Sunday, 15 January 2012

The Yoga Place

I don't know why, but it seems in life, if you are ever in a hurry to get somewhere, something will always get in the way to slow you down. If you are using the tube, it's usually someone with a hangover pulling the alarm and bringing the Central line to a halt. If you are on a bus, it's usually a passenger having a  row with the driver who then refuses to move the bus until the offending passenger has removed themselves from said bus. If you are on foot its usually the most irritating of all obstacles. A slow mover trying to walk and text on their phone simultaneously while completely blocking the pavement. And yesterday morning, while we were in the car, the something in my way was this milk float.

I have lived in London for almost 16 years and I don't think I have ever seen a milk float before. People in London go to the corner shop for milk. Or get it delivered in a Van by Ocado, usually driven by someone called Tim in the 'Onion' Van or Clive in the 'Sprout'. However, the one morning that I plucked up the courage to try a spot of Pregnancy Yoga, a thick frost had appeared all over the car which took an age to scrape off with my Lucky Voice Karaoke Membership Card. And when we finally got on the road, we got stuck behind the milk man who of course, was going exactly the same way as us. I half expected him to drive all the way to the Yoga Place and end up being the teacher of the class, but thankfully, we managed to over take him by London Fields. Yay! We overtook something! We never overtake anything.

So by the time I finally got to my destination, I was the most unrelaxed I have been in weeks. I hate being late, particularly if I am going somewhere new for the first time and particularly if I am to be doing something that terrifies me. There's no doubt that Yoga is good for you, physically and mentally, it's just that me and 'physical' pursuits don't really have a good track record. When I was very little I used to go to a dancing school which I loved.

Me in one of my snazzy dance school costumes. I vividly remember this day in 1981 as my dad drove me to a poppy field next to the M25 to take pictures for a Kodak photography Competition. 
He came 2nd. I think it was the jaunty bonnet that won it for us.

The Dance School was called the 'San-Marie Stage School' which sounds much grander than it was. We used to do our end of year shows at Warley Mental Hospital for all the patients, but I still loved it and one can't deny that it was good exercise. However, after my parents split up my trips to the school stopped, it wasn't really a priority, and that was pretty much when my interest in any form of physical exercise died. I actually met my best friend of the last 22 years at Secondary School whilst we were bunking off of a Cross Country lesson by hiding in adjoining shower cubicles.

But its not all about me anymore is it? Hence my getting up early yesterday morning, donning my best comfy clothes and getting very stressed behind a milk float on the way to Bethnal Green. I can't deny I was very anxious but I think its only natural to feel like that when trying something new.  Would I be wearing the right clothes? Would I need any special equipment? Would everyone know each other other already and be friends then all stare at me or pick on me or laugh at me as the new girl? Or my greatest fear of all, would I fart in front of everyone? I've heard this can happen during Yoga. However, I needn't have worried. I really enjoyed it!

Despite being on a pretty grotty stretch of road and having the sort of stairway behind this orange door that you might find an axe murderer standing at the top of, it was a very pleasant experience. The staff at The Yoga Place were very friendly and reassuring ( I think they could smell my fear) and the teacher of the class was lovely. As I was a bit late the only spot I could find was front row (cringe) in the corner, next to the slightly strange smelling yoga mats. I'm a very self conscious sort of person so the front row was really not ideal but I had no choice. There was at least 20 of us at varying stages of the 2nd trimester (months 4, 5 and 6) and it was impossible to tell how far along everyone was. Some of the ladies just looked like they had eaten a rather large portion of Bolognese whereas others ie me just looked tubby. I've been hiding my bump quite well so far but there's no where to hide in lycra and I felt very exposed. Was everyone judging my bump? Was I fatter than I should be at 5 months? I have no idea.  

Anyway, it cost £12.50 for an hour and half and the lesson comprised of gentle stretches to start, with some deep breathing and humming. At this point I thought some of the ladies night actually be in labour due to the level of noise they were emitting but I think this just meant they were relaxed and less self conscious than me. The breathing was followed by more rigorous stretching including my favorite move 'The Penguin Walk', finally finishing with 20 minutes of relaxation. The relaxation period precisely translates as 20 minutes of laying on the floor, with a pillow AND a blanket while the teacher talked you through relaxing your body from top to toe. She also started singing at one point. It was the most fun I've had on a Saturday morning for a very long time. Next week I am definitely going to get there early and hide at the back though. Only time will tell if its a useful thing to do but I think there's nothing to lose by giving it a go, particularly since one third of the lesson is spent asleep which is one of my all time top favorite things to do.


  1. I started doing Yoga and Pilates in December to help my back, but love it so much now. It really is a pleasant way to spend an hour isn't it? Although sleepless nights with a 6 month old did mean that in the first class I 'may' have dosed off in the relaxation part :)

  2. I like the 20 minute nap at the end best of all. To be honest I thought it might be more fun than it is, but it's pretty serious in my class. That might be an East London thing though... I'm sure it must be doing some good but I've only been twice so I'm not totally convinced yet. I'll let you know how I get on! xx