I am halfway through the fifth minute of a strange contortion, my right leg is flung far out in front of me, my left leg is swept back, pelvis forward, and I am trying desperately to retain my balance. I’m clearly a masochist, I think to myself as a bead of sweat slips down my forehead. Somehow, the instructor is poised, perfectly balanced. A mane of bright golden hair frames her sunny face – she’s radiating sunshine (this whole place is). With an unbelievably sparkly smile she directs us to deepen the stretch just a tiny bit more. Deepen the stretch? I have given all I have to give.
1. People who told you yoga was fun are liars.
My pained expression finally provokes pity – or sadistic glee? – from said instructor, who untangles herself gracefully and glides over. A few tears actually leak out of my eyes as she forces my behind down further (we have progressed into child’s pose and my butt refuses to meet my heels). I did Tough Mudder back in April, I tell myself sternly. Surely, surely yin yoga is not the thing that will defeat me.
2. When your mum said yoga was the cure for everything, she was lying.
Because, um, what about my dignity?
3. The ones who said, ‘It’s not a cult,’ are also liars.
I sneak a look at my fellow classmates, all in brightly coloured Lululemon tights (my humble Nike’s almost feel blasphemous) with their eyes closed, in various positions of discomfort, or pain, but still seemingly zen. I need to get what they’re smoking. They actually enjoy this self-inflicted torture, pay good money for it. Me, on the other hand –
4. Just because you’re Indian doesn’t mean it’s in your blood.
I like loud music, my spin classes, bootcamp and HIIT style training. Patience might be a virtue, but it’s not one of mine.
5. Meditation is harder than it looks.
We’re supposed to be relinquishing our worries and emptying our minds – but no matter how hard I try, thoughts gleefully slip in. Shopping list for the weekend, dinner plans, how oblivious the girl in the row in front is that –
6. Yoga pants fear should be a real thing.
Her pants are actually, genuinely see-through. And downward dog is not her friend.
7. Your body is laughing at you.
There was a time I thought the two of us were best buds, we went for runs together, not to mention the good old crossfit days – but after years of being battered and bruised my body has had enough. I can almost hear it laughing maliciously, should’ve taken better care of me, huh sucker? All those opportunities for stretching and foam rolling that I missed are culminating in my ominously creaking and groaning hip flexors. Too late now, my body says snidely. Shut up, I think grumpily. I’m trying to fix it now, aren’t I?
8. You should’ve bagged all the props at the beginning.
No one wants to be the newbie who interrupts the flow of the class and walks up awkwardly to get the props. At the start of the class, I make a beeline for the front and grab everything in sight (you never know what might be in handy, right?).
9. Savasana is the best part.
A legitimate excuse to nap. Cue number 8, your blanket prop is your friend.
10. You’re going to swallow your pride and come back again and again.
Somehow – miraculously – as the class winds to a close, I’m lighter, more limber, floating on the same air that all the instructors seem to be drifting on. What did they give me? I wonder suspiciously. Something’s not right. The pain is almost a distant memory now. I’m free, loose, unburdened, even. And I begin to ask myself, could I do it all over again? Suffer through the first forty-five minutes of torture so I get a brief taste of bliss in the last fifteen? I desperately want to say no, but somehow, incredibly, I know the answer will be yes.