Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Downward Facing Dude

Yoga is all the rage in Minnesota these days. We’ve got store front and strip mall studios and health club classes running 18 hours a day. Target is selling yoga clothes, and mats, and towels. Yoga water bottles… Yoga tote bags. Yoga everything. People just can’t get enough yoga.

Except middle aged Minnesota males. Something owly and obstinate deep in their “guy psyche” just can’t let them get with the program.

Probably just as well. Who wants to see a mirrored room full of sweaty guys doing the child pose, or the lotus, or the warrior, or any of those other poses? Not even guys themselves.

It’s a perverse question. Chicken-or-egg? Which came first? All those inflexible bodies or all those inflexible minds?

The guy in me wants to say that years of snow shoveling, yard work, old athletic injuries and other tweaks and kinks have come home to roost and make yoga impossible for us.

I suspect, though, that that rigid “guy” mindset keeps middle aged men from embracing yoga.

What guys need are yoga poses they can relate to as husbands, fathers, and members of the community—as… well… guys.

Poses they can achieve in baggy old sweat pants. Poses that take tight tendons, well-marbled meat, and sedentary lifestyles into consideration.

How about a pose called, “Searching for the Remote,” where a guy gets down on his knees somewhat gingerly, puts his forearms flat on the floor, and turns his head to the side as if peering under the sofa?

Or, “Balky Lawnmower,” where he places his feet wide apart and stretches, one fist at hip level in front of him as if holding the lawnmower handle, the other flying far out behind, like he’d just pulled the rope and the mower hadn’t started.

Maybe we could replace yoga’s iconic “Downward Facing Dog” pose with something called, “Downward Facing Dude.”

Yoga for guys. It’s a big idea. An important idea. An idea that could improve life for thousands of men across the state.

I’m going to meditate on it as I do my guy yoga today—that is if I do guy yoga today.

I seem to be stuck in a non-yoga pose called, “reclining chair.”

Friday, February 4, 2011

Everything's Bigger in New York. Even Snowstorms.

Is it just me? Or do other Minnesotans think the national media gets a little overwrought whenever the East Coast or the South catches a little winter weather?

Sure they’ll pay lip service to torrential rains on the West Coast or a blizzard blowing across the Great Plains. They might even show a waiting area full of stranded travelers at the airport. Or a couple of jackknifed semis out on the Interstate.

But you can tell down deep, they don’t care. Their hearts aren’t in it. They’re just phoning the coverage in.

Let it snow nine or ten inches in New York or Washington, though. Watch how they cover that.

Reporters in color coordinated winter survival gear brave the elements to file breathless remotes from desolate and devastated locations like Central Park South or the National Mall. There’s panic in their voices. This is it. The end of civilization as we know it.

Atlanta storm coverage is even worse. But at least when it snows in Atlanta you’re treated to those amusing shots of southerners trying to drive in snow—or push cars out of those towering three inch drifts without having any idea about how to push cars.

Chicago, on the other hand, seems to be more Midwestern—like us. When a big storm blows in, they shrug it off and start digging out. That's Lake Shore Drive in the photo above. Did you hear Chicago complain?

It’s those darned East Coast media types. It can take six days for a storm to cross the continent. The storm can make life miserable from the Rockies to somewhere east of Pittsburgh. The East Coast types won’t pay any attention.

Only when a big storm longs to be a part of it, New York, New York, then and only then will they start spreading the word.

It will be as if the storm appeared out of nowhere. Right over their heads—as if it singled them out for the kind of punishment no one else in the world has ever received.

So I’d like to offer the following message to East Coast media types on behalf of Midwesterners everywhere—people who know from real snow and 80 below wind chills.

Suck it up, Buttercup. Quit your whining and deal with it. We did. And get ready. The way this winter is going, any day now, we’ll have to deal with it all over again.