There are certain things I wish I liked or was good at. I have written about it enough before. I still wish I liked green tea despite the fact that I firmly believe no one really likes the taste of it. I also wish I was good at yoga. I want to be the kind of person who jogs to Starbucks for a venti green tea before running to a cliff top and doing an hour of yoga while my insta-boyfriend records all of it for social media.
I don’t jog anywhere unless there’s a pub or 50% sale at the end of it. For so long I have sort of scoffed about yoga whilst being secretly, painfully envious of all the yoga bods out there. I didn’t really understand how it was exercise when you don’t run around and most of the time you have your eyes closed.
Yet about a month ago, as I finished university (sob), am painfully unemployed and tubbier than ever I decided to join the gym. I am not a natural gym goer- I am not a fan of being sweaty or in close proximity to others who are sweaty.
Like all gym novices I got really over ambitious and within the first week of me handing over £30 of my hard earned cash (dwindling remanence of my student loan) I had booked one PT session and three classes, one of which was yoga.
The only experience I had had of yoga prior to my first session was a six week course I took with one of my best friends in our first year of university. We would position our mats just far enough away from one another that there was no chance we would catch each other’s eye and piss ourselves laughing. It never worked and I spent most of the classes not breathing in fear that I would cackle or pass wind, because apparently that is a very real fear when you’re twisting your body in such ways it’s not used to. We’d leave more hyperactive than we entered and it was the most fun I had without an alcoholic drink in my hand.
So as I lay a mat down (note to self: bring my own next time, eww) I didn’t really know what to expect. Then in walks what I can only describe as a ray of sunshine. Blonde, tanned and sort of bouncy, the instructor embodied all of my yoga dreams. When I dream of being good at yoga I am essentially dying to be her.
The class started and Lyndsey said, “It will be an easy one today”. I smiled, of course it was going to be easy. Then I endured what can only be described as the most painful hour of my life. I have taken rugby tackles on snowy November evenings, I have given up alcohol for a month, I’ve even seen Nine Lives (Kevin Spacey gets turned into a cat and I can’t decide if it’s awful or everything that is right with the world) and nothing has made my body ache that much. All the while Lyndsey bent and contorted her body with such ease. I made a conscious effort to avoid my own reflection and anyone else’s gaze as I skipped out on certain moves hoping she wouldn’t notice and trying not to pass out.
How had I been so wrong for so long. My arms, thighs and abs were visibly shaking as I tried to remember to breath. By the end of the class, as almost everyone else was stretching it out (I found a fellow yoga newbie at the back) I lay in a heap vowing never to enter a yoga studio again.
Much to my surprise, it wasn’t over. Lyndsey, then, turned all of the lights off and told us to lie down with our eyes closed. She changed the track to the type of music you that imagine gets played in really classy spas (all ummmmm’s and zen) and started to tell us to relax. She repeated positive affirmations over and over, telling us we should feel comfortable, happy and proud of ourselves for being there.
Usually this is not my thing at all! Yet as she spoke I sort of felt all of the stress I was carrying in my shoulders melt away. For the first time in as long as I can remember I wasn’t thinking about uni work, job hunting, social media, this blog or anything at all really. I just let myself be. I was rooted to the spot, I wasn’t aching anymore and my mind was quiet.
As she told us to rise, thanked us and I put my shoes back on, I felt lighter (both figuratively and literally- if I don’t have Chrissy Teigans’ body tomorrow I’ll be fuming). I would like to say that as the weeks have gone on my technique has improved but that would be a bare face lie. I also do not look like Chrissy or a Kardashian but I am a lot more chilled out.
I don’t want to say it, but I think I get this yoga thing. Now all I need is a taste for green tea and that Instagram boyfriend.