A series of reflections from a complete yoga novice
Read Part 1 here
I did this session a few times more, and then something fortuitous happened. At work the old print-room had been converted into a Wellbeing Room. Where a couple of staff had once sweated over photocopying machines and binders, newer and significantly younger employees now sweated during lunchtime breaks throughout various wellbeing activities. By chance, a yoga taster session was taking place and I decided to sign-up.
The instructor, Colin, wasn’t quite as softly spoken as Adriene, and he also had some more challenging moves in his repertoire. Running a boot camp as well as palates classes I found that his yoga classes involved more muscular strength and good balancing skills. I quickly realized that I had neither of these things – particularly in my upper body – and was prone to toppling over when requested to raise a leg or even a knee. I’d thought that with all of my cycling my balance would be near-perfect (although those who have cycled alongside me may think otherwise), but this was far from the case.
Colin calmly mentioned that there were lots of videos on YouTube where I could practice the moves. I decided to keep my powder dry and not mention my new YouTube viewing at this stage. I went back to my carpet earth before my TV, lifted up my heart above my pelvis, and tried ever so hard to stay grounded. “You can do this”, intoned Adriene, “I have your back” (and you know I could almost feel her gentle yet firm hand in the small of my back). And my favourite, “That was awesome – good work”.
And so, I came back to work and signed up for Colin’s course and blocked out an hour each Thursday lunchtime in my calendar. I was going to “Get Yoga Done”. In the evenings and at weekends I found myself gravitating towards Adriene’s videos of which there appeared to be thousands. More yoga than I could ever imagine doing in my whole life – or at least what remained of it.
And then an even more amazing thing happened! Adriene announced that she was doing a 30-day workout starting 1st January. Was I in? You bet.
Since realising that breathing was a fairly fundamental aspect of yoga – Adriene (although not Colin) would actually spend maybe five minutes at the start of some of her videos just lying on the floor and breathing – “Breathe in, all the way in, in through your nose”. My nose? Are you serious? “And all the way out – big lion’s breath – rooaar!” I coughed as my lungs trembled beneath my ribs at the unexpected urgency of respiration. This can’t be right, surely?
I went to the doctor and persuaded her to give me the stronger purple inhaler back again and some of those nose-drops that could even clear a blocked drain. I practiced breathing through my nose – often with just one nostril open for business. It was really hard to remember to breath through my reluctant nostril and it didn’t feel right, but I persevered. Did I mention I also trimmed out the fulsome and greying hairs?
By the end of 2019 I was able to make a rather snotty whistling inhalation of air and also lie on the carpet. I felt that I was starting to master this yoga malarkey and felt, by the slight ache in my chest, that I may also have grown a new muscle (but I couldn’t be totally sure).
Find out more about Yoga with Adriene