(Artwork provided by, and copyrighted to Patrick Barrett www.patrickbarrettart.com Instagram: patrick_barrett_art. No reproduction without written permission from the artist.)
One of my best friends recently discovered the joys of yoga. “I feel all floppy,” she said. “I feel as though I want to hug everyone.” Thankfully she didn’t. I don’t cope well with hugging at the best of times, and less so when they are being dished out by the newest member of the Happy Clappy Brigade. But it took me back to the time I attempted to ‘find myself’ through the power of Yoga.
I was twenty-six. Working, travelling, socialising. Life was fabulous. Sleep got sacrificed. Eight hours a night reduced to seven, six, then five. It took its toll. It was with grey skin and baggy eyes that I fell through the door of the class, dragging my house-mate behind me. Clutching our newly purchased mats under our arms, and wearing our newly purchased co-ordinated outfits, we confidently strode in. We were delighted when were greeted by what could only be described as Gaia, in human form. She had long flowing hair, skin like a baby, eyes that twinkled with an all knowing wisdom, henna tattoos across her feet and jingly jewellery around her ankle. Her voice was hypnotic. Melodic. We felt as though we’d been blessed by the time she pointed us to a spot in the center before gliding away to meet others.
We flipped out the blue rolls like pro’s, lay down and gazed skyward. We listened to the dulcet tones of our leader as she began a guided relaxation to ease us all into the right state of mind.
And it worked.
I was utterly at one with the universe when I came to and opened my eyes, and had a casual stretch. I was oblivious to all as I wandered back over the lovely dream I’d just had. I had another stretch. I glanced over and sniggered at my snoring housemate. I stretched again, this time, with my eyes focusing, and rolled over … and this was when I:
- Remembered where the hell I was
- Noticed that the rest of the class was in, what was obviously the middle of a sequence and
- Looked at my watch and discovered thirty minutes had vanished.
I whispered to H out the corner of my mouth in the hope that no one would hear me. No one did hear me, including H. I whispered louder (shouted!). Spluttering, she rejoined me in the land of the living. With overly exaggerated nonchalance, we climbed to our feet, wiped the bogies from our eyes and dribble off our chins and proceeded to swing into The Mountain Position. Breathing in this new air of wonder. Firm in our heady belief that life would never be the same again; that our stresses would be a thing of the past. Yoga was to be our new path and our bodies, our temples. There was joy in my heart as I swooped over into The Triangle. So engulfed in my new angelic hedonism, I was unsure if the fart I’d heard, let out by Head-Band-Man (in front of me who was also triangling inches from my face), was actually a fart. I looked around. As had happened with me and H earlier, no-one reacted.
I returned to my zen zone.
Commanded by Gaia as she swished her tie-dye skirt at the front of the room, we all got into The Downward Dog. This time, there was no mistaking what some in that collective may have referred to as a ‘spiritual release’ as he directed his bottom towards the stars. And from then on, with each and every move, the same thing happened.
No one had warned us that that could be a side effect of this great exercise as it works the inside of the body as well as the out.
I swear to god I still have the scars on the inside of my mouth. I almost bit through in a bid to control my laughter and I was doing well(ish) until I swivelled towards H and found her, bent double, upside down, with silent tears of laughter dripping off her cheeks onto the floor, unable to lift herself up into the next position for fear of what would happen.
We made a mutual decision right there and then; that Yoga wasn’t for us and made an apologetic exit. Apparently, they could still hear us laughing from beyond the car park.
Needless to say, we weren’t asked back. And we didn’t ask if we could. The blue mats stayed in the cupboard until we had the next party and ran out of seating in the garden. So not a complete waste.
I recently decided to have another crack at the whip. It was a twenty-minute session that mostly consisted of The Warrior … which is ‘standing’. Essentially.
I was knackered.
Sometimes you just have to know when to quit.