16 November 2008
Ok, so I decided to join a yoga course. Normal, you'd say. Yeah, so I thought...some light floor exercises, a coupla deep breathing techniques & voila!Ha! Wasn't I in for a surprise! Lemme just provide a brief history of 30 days. (Oh, by the way, you must remember I am someone who had a most divine habit of waking up at 8 in the morning. Going for yoga meant goodbye to that.)
Day 1: Yikes! Overslept! Hop, skip & jump out of the bed at 6.15 a.m. Run into the door of the bathroom(it takes time, you know, for the brain lights to come on & I ran before my brain could register I'd woken up.)Steady, ol' girl! Ah...brush etc, run down a long flight of steps, bundle into the car, honk, honk...(I didn't need to, actually, but I was in a state of panic & that's how I vented.) Reached the sprawling studio at last, tiptoed into the silent room, took off my shoes, grabbed a mat & lay down next to an over-proportioned aunty who gave me you're-disturbing look with her bulbous eyes. Striken, I lay down quietly. The instructor's voice was calm, collected and sonorous. Close your eyes, now mentally imagine your toes are reelaxxeedd....Oh hell! I'd forgotten to send an important email! Bring your awareness back to your body, now breathe easy..inhale to the count of 4...Man, I sure hope Rakesh doesn't send me a stinking reminder...Gently open your eyes & sit up slowly...Bloody Hell! Why am I so forgetful? Now, let's get ready for Suryanamaskar. Wha...? Oh ok...ATTTENNSHUUN! Ok...I'm back. Now, Suryanamaskar can be a very gruelling task, esp when you have to stay in 12 rather trying positions and inhale/exhale exactly when the instructor tells you to. Post SN, we had to do coupla asanas that looked easy but were tougher than floor gymnastics when you got down to doing them. By the end of the one & a half hour session, I was bruised and battered in my soul. I could neither touch whatever it is I had to in most of the asanas nor stand on one leg for more than half a second, or pretend to be a bird. It was all so slow, so steady...why couldn't I do it?
Day 7: Groan, darn...Still wake up with aches & pains. Nothing but a will to succeed takes me to the class, only 5 mins late this time. The Kapalbhati kriya is in progress & in my keenness to follow them, Gak! I choke. I don't believe it. I have managed to disturb the entire class! Raghavan manages to put the session back on track & becomes my personal instructor for that hour. I see the rest of them doing it all so well & me....shoulders tense, spine bent & a face purple with all that effort. SN isn't that tough although I do feel the strain on the hamstring muscles. You see, I am a survivor & I don't like to give up. So, several twisty postures later, I am sure I'll get it all one day ... and, till that day arrives, I am going to continue.
Day 15: I reach just as the rest of them have finished the opening prayer. Not bad for a lazy bum, what! Well, the aunty is back & if looks could kill, I sure would be singed. I cannot place the 6 feet long mat without russling it, now, can I? I try, though. Anyway, I start the breathing exercise, trying to relax & not contract my shoulders with each inhalation. Oh boy! I've spent 5 grand this week just on clothes...R seems ok with me today although each time I half open an eyelid to peer at everyone else, I find him looking at me with a lot of apprehension. Close your eyes...concentrate on the breathing count now...4 in and 8 out. Darn! He'd seen me peep. He looks quite benign, though and a good sport at all this business.
Day 18: I am on time & R seems pleased. Aunty hasn't passed a glance in my direction today. Whew! Kbhati doesn't seem so bad now that I can flush the breath out without going blue in the face. SN, however isn't all that easy as it looks. Push-ups, V's, cobras, curling of the toes in/out with each change of pose...& this has me confused. I dip when I should be a mountain, I use my shoulders when I ought to be using my back... R displays massive patience & does each asana along with a panting me. It's more than a fortnight & all I am great at is shav asana!
Day 20: I have downloaded all postures of SN & mugged them up. I go to the class, place my bright pink mat with a swish next to the aunty, smile sweetly when she shows me the eye & start the kbhati kriya. Thundering typhoons! Why can't I blow without sucking in air? I wade through somehow. Time for SN. It's a day of test. I am looking like I've already won, that's coz I have have memorised the entire book of do's/dont's & what's next. I stand, ready to take on all 12 postures with finesse. R smiles & reminds me of a complacent cow, chewing cud. With my eyes closed, I go through the first Herculean round. Humpf...inhale, swing hands up ...haaraah...exhale touch toes, inhale...running pose, palm flat on the floor, foot as far back as possible....ohmigod! Suddenly, I feel the proverbial heebie-jeebies. What number was I on? What's next? I open my eyes, look at the smug, canine-looking aunty, then at R who looks like he hasn't seen me before. What's next? A million hands go up & I untangle myself & retire in a corner, hurt, looking like someone who's cross, brave & beaten, all at once. What's worse, the buxom, barrel of an aunty got all her postures right. Oh well, she's been learning for a month now, maybe.
Day 21: I haven't slept the night, deciding whether I ought to walk through that yoga studio door ever again or not. I take a negative decision with a loud thump of a turn on the bed, hands folded across my chest. You know what's strange? I find myself before everyone else in the yoga studio. I'll show her, won't I! Everyone streams in & we all go through various asanas, composed & calm. All, except me. Coz I am not doing yoga, I am making a show of it. Today, I neither stumble, nor fall. I don't need to peep, be told to inhale/exhale, stay still on one leg with my hands above my head, bend forward like a bird about to take flight on a single leg, etc. I am flawless. I look at protudy-eyes & vainly smile with a bet-you-couldn't-have-learnt-so-fast look. R seems very pleased at a 2 hour long display of all the 24 asanas & SN & tells me so. And me? Well...
Day 30: I reach the studio just as R is unlatching the main door. I push the heavy door & walk into the room, place my mat, help R throw open a zillion windows & wait for the others. It is exactly 6 in the morning, the lark's singing & all's well with the world...Browning said that? All the 18 people arrive & we begin. Today's Sunday, the last day & this would be a long half-day session with the last few hours as part of the final test. I am silent through it all. No, I mean SILENT. My mind neither wanders on money-matters, nor on forgotten deadlines. I feel filled with a strange energy, a kinda thrill, as I realise I don't want to show anyone anything. I'm going to do this because I want to be fit, healthy & at peace with myself. Isn't that the purpose & end of yoga?
Have I achieved it? Well, I have understood it. Today, I am perfect. Not because I haven't made a single miscalculation/error but coz today, I don't need to prove...not even to myself. The asanas & I are one. At the end of the extended class, I find myself asking a question. Everyone turns to look at me. Without flinching, I ask, Hey Raghavan! Do you think I could enroll for the next course? R smiles verrrry meaningfully. From my place at the back, I as hell don't miss the twinkle in his 60 yr old-young eyes as he says, You bet!
Did he KNOW? mmmm...