly realized that I did not know many yoga poses. In fact, I only knew one: the swan. I am not even sure if that is the name of it, but that is what I called it. The exercise involved me lying flat on my stomach, placing my hands on the mat in front of me, and pushing my torso up about a foot until my back began to feel stretched. In hindsight, I may not have been doing anything yoga-related, but I felt quite accomplished as I stretched my back.
After a few more times spent raising and lowering my torso to the ground, I sat up feeling quite Zen. I considered trying to find another yoga stretch to perform, but I was soon lulled into sleepiness because of the tranquil music and dimly lit room. In a few minutes, my roommate walked in to find me looking drugged in our room, which was decked out like a massage room in the famous Amsterdam red light district. It took quite a bit of explaining to tell my roommate what I had been doing, and it made me realize that I should probably refrain from creating a yoga studio in a shared living space.