Yoga. No pictures.

A lot of my friends know that I have been practising yoga for over a year. Thanks to Ellen, I was encouraged to go. I probably agreed, after a few glasses of Sauvignon Blanc. Cheers, Ellen, it’s officially been the best thing you have persuaded me to do in all our years of being friends.

So, I was ‘gently’ persuaded.

I went along, not knowing what I was going to do. I was hearing all sorts of stuff from El and Cheryl. The best bit that I was looking forward to, by all accounts, sounded like the wee snooze at the end of the practice. I’m in.

I did get the ‘fart’ warning at this point. I realise now that having a poo before you go, helps the flatulence stakes. So far, I’ve not dropped one in practice…. Too much information? Suck it up.

The main thing I realised is, you yawn a lot. I mean, a LOT! Eye-watering-yawning. Just saying.

I remember the first session. “You’ll have a great night’s sleep.” She said. “You might feel a bit sore.” She said.

How hard can it be?

I was to find out.

Now, just to let you, my reader, know. I used to play hockey for Scotland. Yes, this lardy-arse has 21 caps for our lovely country. I even scored a few goals against France, and had to have it explained, when someone said, “Cracking hat-trick.” I used to be quite fit.

I was really surprised after the first session that some of the warm-up work that I did all those years ago, was yoga.

There were quite a few moments of, “Gosh (insert expletive) I did this years ago. At least then, it didn’t hurt.”

The majority of moves, however, I watched, and my inner voice said, “You have to be fucking joking.” I always gave it a try. Sometimes, unceremoniously, I ended up in a heap on the floor. Other times, I took solace in the wonderful Penny’s words: “It’s not a competition, do what you can, listen to your body.”

Screaming.

“LET ME OUT OF HERE. WHEN’S THE SNOOZE?!?!”

It’s been the best thing. Penny, who lives in Kinlochleven and can be found on Facebook (click here), travels down once a week to take yoga practice for a group of ladies and a gent. Mind you, I think once there were two gents. One fell asleep (at the right time) and hasn’t been back since.Perhaps he thinks it’s best to just stay at home and do the moves on the sofa. Who can blame him. However…. me?

I’ve stuck in, and I am so glad. Now, when Penny shows us a new move (I’m sure there’s a yoga-tech word for this, I just don’t know it yet), I am comforted by her words, “In a few weeks time, you will wonder why you were worrying…” or words to that effect. My inner voice takes over. My thought bubble, El can read just by my facial expressions. When Penny stands in front of the group, showing what the ‘end pose’ looks like, I question why I have signed up for the class and then, class by class, I realise.

She’s right. As usual. How boringly correct. Penny just injects so much confidence in a person’s ability no matter what size, shape or mind-set they have. I may not look graceful, I can do it. My version of ‘it’. Whatever pose it is, I’ll give it a go, to the best of my ability and at the same time, not forgetting to laugh at myself.

Still not farted.

What else is ‘boringly correct’, was El telling me that I’d love it.

Yeah. Sure.

I do.

So, a year down the line, where am I?

Yeah, I know I need to lose a substantial amount of weight. And, you know what, I’m delighted that I’m no heavier than I started. Give me a month of no Sauvignon Blanc, I could probably lose a half stone. Consider that. How cheerful would I be?

Even with a belly, I can successfully perform some mediocre yoga that I am quite proud of. When my lower back’s aching, I can do a forward fold, touch my toes and feel so much better. Down dog’s a scoosh, although on Monday, it’s the first time I’ve bailed and resorted to the equally effective table top option. That’s probably because I realised that I was completely and utterly knackered.

What’s been extra refreshing in the last few sessions, is the ever patient Penny. She has listened to a list of (quite amusing) gripes by the business owners at the practice. We offload. I can say, categorically, it’s a relief and at the same time a total laugh that there are others in the room that have to deal with total idiots on a day to day basis. I totally get our sharing, gives Penny a true indication of how we are, and what ‘space’ we are in. It doesn’t stop her getting on with it. The more stories being off-loaded, the more intensive the session. Clever Penny.

Clever us. We pressed the pause button on our gripes. We didn’t have anything to discuss this week… or did we?

We just stopped. Momentarily.

So, for each block of practice, we so look forward to learning the ‘new moves’ we are going to be introduced to in the next sessions…. don’t we?

Then Penny introduces the challenges for the next block. I have to say, I actually welcomed the change. Until I realised that the bit I was struggling with was still included. Bugger.

This week, Monday, it was time for Penny to throw in, randomly, her moves / positions / torture sessions / ‘WTF’ moments to our group.

Now, El, the ultra running fanatic, is currently on garden leave from any exercise. This includes the emergency jog to the loo. The sprint to the freezer for the ice cream. Any yoga. Treadmill; not allowed. Long distance driving, no. Now, you have to understand that El running 40+ miles isn’t a surprise, and neither is driving 5 hours to see her parents slightly unusual. Being told she can’t do any of the above AND not be allowed to do yoga must be killing El. We miss you, El. We love you and you are amazing. However.

Where were you, when I could say to you, “Oh, fuck, this is going to hurt. A lot.”

The moves were quite innocent, it seemed.

“Pilates 100.” she said.

“Aye, right.” I thought.

The little guy on my left shoulder asked, “WTF is THAT?!”

My moments translation was,”It must be good for you, it’s pilates. Every fit, slim, glowing, athletic person, whether on TV, on-line, in person super-uber-extra-fanatical person that can run the length of their body KNOWS what Pilates is and what it does.

Gayle does. She’s a gorgeous, racing snake. When I saw the recent female cycling accomplishment on the TV, my immediate thought was, “Gayle and Louise could do that, with a couple of panniers each and a spare pair of pants.” I am in awe of Gayle, Louise and El of their achievements.

So, in Portugal earlier this year, we (Gayle, El and I) did some yoga on holiday. Yeah.I have to confess, diving into the freezing cold, closed, swimming pool was more tempting.  As expected, Gayle aced it. Meanwhile, I was chuffed that I could do ‘dancer pose’ with the help of a strap. Other moves, directed by El, Gayle mentioned that she did a similar thing in Pilates. So, Gayle surely knows Pilates 100. Penny also has us doing some chi gung.Or is it, qi gong? Like that. I actually used it, for me, at work. It’s oddly interesting.

I digress. Penny had us doing Pilates 100.

When Penny gave us a demo, my first thoughts were, “Oh, jeez, this might take a few weeks.”

In the meantime, at work, I have been helping in the restaurant. I’ve been on my feet for the last 5 weeks, which, my lovely chiropractor, Gina, will undoubtedly agree with. She spotted that right away. I have to go back next week. You know it’s bad when you are told that a month’s too long. Come back in two weeks. For 3.5 days I felt superb.

The great thing about being on the shop floor, I’ve been doing daily yoga. This morning, I did a ‘sun salute’ with Helga. I so enjoyed that.

When my back’s aching, after selling 267 million bowls of cullen skink, there’s nothing better than ‘rag doll’. Counter ‘cat cow’ is a daily occurrence. Now, getting soup bowls from under the counter is a joy, who’d have thunk? I get to do a forward fold AND get paid for it. Well, sort of.

I realise now, how much I do yoga. Cheers, El and Penny.

Then, Penny introduced Pilates 100. Did you forget about that, amidst my rambling?

Monday. I did it. I did a great job (in my opinion).

El wasn’t there. Had El been there, we probably would have had a conversation I imagine would go something like this:

“I enjoyed that. Sort of.”

“I’m surprised I was able to do the pilates. We didn’t do ‘Dolphin pose’, I’ve been enjoying that one.”

Ellen agrees. Ellen, had she been there, would have given me advice on what may occur in the next couple of days. Where were you Ellen? You could have sat on a seat, drunk tea and eaten a scone. You would have been there. To tell me what I should expect.

I would have coped with the lush smell of your scone, jam, (in my dream, cream is there too) and the smell of your mug of tea, as you watched us strut our stuff. Have the occasional topple over, giggle and not a fart in smell (well, it can’t be ‘sight’, can it?). I needed you there….

Tuesday.

It’s all fine. I did have a wee squirm in the morning. Nothing major. Just having a wee check. All is ‘sort of’ OK.

Tuesday: Lunch time.

It’s busy. I throw in the occasional counter cat cow. My legs are twitching slightly.Forward folds take the shape of me streeeeeeetchhhhing down to fetch the soup bowls from the shelf below. It’s bliss. It’s yoga. After over a year of yoga, bending my knees is now fine. What’s better, is doing a forward fold at work. How refreshing.

Tuesday afternoon.

At 1:50pm, I was reminded that I had a meeting in 10 minutes. I threw a sinful pastry sausage roll.. identifying the difference between that and a roll and sausage. The two hours on the counter had passed in a flash. 2:05pm – sat at meeting.Armed with a decaf coffee. Should have had full strength.

I was trying to concentrate. The first hour was fine. Just fine.

The second hour of the meeting, things were starting to twitch. I didn’t know whether to stand up, sit down, go side-ways, bend back…… WTF is going on?

The only respite was sitting in my seat, and putting my feet up on the table. I realise now that I didn’t ACTUALLY explain to anyone in the room, why on earth I had my feet up on the table…. on the other hand, no-one questioned it. Is that because I am the boss, or, did I actually verbalise that I was having a body seizure after last night’s yoga? Please help, Helga. Did I explain? I can’t remember!!!!

Did everyone just accept that I was doing something that I have NEVER, EVER done and just get on with the meeting. Yes!

My whole body was saying:

“There’s something going on here.”

“That’s weird.”

“Oh.”

“Oh, crap. What’s happening.”

“Stand up. Now.” [has an aimless wander around the training room and bags a bottle of water. My mouth is like Ghandi’s Flip Flop]

“OK. That’s good. Maybe.”

“That’s not working.”

HOLY CRAP. WHAT’S HAPPENING TO ME?

That’s when putting my feet up, was the only thing left to do. It was superb. I realise now, that I didn’t care what the expressions were on the faces of my fellow business partner and our top managers. It was, for me the right thing to do.

My back, feet, knees, hips, wrists, neck, shoulders, ribs, the whole lot is aching. I want to cry. Everything is twitching.

Wednesday.

Forward folds are a distant memory.

A sun salute at 9:30 was brilliant.

Cat cow, involved a squeal and an ouch-ya-fucker.

I have twitching bits, that haven’t twitched, ever. Sauvignon Blanc is helping, slightly.

So, I reckon that a wee sun salute, a bit of cat cow, some rag dolls, forward folds and remembering to ….. breathe…… is the way forward. Also, the relaxation at the end is the best. What’s boiling around your heed when you start the practice is gone by the time you’re giving yourselves bear slaps (my description), taking off a below-knee-length jumper or taking the pose ‘learning to dive off the side of the pool’, it’s all great. Cheers Penny. Although, now, 48 (forty eight) hours later, I’m still hurting. You can go off some people.

 

 

 

 

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