Thus ends my first ever month of early mornings on a mat, bending and stretching at a yoga shala. To be honest, walking towards the shala that first day, I would of laid a bet on my attendance being 50%, tops.
“I’m so happy that you’re joining me for yoga”, the GF smiled me that smile.
“I’m proud of you”, she added with earnest, “and actually, it’s kind of romantic”. Wink, wink.
Yep, that’s me, Mr. Romantic, but my mind wandered. Surely there would be the sneaky sleep in, a handful of hangovers and a couple of can’t be f**ked’s throughout the month. But, 30 days later, I can say I went the distance, and I’ll also let you know that it was neither a problem nor a big deal, but a real pleasure and a lot of sweat.
I started as a COMPLETE novice (I now consider myself a beginner), but I was able to pick up a thing or two about yoga along the way.
Firstly, yoga is not just for girls or the incredibly athletic posers of Instagram. Gawking around the shala on my first day, the diversity of students was obvious. People from all over the globe, of every shape and size, every age and colour, all together sweating and bending their way to bliss. Some stretching with the finesse of a Russian gymnast, some struggling to touch their toes (me). There is an oft quoted saying thrown around Mysore, “Yoga is for everyone, that is everyone EXCEPT lazy people.”
Also, yoga is not a religion, nor a cult. Yep, there’s chanting in a dead language, Sanskrit of all things. Weird right??? Any weirder than ten thousand blokes standing around every Saturday at Stamford Bridge, all in unison yelling,
“Blue is the colour, football is the game. We’re all together, and winning is the aim.” ???
Sure, yoga is full of philosophy and advice on how to live a better life, much like religion. But, hey, I’m always open to suggestions. As Alain De Bottom noted in his book, Religion for Atheists :
“Some people can remain a committed atheist and nevertheless find religions sporadically useful, interesting and consoling.”
And so it is with yoga. I’m open to ideas on becoming more mindful of how to eat, consume and act. I’m not too proud to acknowledge that I need some good advice every once in a while. Yoga offers a great opportunity to hang out with a lot of flexible, considerate and super healthy people.
As the GF always says,”Be part of it. practice yoga”.