As part of a personal development plan, I decided to try and harness some of that elusive, inner energy one hears so much about. Trying to fuse mind, body and soul seemed like a good self- help program and Yoga appeared to offer all the potentials I needed!
My friend Sally and I threw on our sports clothes and whisked ourselves down to the local sports club for an initiation class.
I have to say at this point that Sally was already an expert and that "Sun Salutations" and "Downward Dogs" held no secrets for her! She lay down on her mat and closed her eyes.
I scanned the room, casually checking out who was in there with me. All sorts of different people! (OK surprise, surprise!). Some middle aged women (welcome to the club!) A few much younger girls who gave the impression they'd got it all sussed, meditating in a full Lotus, and one man, dressed all in black, also in full meditation mode.
The instructor arrived, introduced herself as Gail and promptly asked everyone to get up and move their mats into a circle.
Once we'd all found a space again and settled down in circular fashion, we sat crossed- legged, eyes closed and concentrated on our breathing.
We were talked through this process by Gail, who added frequently between counting that we must refrain from any judgemental behaviour.
That was a bit of problem for me right from the start, mainly because the lady beside me was breathing so heavily, sort of huffing and puffing, I was finding it difficult to concentrate. I shot her a few dirty looks from time to time but nothing changed.
Needless to say Sally and I couldn't look at each other as we were both thinking the same thought, the "why is that lady making SO much noise" thought and we both had that terrible urge to laugh, which gets worse and worse the more you know you mustn't!
Soon it was time to "officially" open our eyes and stand up; With feet together at the end of the mat and stretching up towards the "stars" (the ceiling) , whilst anchoring our feet firmly in the "earth" (the lino), we became Mountains. From "The Mountain " we slipped into the "Downward Dog" and from the "Downward Dog" we stretched up, with arms extended, palms down into "The Warrior".
Trace your path forwards", said Gail. "Follow the line and forge your way ahead".
I looked at the red brick wall, desperately trying to forge through it with my warrior stance and controlled breathing.
We then moved on to three full "Sun Salutations" by which time I was starting to flag. The class finished off with some cross -legged deep breathing , "The Bee" (buzzing noises!) and "The Lion", which involves screwing up your face really tight (hoping nobody you know is watching) and exhaling loudly (hello the lady on my left again!) whilst sticking your tongue out.
The session was rounded off with a last universal "OMMMMMMMMMM" noise and a thank you "Namaste" with our hands in a prayer position.
I went back at least ten times, put my back out twice with the "Sun Salutations" then finally admitted that perhaps Yoga isn't right for everyone!
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