Fitness Faux Pas

Some people say exercise reveals new things to you about your body. For me, exercise revealed new things about my body to some people
Aaron To

When we began working on the fitness feature in this month’s issue, I eagerly volunteered to try several local yoga classes. I claimed this was because I wanted to increase my flexibility, but really it was because I’d read somewhere that Jennifer Aniston said her svelte figure was from yoga. If Jennifer Aniston said she’d gotten her body from eating the petals of a rare Amazonian flower, I suspect I’d be among the millions of other women booking our tickets to South America right now.

   The morning of my second class I threw on my workout clothes and hurried to the studio. On my way to the class I realized I’d accidentally put on the wrong pair of black pants. Instead of my black yoga pants, I was wearing the leggings I typically wear under dresses and skirts. I didn’t think much about it since I was focused on other things—things like trying to make it through a yoga class with a bunch of women with 2 percent body fat.

    The class was in a high-ceilinged studio with floor-to-ceiling windows across one wall. It was a hot class (110 degrees), so after the first ten minutes it was pure modesty and following social norms that prevented me from stripping off all my clothing. Ten minutes after that, though, I realized my days of claiming any form of modesty had come to an abrupt end.

    I was bent over, facing the back of the class with my legs spread in a strange position and my head close to my ankles (naturally). I looked back through my legs at the mirror at the front of the class. And that’s when I realized my leggings were completely see-through.

    And I wasn’t wearing underwear.

    There were fifty-five minutes left to go in the class and I was contorting my body in ways that meant, if they looked, my fellow yogis would be getting views even my gynecologist doesn’t see. You just know Jennifer Aniston never has these kinds of problems.
I looked around at my classmates. I’d never met any of them before. Charlotte has about 700,000 people living in it. I figured if I worked at it, I could make sure I never saw these fourteen women again. Or I could move somewhere far, far away. (It’s easy to sell a house in this economy, right?)

    I thought about it as I posed in something called “intense spread leg stretch,” which in my case should have been called “Stripper Moves 101.” There was really no way to gracefully exit the class. I decided I was going to have to stick it out until the end. And then I was going to have to leave very, very quickly.

    Unfortunately though, as the class ended and I tried to slip inconspicuously out, the instructor stopped me. She wanted to ask what I’d thought and to suggest that I come back with a photographer to shoot me taking the class for the article. I considered pointing out that we’re not really that kind of magazine. But I was working too hard on edging out of the studio—and simultaneously tugging my shirt down over my pants—to focus much on the conversation.

    This might seem like it should be the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to me, but I actually maxed out on being seriously embarrassed sometime around when I turned twenty-five. (Something that is coming in handy in writing this page.) So, for now I’m just hoping it’s the most embarrassing thing that happens for awhile—and interpreting it as a sign that it may be time to let go of the “look like Jennifer Aniston” dream. At least until she admits to eating that Amazonian flower.

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