Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs credited his long career to afternoons getting into awkward sweaty positions. He claims he was talking about yoga but the super-injunction he raised in the High Court said it was hotel romps with Imogen Thomas.
I too would like to extend my fitness “career” as long as possible. Unfortunately. Imogen Thomas has not replied to any of my tweets, letters, or standing outside her house holding a Boombox playing the song “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”
So, instead I do yoga (occasionally)
I first tried yoga ten years ago. It was in Edinburgh and I signed up for a ten week course. The tutor handed me an A4 bit of paper on the way into the class listing all the positions I’d need. As I attempted each position she would come over and tell me I was doing it wrong. I wasn’t interested in spending 10 weeks getting told I was wrong so I never went back for the other nine lessons.
It was years later that I returned to a class. This time the tutor went through the moves at the front of the class and all I had to do was copy her. There was no A4 paper and no telling me I was wrong.
Since then I’ve tried different teachers/classes with varying levels of success.
One tutor was so hungover he did the whole class leaning on a wall and sitting on a block.
Another tutor got us all to shut our eyes at the end of the lesson and then went round massaging everyone head! At least I hope she did everyone else and not just me! On second thoughts, I also hope it was her and not some phantom head groper who saw an opportunity.
But, the strangest experience was hot yoga. A sessions runs for exactly 90 minutes and consist of a set series of 26 postures (performed twice each). It takes place in a room heated to 40C with a humidity of 40%.
It’s so hot all I needed to wear was a pair of shorts. I stripped off. At this point I got confused as I could see a fat man in the mirror looking at me but I didn’t see him when I turned around. He must have left.
A fellow middle-aged man nods in my direction. If that happened in a pub we might become “mates” or “friends” but here it feels sordid because we’re the only men in a room of scantily clad young student girls. I think I’ve just joined his “ring” and you only ever hear that phrase when men get busted by the police. A hot yoga “ring” was arrested today….
The poses start easily enough. I lie on my back and breathe. Which is so easy I could do it in my sleep. Actually that is how I sleep. As the poses get harder the sweat runs off my body like rats from a sweaty ship. It pools on the floor all around me.
Is everyone else this sweaty? The instructor says we can finish with some more lying down exercises but this time face down. I have to lie down and put my face into a pool of my own sweat. If he was an interrogator and this was a torture scenario then I would confess anything.
At the end of the class I lie in darkness and contemplate what I have just achieved. The instructor said take as long as I need. It takes me two seconds to think – if I leave now then I’ll get into the showers before anyone else. I’m away and out before you can say “Sa Ta Na Ma Shanti”