GUEST COLUMN: Yoga – A quiet mind and kind heart is not all you need


John Hollingsworth

John D. Hollingsworth

I was invited recently by my comedian friend Timmy Boyle in Stirling, Ont. to try out his yoga class. He promised me two things:

1 – He would bring some “workout clothes” for me.

2 – It would be an unforgettable experience.

The next day, I arrived at the studio ready to work some kinks out. Timmy was there and waiting.

Me: “Did you bring some shorts for me?”

Timmy: “Yup! Here you go. You can change in the bathroom.”

Heading to the bathroom, I couldn’t help but notice how ‘light’ Timmy’s shorts felt. When carrying my own shorts they have always felt like they contained more material somehow.

When I attempted to put them on, I realized why.

Timmy (knocking on the bathroom door): “How’s it going in there? We’re ready to start.”

Me: “HHNNNNN! MMMMFFFF! These shorts seem awful small. Where did you get them?”

Timmy: “They’re mine. I’ve had them since I was sixteen.”

At this point, I knew I was holding up the class (that was probably only Timmy and the instructor) so, with Herculean effort, I scraped my knickers up over my thighs and stepped out.

Timmy: “Looks good.”

Me: “Timmy, I look like a male stripper. Surely you had a better pair of shorts available.”

Then I got a look at Timmy’s outfit. He was wearing a T-shirt and jogging pants. The shirt was faded and the jogging pants were something else. They could only be called pants by the broadest definition. No knees, just holes stretching from mid-thigh to ankle, and so old they were literally threadbare.

Timmy: “I had to start wearing shorts underneath because everyone was complaining.”

Me: “Ha!”

Also Me: “Wait a minute. Everyone? What ‘everyone’? I thought it was just you and your instructor?”

Timmy: “That’s the OTHER class. This one is full.”

Suddenly, every terrifying dream of ‘showing-up-to-work-in-your-underwear’ was coming true: I was in a yoga class full of strangers wearing the mini-britches of a Chippendale performer.

The class was the longest hour of my life. Twenty adults (two men and 18 women) packed into a small yoga studio — each working studiously to ignore my choice in fashion. Downward Dog felt like I was flaunting everything, and the Warrior poses made me strut my stuff with nothing left to the imagination.

What has always prevented me from joining a yoga class is the fact every stretch and pose squeezes some gas out of me. It’s physics. The upside to wearing these Roller Derby shorts was that hauling them on had actually FORCED my boxers into every crevice. NOTHING was escaping. And peeling them off again was like a waxing session … with much the same results.

In the end, I learned:

1 – Never to trust a fellow comedian where clothing is concerned.

2 – One can rise above ‘chafing’ to achieve a good stretch.

3 – Students who can focus beyond what’s in their face can also achieve a good stretch.

John D. Hollingsworth is a Sarnia resident and (with alter ego Mark Thrice) the award-winning author of Halfway To Crazy