In an effort to show my children that trying new things can be fun, I let my friends rope me in to going to a yoga class. Having tried it before, and sucking at it, I knew I was not going to have the best time of my life but my friends were waiting for me after the school drop-off with yoga mats and grins on their faces. I don’t have many friends and won’t lose the three I’ve got left, so I went.
To show the teacher what sort of student I was going to be, I wore a t-shirt that said, “I’m wasting my life”.
To begin, we lay on our backs in the dark with a lavender eye bag on, under a warm fluffy blanket. I began to drift off to sleep thinking maybe I was not wasting my life after all, but then the actual lesson started and I was told to place my hands over my heart-centre. I had to lift my eye-bag to see what part everyone else was touching, because this is Brighton, and you never know.
It all went downhill from there, and I mean literally. We started doing ‘downward dog’. The green smoothie I’d necked before class (to try and get into all that jingly jangly stuff) churned like waves in my stomach. I was light-headed, and my wrists hurt. I looked at my friend Sammy, and saw her head was on the floor, like actually touching it. My head was level with her bum, which was pointing high up in the air.
I never knew Sammy was competitive till I went to yoga with her. She stretched and squeezed and showed off while the teacher held me up with ropes and offered me blocks for balance. I’m not competitive either, but if Sammy, who is a 5ft midget (love you girlfriend) didn’t need a block, then I wasn’t have a bloody block either.
What a mistake.
Who knew it was so hard just to stand up straight with your arms out? I was told to push my toes into the earth, charge energy up my legs, point the inside of my elbows together, feel my tailbone, hold in my core, dip my chin, raise my head, soften my fingers, straighten my arms and breathe.
I reminded myself of my husband when he tries to multi task; useless. I didn’t even remember which side was my left one. Suddenly even staying upright was challenging. I quickly realised either I was wasting my life, or someone had snuck vodka into my green smoothie.
Sammy stood next to me stock-still like a totem pole, smiling, as the teacher crowed over her and told everyone to admire her position, while I surreptitiously tried to knock her off her perch, the proud peacock.
By the end of the class all my muscles ached, I was ravenous, and my head throbbed. Sammy bounced about talking about ‘feeling energised’ while I climbed up the hill home, ate three oatcakes (back on the poxy diet) and lay on the rug till school pick-up feeling like I’d been in a fight.
How can my arms still ache two days later when I wasn’t even holding weights?
Why do my buttocks hurt when I walk up the stairs? All I did was bend over and stretch out.
Yoga is an unnatural form of torture, but I can’t stop going now, or Sammy will win.
She’s already better at me at most things. Her garden looks like the Eden Project while mine looks like Glastonbury the day after the festival. And she’s a swimming coach. When I go swimming the life guard watches me, looking worried that he might actually have to get wet.
When my children asked me how the class went I had to lie and tell them it was awesome! and I was so pleased I tried something new, then asked my eldest to open the fish fingers and potato waffles as my fingers were too sore. I bet Sammy went home and made a super-green salad which she ate standing on her head.
Maybe I’m just not cut out for yoga. When told to envisage a bright light in my heart centre, I started listing all the jobs I needed to do when I got home. When told to breathe deeply seven times I started to hyperventilate.
I want to be good at yoga, to annoy Sammy and because have you seen a yoga teacher’s body? I’m planning to meet and marry Cillian Murphy from 'Peaky Blinders' soon and I think having buns of steel will help. The things that teacher could do with her legs, it was mesmerising. I probably just need to accept however, that marrying Tommy Shelby is more likely than me ever being any good at yoga.