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I am a gym-class-hater.  In my 20s I tried many organized gym classes – aerobics, aerobic dance, step aerobics.  I got to a point where I had to walk away.  For good.

Then comes yoga, which I originally scorned with equal pleasure as I did spinning and zumba.  “Ah, those sheep, clamoring towards the latest thing!  Why can’t they get their exercise the old fashioned way, through an active lifestyle!”  I dripped and oozed with superiority.  I do that well.  I often need to eat my words.

One day while my kids warmed up for a golf tournament, an older man finished smacking his bucket of balls and sat down next to me.  Over the next 20 minutes we chatted, first about the local Junior Golf program, then about the amazing flexibility of youth.  The man told me he was 82 years old, and happily able to play golf at his age because of… yes… yoga!  He waxed poetic about its benefits, allowing him a full golf swing, as well as confidence at his age in his equilibrium and balance in general.

And then, the kicker:  have you seen yoga clothes?  They are usually very tight fitting, but they are oh, so fashionable!

Pick this lovely number up at athleta.com, the Empire Cami, Asphalt Orissa!

The catalog that sends me into daydreams of breathing, chanting and holding some convoluted stretching pose: Athleta.  Oooh la la those clothes are fine!

Will they drive me to return to organized exercise, however?

I think not.  Instead, I will buy my yoga clothes, and wear them at home in place of my jorts.  Fashion advice:  tight fitting yoga clothes on anything less than a surgically-manicured body really should be for private viewing only.

About Claire Ziamandanis

Claire Ziamandanis is Professor of Spanish at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. Over her 20 years at the college, she has been a champion for study abroad, establishing the first affiliation for Spanish students, and then working with the Study Abroad office to open the doors to students from other majors. Claire loves travel, food, wine and Spanish but not necessarily in that order!


  1. I’ve gone back and forth on yoga–didn’t really enjoy it too much when I first did it, but loved my prenatal yoga class. Give it a shot! But I liked spinning a lot too, though terrible at Zumba!

  2. I won’t bore you with a long whine (not wine!) on my personal loathing of exercise, but I have a rule, I’ll occasionally exercise as long as I don’t have to sweat. I have tried to exercise now and again but on the days I was to, say, run a couple of miles or swim a bunch of laps, I would wake in the morning filled with nothing but anxiety and dread. Exercising was not only ruining my life, but the negative health effects of dread were surely overtaking any positive effects of lumbering about the neighborhood.

    I can’t comment on what you look like in svelt yoga wear, but I will not be caught dead in gym shorts, sweat pants, or those polyester pants with the stripe down the side business, never mind those over designed sneaker things that have been popular for the last 25 years. Besides, a little wining (not whining!) will do more for my longevity than any amount of sweating. A glass of Fattoria de Faltognano Chianti with a few olives and a small wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano, after all, is to die for!

    • Claire Ziamandanis

      Scott, I am happy to join you in the exercises you propose, namely with food and wine attached. I too had many moments of dread over exercising that I hated (running especially). A long walk is now my preferred option, in the woods with the dog. Now THAT is living!

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