On the mat: What up, thug?

Benjamin Welch
The Aspen Times
This is not what Benjamin Welch looks like per se, but it’s how his soul feels.
Getty Images/iStockphoto | iStockphoto

Sometime during my teenage suburban gangsta phase I started wearing Southpole and talking like Dr. Dre, saying things like “Hayell yayuh,” “Sheeeit mang” and “What it do, playa?”

I only grew out of the Southpole part of that period, and so thusly I was, erm, “invited” to join a Wednesday night thug yoga class where YOU CAN DRINK BEER! and help other people get free passes for a year.

“Is this the ‘Doing It For A Girl’ class?” I yelled while standing in the stank of a million-degree sign-up line. Another guy turned around with a weathered look and gave me an affirmative nod. He was dressed in pajamas and a ballcap, a sharp contrast from my cowprint leggings leftover from Halloween and pink button-up shirt. I take business casual to the polar extremes.

A 30-rack of PBR sat in the middle of the studio. I was expecting Colt 45, but I still took two because I have (a) problem(s).

So to the pimped-out sounds of ’90s rap legends such as Warren G, Cypress Hill and Tupac, for the next hour we did poses called things like Snoop Down Doggy (get it? HA!) and stuck our butts in the air.

A person’s butt was in my face. My butt was in some rando’s face, and I couldn’t help but laugh because by this point my women’s leggings were definitely drifting down the ol’ waistline. The instructor wandered over to me and pinched my tailbone dimples together while exhaling. How does this help people relax and settle down? When my mind goes blank the voices just scream louder.

I thought I would be — nay, tried to be — the dufus in the room, but to my surprise I was not. People were sprawled out and moaning on the floor. Dudes who appeared to be in way better shape than me couldn’t plank for longer than a few seconds. Chicks competed with quivering arms to see who could hold their butt in the air the longest. Someone was speaking in tongues.

I finally knew what happened to all the kids in grade school who weren’t very good at sports but still had to do something to remain active: They grew up and became yogis.

Granted, this clearly was a beginner’s class — an entry point to introduce the homies to the lifestyle and shake some of the rust off your steel-limbed flexibility abilities. Ya feel me? Word.

But yo dawg, I didn’t choose the thug life; the thug life chose me.