Sunday, 29 March 2015


A couple of weeks ago, I decided – after much talking but no action – to take up yoga.  Properly.  So I rang my local gym.  They said they’d welcome me with open arms if I bought a membership which worked out to ninety quid a month plus nine pounds for each yoga class.  I thanked the kind person profusely…and turned to YouTube.
          A quick search turned up a nice young American lady telling me I could do yoga in my front room for free.  Eagerly, I prepared for my first ‘class’.
          ‘Cross your legs like so,’ she instructed.
          The last time I adopted this position was at primary school.  Forty plus years later, my legs were having none of it.  I looked at the nice American lady on my iPad.  She had assumed a perfect crossed-leg position with her knees almost grazing the floor.  My own legs were crossed, but my knees were pointing towards the ceiling.  Gently, I pushed them to the floor.  Down.  Down a bit more.  Nearly there.  Muscles twanged alarmingly, but nothing ripped.
          ‘And now, arms to the front, wrists together, entwine fingers and embrace the breath.’
          Copying, I brought my wrists together.  Immediately my knees sprang upwards.  Ignoring them I stretched forward, mimicking the instructor, and raised my arms up.  From my spine came the sound of several vertebrae popping.  Since when had sitting cross-legged and stretching become such hard work?
          For twenty-five minutes I did my best to emulate my on-line bendy instructor as she moved fluidly into position after position, stretch after stretch.
          ‘Don’t worry if you feel a little shaky,’ she assured afterwards, ‘it’s just prana energy moving.’
          Really?  I folded away my iPad and stood up.  My whole body was shaking like an aspen in a hurricane.
          The following day I awoke to find my legs had surely been filled with concrete by some invisible force during the night.  Every muscle ached.  It was a whole week before I could bring myself to do Day Two.  Do you ever get the feeling that sometimes you should have started something twenty years earlier?  However, having been inspired by one of Facebook’s viral videos where a ninety-year-old lady not only did yoga herself but spent her days in a studio as an instructor with her legs hooked over her shoulders, I shall persevere.  Which reminds me.
          Why did the yogi refuse anaesthesia when having his wisdom teeth removed?  Because he wanted transcend-dental-medication…

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