Yoga vs. Cycling: A Tale of Two Soundtracks

I had a college professor who went on a rant against exercise and our health-obsessed culture. Mind you, this was a course on Ancient Rome, but this was the topic he wished to discuss on this day.

A central point of his argument was that people in today’s society are so unhappy that they subject themselves to an hour of torture each day, simply to take their mind off all the crap they regularly have to put up with. While I don’t agree with the unhappy society bit, there is some truth to the idea of using exercise to clear your head. When you’re drenched in sweat, panting, and feeling on the verge of death, you can’t think about much else.

But while people use exercise to hide from their own thoughts, they also hide from their workout by listening to music. Each type of training has a type of music that accompanies it. Let’s look at a couple.

For instance, yoga. While some yogis swear it should be practiced in silence (the hardcore types), the typical soundtrack of a yoga class will feature slow, thought-provoking lyrics, such as:

Who can say where the road goes
Where the day flows, only time
And who can say if your love grows
As your heart chose, only time

Start out with your classic Enya, throw in some renditions of Om Namah Shivaya, and your yoga soundtrack is complete. The objective is to calm the mind, soothe the breath, enrich the spirit. The lyrics must echo these sentiments. Sure, you may not want to dance to this, but that isn’t really the point.

Contrast that with what my indoor cycling buddies are blaring during their spin classes. Here’s a bit of a new song they just can’t get enough of:

Vroom vroom yeah I know my car sound like a T-Rex
I’m 23 years old and I ain’t riding in a Prius

And…

I slam dunk in that p***y
Blake Griffin’d your ho

This comes from a rapper named Meek Mill. Obviously, the connection here is Toyota’s hybrid car: Yogis love to drive them; Mill would rather not. I don’t know what energy-efficient transportation ever did to him, but he clearly doesn’t realize their impact on keeping us from going the way of the T-Rex.

And how did Blake Griffin get brought into this conversation? Why he is the standard on relating slam dunks to the act of coitus? Look, I’m an Oklahoma boy and a Clippers fan, so Blake is my guy. But if it’s true that “it’s about the motion of the ocean,” wouldn’t Vince Carter—with his through-the-legs-360°-windwill dunk—be more suitable? Or what about Michael Jordan? He literally dunked from the free throw line. I know that length is said to be overrated, but that’s still pretty damn impressive.

And just look at that facial expression.

The music that yogis choose to play during class makes sense. It aligns with their beliefs and with what their practice stands for. I can’t say the same about those who belong to the indoor cycling cult, but apparently it just works. Perhaps if that college professor I had would’ve just Blake-Griffin’d-a-ho at some point, then he wouldn’t be so against the exercise movement. But maybe he should try going the Om route first.

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