It’s fair to say that I have never been a big fan of exercise, however I was more than willing to give yoga a go, mainly because well having seen yoga done and having tried a little bit I wasn’t 100% convinced it actually constituted exercise!
Google describes Yoga as group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. No jumping up and down, getting puffed out, yes this will suit me fine.
On Tuesday morning I trundled off to just outside the marina, with about a dozen other willing participants and my new trusty yoga mat (a rather delicious purple colour, purchased from the Chinese supermarket – you can imagine the quality!).
The session started with a relaxation exercise, herein lies the first problem, I have never been relaxed in my whole life, my body and mind do not want to relax. It’s all very well sitting cross legged, hands on your knees palms up, and closing your eyes – ignore the background noise she says, let your mind empty, feel the stresses and strains leaving your body. Er excuse me, how pray tell am I supposed to block out the noise of seagulls screeching, the boat yard and cranes in the background, and the sound of water which, well to be blunt just makes you want to pee. Plus there’s the fact that my backside, which is basically just bone, is sitting on a slatted wooden decking only protected by a 9 euro yoga mat. My expectations at this point are somewhat low, but regardless I will persevere because if nothing else this ‘on my own thing’ gives Craig and I some space and gets me off the boat for a bit.
By the way, when I say she, I mean Ailene, our French yoga teacher in training,
By the end of the first session I am pleasantly surprised, I feel stretched, I don’t ache, I’m energised, pretty chilled, and when I get back to the boat I’m jumping around like a Duracell bunny to demonstrate by revived energy. It seems however it wasn’t a Duracell after all, but a more inferior brand and after all that jumping around I need a sit down and a cup of tea!
Friday – session 2 – I’m quite looking forward to yoga as I now know what to expect. Me and my mat trundle off, there’s a bigger group today which is nice and more chaps, let’s begin, its that cross your legs relaxation thingy – better today, managing to at least block out the sound of the seagulls, so that’s a step in the right direction.
This session we’re concentrating on lower back and shoulders. She eases us in gently and I’m confident and enjoying it – then as we start the shoulder exercises, omg. Who thought it would be enjoyable to put an arm down your back, the other arm up your back and try and touch fingers! This is absolute torture, my shoulders don’t have that sort of flexibility, there is noooo way my fingers are ever going to touch, and there’s this bloody woman in front of me who’s basically got one hand wrapped around the wrist of the other!
When it comes to trying to unwrap my arms from their very unnatural position, oh my goodness, it hurts – since when is yoga meant to hurt.
Lets try this new one, bend your elbows behind your back and try and bring your palms together like your praying – palms together, my fingertips barely touch!, but old woman in front with the elastic arms she’s got her arms to far up her back, her palms are between her shoulder blades. Note to self – next week don’t stand near elastic woman, she’s not good for your confidence.
After this session, it’s fair to say that parts of me which clearly have never been used in the last 49 years made their presence felt, but I’m going to keep at it, if nothing else by the time these yoga sessions end I may at least be capable of mastering the life changing skill of making my hands touch behind my back.
Yoga – friend or foe? Let’s just say the jury’s still out!