I am on the floor. I'm doing my best to shove my left shoulder under my left knee.
I'm propped up on my two hands and the toes from my right foot, which is about 42 miles away from me, in a runner's lunge.
I am told to simply balance my weight on my left arm and levitate my legs off the ground, like a giant pair of human scissors. No one has ever died doing this, claims our yoga instructor, Bob.
A couple of the girls closest to me - college students and perhaps gymnast bulimics by the look of them - are doing it. Easy, easy, easy. I imagine they are snickering at me, the chubby girl sweating in the corner in her T-shirt and running pants.
Almost every time I work out with Bob, I want to cry. Actually, I think Bob wants me to cry, too. I think he gets a sick pleasure out of it when people who are not good at yoga take his class.
I want to cry, not because I'm sad or even because I'm frustrated that I can't put my shoulder under my knee and balance my weight on my left arm. It's sheer exhaustion. Every muscle in my body is burning and shaking and Bob is relentlessly demanding more.
Child's pose is always an option, Bob reminds us (Me. He is talking strictly to me). I try to avoid child's pose because, in it, I am curled, childlike, on the floor, with my forehead pressed to my mat, and to me, it's like I'm saying, All right Bob, you prick, you win.
In truth, Bob is not a prick. He's just a hardcore yoga instructor who will kick the living shit out of you if you come to his class. He actually seems quite friendly and he has a good sense of humor. But he knows how to bring the hurt.