A woman walks into a bra

 
A good boob holster is essential for any moderate success at the gym.

An all-season bra is good for activities such as TV-watching, driving, eating and typing but at the gym you need control and containment—no one wants the rolling hills to roll away.

So off I went to shop for equipment. The price to “Just Do It” averages about $50 at specialty sports stores so I just didn’t. I’m not sure what warrants the $50 to $80 price tag. It’s just a piece of fabric too small for a toddler, and some elastic.

The bras at Sport Chek are categorized by high, medium, and low impact. They are hung up high and loomed over me. I went to the Winners next door where the bras swing from low hangers like mobiles right next to the sweaters. And they’re half the price. They come in small, medium and large—a system I understand.

I picked one that had thick straps like a tank top. It looked sturdy and promising—like nothing would move even when bouncing on a trampoline.

Another bra had a series of thin straps going in different directions across the back like a complicated suspension bridge. You can’t argue with good engineering, so I toddled off to the fitting room with both.

I started with the San Francisco special. I divided the multiple straps and popped my head through but my arms got tangled up. I looked like an octopus trapped in a fishing net. I know this because the full-length mirror doesn’t lie.

I tried the tank-top-type bra next. Far less complicated.

I popped it over my head and got my arms through the right holes but the bottom half, where the heavy-duty elastic is, rolled up in my armpits and I couldn’t roll it down. It was like being caught in a lasso. I’m pretty sure it was cutting off my circulation below the neck.

I wriggled and yanked and jumped as I tugged. My mammaries looked like unexploded water balloons lying on the ground, defenseless under the foot of a reckless child hoping to pop them.

I was sweating by the time I got the bra unfurled and the elastic placed properly under my ta-tas rather than on top of them. It was a no. Too hard to get on.

Then I tried to take it off.

The super grip elastic would not budge. I tried crossing my arms across the front and lifting but I couldn’t get a grip on the very tight elastic. I tried again, this time turning in circles like a dog chasing it’s tail. Perhaps with enough centrifugal force it would fly off?

I hooked my thumbs under the elastic and tried to stretch it up over the high beams as I wriggled. Winded and slightly panicked I had to come to terms with the possibility that I needed help to get out of this contraption. Would it be weird to ask the lady guarding the fitting rooms to help? I suspect so.

I considered ripping the price tag off and walking out of the dressing room with my head held high, swinging my bra from home in my hand. I could walk up to the cashier, slap the price tag down and say, “I’m headed straight to the gym, so I’ll wear it out.” Then I could go home and get Tony to cut me out of it with hedge clippers.

But I didn’t want to pay for it.

After more tugging, and jumping, and praying, and swearing, and grunting, and yanking, and wriggling, I got the bra over the McGuffies and over my head. I threw it down like a 100-meter python that had been trying to eat me.

I left my dignity and the sturdy sports bra at Winners. I took the suspension-bridge bra to the counter. If any of the cables snap things could go awry but it’s a chance I’m willing to take.

Nameste or Namego?

 
I’m trying to make friends with the elliptical machine at the gym. The machine isn’t having it. As my legs burn it mocks me. If I stop for a moment to peel my dried-up lips off my teeth and have a sip of water it tells me to peddle faster. WTF? The ‘time remaining’ countdown isn’t in real time. It’s in hell-gym time, which is triple normal time. There is no way a minute takes that long.

I joined a gym a few weeks ago. It is staffed by young people who wear ugly blue t-shirts. They stand behind the counter near a sad metal basket of bananas, and say “hello” when people walk in. They’re like toned Wal-Mart greeters—pleasant but not terribly helpful.

Is this right?

Now I’m no expert on gyms but I think it’s kind of a crappy gym. The $20-a-month price tag suggests this is not a top-of-the-line fitness centre. They do have machines, bulky men who can’t put their arms down, and classes, including yoga.

Namaste. That’s about all I knew when I walked into what I think was an intermediate class led by Dave.

If you are a yoga novice don’t take an intermediate class. It hurts and they say things like, “now moving from yackity to smackity in one smooth motion…” And everyone in the class moved into some new pose with ease. I flopped around on the mat like a trout in a fishing boat who had given up.

I was so new I didn’t have a mat, but luckily the gym supplies them. They have them rolled up in a closet to ensure the fragrance of the last eight to 10 users is sufficiently trapped. The mat was about the thickness of a bedsheet but the aroma was about the thickness of a wheel of Camembert cheese. We were in some position that required my forehead to rest on the mat and it actually kinda stuck.

My husband said yoga is relaxing and that he once fell asleep during a yoga class. He didn’t take a class with Dave. Dave means yoga business.

We planked, a lot. And stretched things that usually face down up to the sky. There’s a lot to see in a yoga class. And as my bits and pieces were up in the air and Dave walked around adjusting people, I couldn’t help but wonder if everything was looking OK back there. I’ve never seen myself from that angle. I don’t think I can replicate the position and balance a mirror, so a small part of me will remain a mystery, at least to myself.

Before I left Dave asked if I was new to yoga. He could tell “a little bit” but encouraged me to come back.

I have to admit I felt more limber even after that first class. I can almost touch my ankles.

So I went out and got a mat. It smells like a toxic plastic factory but maybe those fumes will help bring on a sense of inner peace. I’m practicing beginner yoga at home before I go back to Dave with my shiny new mat.

For anyone interested in trying some yoga at home, I’ve been learning from Adriene at Yoga with Adriene. She has videos for beginners and for people with bad knees!