Friday 1 April 2011

Adrian does yoga

I can’t remember when I didn't do yoga. My mother was really into it and so I think I was able to do a lotus position before I could even crawl. But I’ve rarely done classes – mainly because it’s so damn tough to find a really good teacher.

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.

Today it was overcast and gloomy so we were squashed (ho ho) into one of the squash courts. But, as a friend pointed out, you can be anywhere you choose in your mind. So I closed my eyes and visualised the warm soft grass under my back and the gentle sunlight on my face – and I was off. Except for the fact that someone was huffing and puffing next to me like an asthmatic train. Adrian had decided he would come along.

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.

‘You won’t need those. You do yoga with bare feet.’
‘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.’
‘I can’t get the mind stuff though.’
‘It’ll come. It’s hard when you don’t know the asanas. But, once you do, your breathing will take you into the mind stuff. Or rather the non-mind stuff.’
I thought he’d sniff and pooh-pooh it but no. Bloody hell, whatever next?

‘That bit at the end? Was that a prayer?’ he said suspiciously.
‘No, dear. Just a nice stretch for the upper arms.’
Namaste. ;) 


trisha said...

It was meant to happen, great teacher - great pupils!
Was Adrian worried when Paul mentioned straps?

Rob-bear said...

Well done, Jane! And well done, Adrian! A whole new life opening up before you. Start the day together with a sun salutation, and go from there!

Pretty soon you'll be trying all kinds of different positions. Uh, let me rephrase that. You'll be trying different asanas. And then James. . . . Different muscle use from rugby; full body tone-up.

Namaste, eh.

Exmoorjane said...

Trish: Ha!! I should have clocked that one, shouldn't I? God I ache....but will sweat it out tonight at Zumba. :)

Rob: Wayhay, Bear! It's usually me that inadvertently falls into innuendo. :) James SHOULD do it actually...I used to do yoga with him but he gets bored now. :( But guilt is a great goad, I shall be on the case.

Posie said...

Whey hay Jane fab getting Afrian to do yoga, I have always done yoga, think it was a 60s 70s thing with the mums...mine too, but it does depend on a good teacher and then there are so many different styles, I have never quite managed to find a teacher as good as the one I had in my late teens, but just love it, so addictive and energising, but I am completely hopeless unless I have a teacher to guide me.
What a charmed life you lead, all these offers of different clubs and classes.
PS The word verification for this one is ressest....

Bluestocking Mum said...

Well done both of you!

And you have pricked my conscience, Jane - I LURVE yoga but haven't done any for such a long time.

Must get back into it. Must get back into it...


Mrs. Tuna said...

My regular yoga teacher was out of town last week. Our sub worked a totally different group of muscles, I felt sore but in a good way.

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

I don't know how I would manage now without yoga. I had a go two or three times when I was in my manic corporate power phase and could never make it work (mm, wonder why that was?) Three years ago I tried again with the most fabulous teacher and was instantly totally hooked. I love the mind stuff just as much as the physical stuff. I will never be super bendy but I am bendier and I can do you a great chant! Impressed that Adrian gave it a go. I would like Ian to and he was just about getting there but now he has the excuse of staying in for his dad it might never happen!

4little1s said...

I must get back into Yoga again, tried a while back but never seemed to click. Must have been the stressy job I think. Great post and an inspiration to us all.

Jasmine Walt said...

I've tried yoga out a few times and while the stretching is good and I tend to come back to a few poses every now and then I've never really gotten into it. Martial arts is more my thing for some reason. :)