One of the poses in Yoga Airdre is good at.
One of the poses in Yoga Airdre is good at. petrunjela

Straight to bottom of the class

THERE are times when I succumb to the endless exhortations of the Government and the strident call of the 'wellness' industry. This is the ongoing insistence that I must be healthier, fitter, eat this and not that, avoid this, don't even think of drinking that and on and on it goes ...

Eventually, if it has been a tough week, the relentless voices will win and I begin to despair about my aging, crumbly body. I look around and, as is usual in darker moments in life, see that I am surrounded by fit, healthy people leading effortlessly successful and radiant lives. At such times I retreat to my verandah, muttering darkly. One time, sick of self-disgust, I enrolled in a yoga class. Mistake. Big mistake.

The class was full of slender types, all women and all in various versions of the same snug fitting active wear. There were plenty of swishy ponytails, everyone had a reusable coffee mug or ethically responsible drink bottles.

I was rumpled and anxious. Nothing I wore matched. My hair needed brushing. Had I remembered to clean my teeth? My joints were stiff and my ankle hurt. Apart from one other woman, I was clearly the oldest. Grimly I persevered, determined to not be affected by the amount of vibrant air kissing, dainty leg stretching and one legged balancing that was going on.

The yoga teacher (slender, calm, poised), greeted us with a serene smile and took her place, seated cross legged on a dais, at the front of the room. (I haven't sat cross legged in years). A respectful hush fell over the acolytes.

She took us through a series of poses, each a wee bit more complicated than the last (I was brilliant at the child pose). Then she issued a long series of instructions: stand with your feet apart as far as your hips, lift the pelvis, extend the spine, feel the gap between the vertebra, raise the arms, tuck the bottom, feel the gap between the shoulder blades, tighten the pelvic floor and relax...

We were all trying to do this when one of the swishies spoke up.

"Excuse me," she said. The teacher inclined her head graciously.

"Do we relax the anus?" the student asked.

The class froze. There was a delicate pause and then the teacher said firmly, "No, do not relax the anus."

I started to laugh. Spluttering, I fell out of the awkwardly held pose. The rest of the swishy pony tails looked horrified.

"Would you like to go outside and catch your breath?" the teacher asked kindly.

Hope they remembered to keep their anuses tightly puckered up, I though as I scuttled from the room. And thus ended my brief and inglorious career as a student of yoga.

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