Friday, 1 April 2011
Adrian does yoga
I’ve usually given up after one or two attempts. One teacher was so off with the fairies that she had to ask the class which asana we were in, halfway through. Another (Iyengar-style) pushed me so over-enthusiastically that I ended up with a frozen shoulder.
No such worries with Paul Cartwright. When my pal Trish asked if I wanted to join a group of runners for a private yoga class, I jumped at the chance. Paul is a simply fabulous teacher – he’s studied a whole range of types of yoga and incorporates elements from several styles into his classes. But the teaching is very pure – no fancy gimmicks. I’d never been able to get to his standard classes so this was fate giving me a helpful nudge again.
Last week we were blessed with a perfect sunny day. We met up on the cricket ground and laid out our mats on the grass; saluted the sun which shone on our upturned faces. It was pure total heaven.
Now Adrian has never done yoga. He runs and cycles and is very fit in a typically blokeish way but he sure as hell ain’t stretchy. He refuses to breathe through his nose and has zero tolerance for anything remotely holistic or spiritual (‘I’m an atheist; I don’t hold with weird stuff’). Sooo....
‘What do I wear?’ he asked. Crikey, I thought only women asked that question. I suggested tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt – he pitched up in shorts and several sweatshirts. And trainers.
‘What?’ He looked horrified. ‘I can’t do it then.’
WTF? Transpired he was worried about the state of his toenails (or lack thereof).
‘Don’t be a numpty. Nobody will look at your toenails. You keep your eyes closed most of the time anyway.’
A look of total unabridged terror passed over his face.
I confess that, halfway through I was getting a tad worried. I can go into pretty deep meditation doing yoga but his gasps and sighs and crashes were so loud I had to open the odd eye to make sure he hadn’t died mid-stretch.
‘Are you alright?’ I hissed, as we paused in Crocodile. He just shook his head, wild-eyed, limbs shaking.
I honestly thought he’d get up and walk out but no. Aftewards as we pulled on our shoes outside, I turned to him. ‘You hated it, didn’t you? You won’t be coming back.’
But he shook his head. ‘Nah. It was really tough but really good. I think I need it.’
Well, stone the crows. And, as he cooked lunch (for him); breakfast (for me) he was high as a kite. ‘This energy thing? Is that normal with yoga?’
I nodded, smiling. ‘Sure is.’
‘That bit at the end? Was that a prayer?’ he said suspiciously.
‘No, dear. Just a nice stretch for the upper arms.’