Updated: Jan 15, 2019
Yoga. I'm informed that yoga is about harmonising the body with the mind and breath. Righto. Given my body, mind and breath ordinarily exist in mid-life crisis mode, this was to be a serious challenge.
I woke early enough, somewhat grouchy; gasping for breath with skin that was firmly harmonised to the bedsheets. Hot flushes, as they are popularly called, can strike any time day or night. 6:05 in the morning is neither day nor night in my book.
First I had to get up, bathe off last night's sweat and get there. That meant getting dressed. Not normal 'getting dressed', i.e. throw-on-yesterday's-jeans-and-recover-a-jumper-from-the-clotheshorse but an adventure to the back of the wardrobe where I believed I might discover a pair of tracksuit bottoms. And indeed I did: covered in a fine layer of cat hair.
One Quadbike ride later, my tracksuit bottoms were suitably cleansed of fluff and I was ready to perspire for the second time of the day. Yoga, thankfully, I discovered is not a sweat-inducing affair - perfect for maintaining one's hydration levels I feel.
And so to class. It was led by Claire of CGYoga at Long Compton Village Hall. Claire is a specialist in Hatha, Vinyasa and Yin Yoga, having studied as widely as China and Bali. Claire leads classes in various locations across West Oxfordshire border. She greeted me warmly with a cheery 'any worries about today?' to which I replied 'Yes...farting'. She told me I wouldn't be the first. I didn't want to be the second either.
I strongly approved of the music (classical) and despite being a total yoga beginner (a yogi?), I appreciated the fact the class was suitable for all levels and abilities. I was agog at the finesse of some, and relieved that I could participate in much of the activity, whilst attempting to hide at the back of the room. Team activities often make me feel overwhelmingly self-conscious. Not today. I had help with some poses but no dreaded reminders of school-time PE!
Today, I horsed, I catted, I dogged and I bridged. I corpsed when the others wheeled. I unsuccessfully tree-ed - I needed a stake. I've always struggled with my balance - I blame my paddle-like feet, but all the same with so much time spent using other limbs, I felt I could keep up with the more experienced, but not pant like a puppy at the first sign of movement.
And yet, Yoga was far more active than I had expected but far less arduous than step classes of yonderyear. At times it feels like one is having that first wonderful stretch of a morning, only to hang on until period pains develop in every limb. At the end of the hour, I felt like I'd a fantastic full body massage - only I'd been the masseuse and the massagee.
Would I recommend it? Absolutely yes: especially if it's been a few years since one has been to a gym class. It's simplicity means it's a good place to start: one doesn't feel one is auditioning for an episode of 'How Bad Can You Dance?' Nor does one feel they need a great deal of fitness or dexterity.
Mind you, having stretched muscles that are usually contentedly compacted, I have no doubt I shall pay a heavy penalty tomorrow - and I'm still practising The Floss. I've got the moves sorted out, but I'm doing them at a yoga pace...