When you get right down to it, yoga is an activity which puts the body into positions or poses that stretch muscles and tendons. Muscles and tendons that probably would not have been otherwise so stressed in the course of any normal daily life. And yet despite the pain, millions of people seek it out and join in.
Because the public craves novelty, several variations on the yoga theme have been created (I believe the latest is hot yoga, which is yoga with the addition of sweat, but I could be behind the times), and have been quite successful at drawing adherents from the vanilla yoga pool, and dollars from the participants pockets.
I spent Monday developing a new yoga variant: boat yoga. This will surely be the next craze. Being a kind of yoga, it of course involves contorting the body into positions that stretch muscles and tendons uncomfortably. But this novel form of yoga also adds:
- Physical constraints. No longer are you free to roam about your yoga mat. In fact, no yoga mat is allowed. Instead, you must contort your body to fit within spaces which were designed by experts to maximize discomfort (yoga adherents call this "Good").
- A form of aromatherapy is also included. While you are enjoying the feeling of having your body twisted and distorted, you are presented with a dizzying array of scents designed to maximize the experience:
- Hot oil
- Stale diesel
- Head hose
- Acid fumes
- Foul bilge water
- Heat. Boat Yoga is derived from Hot Yoga, and therefore is performed in a warm environment. But there is an additional twist: some of the physical constraints mentioned above are actually heated to the point that they may cause burns if your skin comes in contact with them. This increases the tension and the intensity of the experience.
- Oil. But there is no place for wimpy baby oil here. Boat Yoga disciples boldly anoint themselves with used crankcase oil, fresh from the bowels of diesel engines, which are conveniently placed nearby for this purpose.
- Weight training. Unlike vanilla yoga which is pretty much a passive activity, advanced Boat Yoga provides the opportunity for doing weight lifting "reps" while in pose. Heavy objects are conveniently placed in the Boat Yoga environment for the use of practitioners. How many reps can you do with a group 31 battery while holding the "Downward facing oil filter removal" pose?
Oh, I failed to mention this very important part of the regimen: The concluding exercise of each Boat Yoga session involves the ceremonial consumption of a cold beer. This shocks the now-heated and stressed body into dumping accumulated toxins and poisons. Advanced practitioners may be able to increase this to two, or for experts, three beers.
(While doing the development work for this new yoga regime on Monday, I coincidentally got the oil changed in the main engine, oil changed in the genset, replaced the oil filter on the genset, and topped up the electrolyte in the batteries.)