You should do yoga. It’d be so great for you.
Perhaps it’s the faint crackle of tension emanating from every pore, or the more obvious lack of flexibility as I ‘oooff’ my way up from kneeling to stand, I don’t know, but for years the general consensus seems to be my lack of zen.
Look, I’ve tried. Lord knows I’ve given it a decent bash. With the best of intentions and regularly updated sweat wicking leggings, my tight hip flexors have wandered in and out of yoga studios all over Melbourne.
There was the inner city facility to which I dragged my overworked, physically debilitated and mentally drained spouse in a bid for complementary litheness and dual enlightenment.
Run by a humourless Hungarian yogi, whose gossamer thin leggings revealed far more than we ever needed to know about him, his practice of freestyle shadow yoga was designed to unfold our inner powers. After three sessions the only inner power I could unfold was an ability to hold in a fart.
The same cannot be said for spouse.
Twelve months later a new local business lured me in with promises of health, vitality and inner calm. The studio was empty but for for a young man perched cross legged on a stool at the front desk. Dreadlocked, heavily tattooed and wearing the beatific yet vacant expression of someone who’s found enlightenment only to misplace it again, he held a twisted willow staff across his tie-dyed lap. Unclear whether he was there to teach yoga or fend off invading Orcs, I beat a hasty retreat.
The next place began promisingly, with several classes run by a succession of gentle young women committed to retaining my skittish custom. Alas, following new ownership, the permanent instructors were replaced by a revolving door of casual staff. None more casual, than the petite French woman wearing capri pants and an oversized men’s shirt who began the class by saying,
I am ze teacher, not ze model. Do not look to me for ze pose. Do eet, I will correct you.
Needing nothing more than a lit Gauloise and un double café to complete the cliché, she proceeded to suggest various poses in a voice thick with ennui. With the exception of Warrior One and Downward Dog, Shavasana is about the only other pose I can reliably manage without cramping or falling over. So when this indifferent Gallic yogi began languidly intoning instructions for One Handed Tree and Wounded Peacock (poses requiring a level of flexibility rarely seen outside of the Russian rhythmic gymnastic team) I sidled towards the exit in a series of moves I like to call, Failing Crab.
Well into my fifth decade, and having made the big tree change out of the city, I can safely proclaim that Yoga in all its myriad forms, is not my bag and while happy to strengthen my core at Pilates and work on balance at Barre classes, the quest for oneness may have to remain an elusive mystery.
Unless of course, Nirvana turns out to have been at our local winery all along…