Now it has to be said that although I like walking, I am not one of life’s natural fitness fanatics. I did have a brief love affair with rowing when I was at university, but I think it all went pear-shaped when I realised that I’d rather be lazily sculling myself across the river on a hot summer afternoon, than participating in synchronised torture on a near frozen river in December.
So nobody could have been more surprised than me, to discover that I actually like yoga. I think it was my mother, who took up yoga at the age of 72 – and who could still touch her toes two weeks before she died aged 82 – who first suggested I might try it, but of course I ignored her – deliberately.
Then a few years back, I somehow agreed to accompany a friend who wanted to give yoga a go. We went to a class run by what we had better describe as a ‘mildly eccentric’ instructor.
I’m not sure how much yoga I learned, but I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to crystals, tarot, goddesses, aromatherapy, and a myriad of other ‘new-age’ ideas. Well, to be honest I didn’t ask for the introduction, I thought I was going to practise yoga, but there you are, sometimes you don’t get what you expect in life.
Nevertheless, something was stirred inside and when our instructor somewhat mysteriously decided to give up teaching a year later, I discovered that I actually missed going.
Spool forward another year or so and a different friend mentioned that she had heard about a good yoga class and was thinking about going, and so obviously I ended up going along too.
Well this time we’ve hit gold – I’m pretty sure that our current instructor doesn’t sample the pleasures of illicit substances – or at least if she does, it’s not on Wednesdays. No, on Wednesdays, she runs an excellent yoga class at which we do real yoga and at which I manage to feel enormously invigorated, despite the fact that we barely move. (If you do yoga, you’ll probably understand this. I can’t begin to explain why it works, in fact I’m not even sure that I want to know, I’m happy enough to find that it makes me feel good).
But old habits and attitudes die hard, so despite the fact that I know I love yoga, I know that I always come home feeling energised and raving about how good it is, and I always wave off my friend with a cheery ‘see you next week’, for some reason, on Wednesday afternoons, it’s the devil’s own job to get me into the mood to go.
Last night was the first lesson of the new term. My friend was expecting me, my husband was ready to cook the dinner so I could get away nice and early – everything in place. So naturally I came up with a list of reasons why I wasn’t going to go; I have a bad cough, I have to pay for six lessons, but I can only make four, I can’t afford the petrol… In the end, the husband practically pushed me into the car, with the parting words, ‘Go and if you feel ill, go to the pub instead’.
Well, put it like that – what’s a girl to do. Of course I went (to yoga, not the pub), and yes it is fabulous – I feel wonderful, I’m sitting here with substantially better posture than yesterday and even the cough is a bit better. So that’s last night’s demon well and truly bashed on the head.
And next week? Let’s not go there just yet.