And so week 2 begins. Thanks for coming along. Yesterday I shared my blog on Facebook. I’ve never put my writing into the world quite so publicly before. To say I had butterflies would be wrong. It was more like massive, great pterodactyls were flying around inside. Some very kind comments and some great suggestions for exercise came back at me – thank you to my new readers; I’ll try not to let you down.
I woke up this morning with an excited energy for Day 8. I also woke up feeling like my body had been put through a mangle. I wonder if this is why Davina insisted I complete the “cool down” yesterday. Cool down? Cool down? I’m smoking hot, Davina. I’ve got 18 follows – I don’t need to cool down. I need to prance around the kitchen and have a light chocolate mousse as a treat. I’m too cool for a cool down.
Ok. Maybe this wasn’t a great move. Maybe there really is a reason you stretch out your muscles post exercise. Maybe this is it: So you can continue to function the next day without sounding like a bleating lamb everytime you bend or reach or lift or carry.
My history with stretching is as successful as my history with running. I went to a yoga class back in 2009. My body was 10 years younger and had little to complain about – it hadn’t grown two new human people, it was a couple of stones lighter back then and all its parts were slightly higher up and firmer than they are now. Of course I couldn’t see or appreciate any of that at the time.
But I must have still had that little voice somewhere whispering – you should look after yourself better, because along I went to Yoga for Beginners. Those people were not beginners. Where’s the class for people who are actually beginners? Pre-beginners? I need the pre-beginners please, because when the instructor asked everyone to get into the downward facing dog position – they all did. And it looked nothing like the dog position I’d heard of.
I tried. I really did. Well I sort of tried and sort of made fun of the whole thing. But in my defence I was only being silly because I couldn’t do it. And making people laugh with me rather than at me seemed like a better option.
It did not go down well.
Two thirds of the way through the class the instructor instructed me to adopt “Child’s Pose” – I looked around the room. No one else was in child’s pose. Everyone else was continuing with the previous stretch. I looked at her again. She was firm. She was serious. Like a very bendy, super beautiful version of the Trunchball in Roald Dahl’s Matilda. She instructed me again – go into child’s pose.
So I did.
And there I stayed for the rest of her class. At the time I convinced myself she was helping me to find a comfortable beginner’s position as I was new to this yoga lark – unlike all the other “beginners” in the room. But years later and a teaching degree in the bag, I know what she was doing. She’d singled me out as the disruptive kid in the class and she’d used her powers of stretch and calm to silence my silliness.
I never went back.
I thought about having yoga as one of my exercise days – I do have 92 more to fill – but I have this weird mental block about it. Is it really exercise? Aren’t you meant to move more when you exercise? It feels a bit like cheating at exercise – but maybe that’s because I have never done it properly before.
Today after my next installment of the couch to 5k run I will stretch. I will stretch my muscles and try to stretch my mind too – to open up to the power and possibility of yoga, because I searched the internet for images of yoga and I’ll say this – those people don’t look like they’re cheating at exercise, they look like they’re nailing it.