I feel constant guilt about this fact, but: I don’t like yoga.
I know it’s supposed to do wonderful things for your mind and body, but I’ve made a few attempts to get into it, and it’s never taken. Frankly, after a session, I’ve never felt relaxed or centered or good in any way. At best, I’ve felt a vague sense of distasteful unease, but far more often I’ve felt a truly uncharacteristic-for-me rage towards all of humanity.
I’ve learned to be comfortable with my distaste for yoga, and I feel the world is big enough for both of us to coexist. I don’t go into any yoga studios, and no yoga studios try to force me into any bendy positions, and we avoid arguments.
Recently, however, yoga reared its ugly head.
It started when my gym introduced a new class format that I’ve become fond of. It involves a bunch of unusual maneuvers (some of which might be considered yoga-esque, but let’s not get into that) that are challenging but interesting. One of these is an inverted L pose against the wall: hands on the ground, jump your feet up to the wall parallel with hips, straighten arms and legs to make an L shape.
One problem I have, however, is that the room that this class takes place in is a no-shoe place. The walls are wood, and during the workout, my feet get sweaty and slippery. So in addition to the difficulty, the L pose is fraught with danger. Fraught, I tell you!
To overcome this, another person in the class had the bright idea of yoga socks—socks with those little rubber bits on the sole to aid sticking. I figured that might help me too.
I tried a general sporting goods store, which did not work; they didn’t have any. So then… ugh… I tried Lululemon.
I’m sure Lululemon is a lovely establishment, but the name is a really clear indication that I am not its target audience. The only store I think I’d like less to enter is the horror that is American Girl Place, and that’s not by much. (Seriously, so creepy. The combination of the blissed-out zombie faces on little girls leaving the store, followed about 15 feet behind by the dejected self-loathing on the faces of their fathers who invariably have to carry all of the bags, will haunt me for decades.)
But I did, and went up to one of the employees, and asked if they had yoga socks, figuring that a yoga store might have them.
I was wrong.
They had women’s yoga socks, but those only went up to a women’s size 10, and I happen to know that those aren’t practical for my (size 12) feet. I can get my feet into a women’s size 10—I’ve done so when portraying Barbara Bush and a 10 was the largest size shoes I could find at the thrift store for my costume—but it’s not something that will work over the course of a class. There would be a constant danger that my feet would either rip through the toes, or more likely, they would slip off mid-workout and the elastic would send them flying through the air. (Probably landing on the instructor’s head, which is invariably a 10-burpee penalty.)
Even more galling: Lululemon, the yoga store, does sell men’s running socks. Which, why? And, what? I always assumed that running socks were just socks.
The apologetic shopkeeper did recommend trying CorePower, a yoga studio noted for having a retail operation as well. I had a bit of time, so I looked it up, found a location near my actual destination, and called to see if they did in fact have the socks I was looking for.
Calling was less constructive than one might hope, however. The website listed individual phone numbers for each location, but the one I called sent me to a central headquarters—and they couldn’t tell me anything about the things any individual location sells.
I hadn’t been in a yoga class in several months, so I was still reasonably calm, thanked the person on the other end of the line, and decided I would just pop in to see. But this plan was scuttered by a mistake of my own making: Chicago addresses are divided into East and West by State Street, but the vast majority are west of it. I didn’t notice that this one was east, so I got to the location I thought I would find the studio and… nothing.
Upon deciphering my mistake, I determined it was a bit too far to hike in the time that I had—and I was getting tired of things yoga-related by this time—so I gave up.
There may be a happyish ending. I have since acquired yoga socks that at least reasonably fit online. However, the tale has one final indignity:
Yep, the socks have separate prongs for each toe.
There’s no way I’m going to not look like a jackass in those.
We’ll see if the added stability will be worth the utter humiliation.