Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Yoga with Ace: Was this guy Fred Astaire, Frank Underwood, or Chuck Yeager?
An elderly gentleman, not much taller than I am, with white hair and wearing a sharp looking polo shirt and nylon sweats came over and introduced himself. He said his name was Lloyd and he asked if we were there for the yoga class.
“Indeed we were,” I said.
“Well good,” he responded. He was the teacher.
The spinning class soon wrapped up and Lloyd led us into the studio, taking his spot in front of the mirrors.
I’ve been doing yoga for about sixteen years and have never sat before a teacher who looked like an old Fred Astaire and sounded like Kevin Spacey in "House of Cards".
Lloyd had his regulars, whom he greeted with sincere pleasantries. The yoga class, and the health club of which it was a part, served not only our vacation suite, but the residents of the community. Most of the folks were retirees but, as I learned, these folks were fit.
Lloyd led us through deceptively challenging movements, his version of “Hatha” he explained. He never put his foot over his shoulder or stood on his head, but he was the real deal.
As the class neared an end, he sat cross-legged and read from a book.
“Circumstances, “ he read, “are largely determined by the discipline we employ, the friends we keep and the rules we choose to follow.” Namaste.
Then he invited my mother and me to attend the seven AM cardio dance class he taught the following morning.
I was game. So the next day I once again woke up early and headed to Lloyd’s class at the gym. I noticed a different group of regulars this time, but loyal students all the same. Lloyd put in a CD of upbeat music, a generic remix of tunes from the 90’s that kept our heart rates up. He led us through the grapevine, some basketball shuffles, jumping jacks, and more dance moves. We never shook our hips, but this older southern man in the well- pressed clothing could move.
The second part of class was floor work with weights. I hate weights. But I did what Lloyd asked. How could I not?
It was time to say good-bye, finally, and I explained that we’d be heading back home soon to New Jersey.
“Y’all come back and see us,” he said.
I left the studio and headed straight to the water cooler.
“Excuse me,” I said to one woman who’d been in class with me, “but I was just wondering if you knew anything about Lloyd. He seems so versatile.”
He was also charming, broke every stereotype I didn’t realize I carried, and was an example of how to age.
“Well,” the woman said, “I don’t know much. But he’s retired Air Force.”
Turns out Lloyd used to be a fighter pilot.