I realise, looking back at Friday’s blog, that I was a little unfair about the un-rhythmic person in my latin aerobics class. Today, I thought I would put the spotlight firmly back on me, and my inept foray into unknown territory: yoga.
As I see it, you are either a yoga person or a Pilates person. To an outsider, they are pretty similar. But confuse them at your peril. Like asking a Scotsman if he’s English. Or a South African if she’s Australian.
I do Pilates and my husband does yoga. I can’t imagine either of us ever shifting allegiance to the other. But I did cross the floor, briefly and for a special occasion, some months ago: a friend of ours was travelling to London from central England, for the annual yoga show. She asked us to meet her there.
We arrived at Kensington Olympia, expecting a day of peace, calm and tranquillity. I even expected the hundreds of people waiting to go into the hall to be sitting in line on the pavement, in the lotus position and gently ommmmmm’ing as the queue moved forward. Not so much – it was a bunfight of yogic proportions, as punters shoved and pushed to get into the hall of calming wares.
When we got into the hall, our senses were smacked across the jowls with an avalanche of incenses and fragrant, soothing aromas to put us in the mood for yoga. There was gentle, Eastern music playing over the tannoy (as they call it here), which would have calmed our nerves were we not jostled by a million other punters, all trying to bag a bargain before the weekend rush.
You could buy anything from a stick of incense to a massage chair, every style of yoga fashion, yoga music, yoga mat and falafels. And all around the edge of the hall were opportunities to take part in yoga classes, demonstrations of yoga moves and numerous people looking up their own assets.
We decided to try out three yoga classes. The first one was quite manageable, slow and every move carefully explained. Although the rubbery guy who took the class started off by showing us all his moves. He was SO flexible: I’m sure if you asked him to meet you for lunch, he could do any day. First of all he did a headstand, and then while still on his hands, crossed his legs and brought them down to just behind his arms, above the ground. He could probably check what he had for breakfast, but he wasn’t telling. And no-one was asking.
After that class, I felt quite self-satisfied as we moved on to the Gong meditation class. This involved a few warm-up exercises, and then we had to adopt the corpse position. This is my husband’s favourite yoga position. We lay there while the instructor played his gong. Gently. I did find it hard to switch my mind off, but it was kind of relaxing to lie prone in a London exhibition hall. With hundreds of people watching.
Then the third and final class we did was a power yoga class, called Poetry in Motion. Mercedes was the instructor, she looked like a model, had a body to die for (bitch!) and she was so supple and moved so beautifully I wanted to throw up. Actually, it was more the class that made me want to throw up – Mercedes made us move so fast, and do such intricate moves (none of which I had any prior experience of); I was more like Poetry in a Sweaty Flap. My hair flew all over the place, every time we had to go down into a low lunge and emerge with arms outstretched, I always came up facing the wrong way, and usually about three or four beats behind the rest. A game of catch up, with sweat dripping from my brow, and never knowing which direction I was supposed to be flinging my arms and looking like a goddess… yoga? Pfffffff.
We ended our day with a supper of pizza. Yes! Just what I needed after seeing all those ridiculously perfect bodies. I could barely walk the next day.
I’ll stick to Pilates and leave the yoga moves to the more lithe of body. And if I’m ever tempted to try out yoga again, I’ll adopt the corpse position. And ommmm. Until the feeling passes.
Sunshine signing off for today!